Please note that this is a live document and that the Conference Committee may be making additions and other changes right up until the day the conference starts. This is in part due to problems we have had in the past with the Canadian government denying visas to conference participants. Meals are the responsibility of participants, there are a variety of restaurants in the area, see elsewhere on this site for suggestions.
The conference ‘office’ will be located in room POD370. You can also text (preferred) or call 647-448-2687.
If you’re on Twitter, please hashtag your Tweets about this conference using #LabourStart2016 and follow us @LabourStart!
———-FRIDAY 6 MAY———-
Friday 1400-Sunday Noon
Gallery (tables and displays) outside LIB72 near the registration table.
Registration. The registration table will be outside LIB72.
Labour History Walking Tours (meet at the registration table). Tours start at 1500 and 1630.
LIB72 – WHAT IS LABOURSTART?
For those not familiar with LabourStart, a short presentation on our history and structure and future plans.
Derek Blackadder, LabourStart Canada
ROOM: POD250 IN JORGENSEN HALL
WELCOME: WINNIE NG, UNIFOR SAM GINDEN CHAIR IN SOCIAL JUSTICE AND DEMOCRACY, RYERSON UNIVERSITY
MUSIC: MOHAMMAD ALI AUMEER, SOCIALIST HIP HOP
PLAY: LIFE ON THE LINE: WOMEN STRIKE AT EATON’S 1984-85
The 6 months-long Eaton’s department store strike in Ontario was a key moment in the history of retail workers organizing in the province and for women workers generally. After the play the audience and actors will discuss the importance of the events portrayed in the performance.
Presented by The Estelle Craig ACT II STUDIO
———-SATURDAY 7 MAY———-
Registration – outside LIB72
OPENING PLENARY SESSION -LIB72
The conference will be opened with a First Nations acknowledgement, greeting and welcome from Terri Monture, Canadian Media Guild/CWA..
Welcomes by Eric Lee, founding Editor of LabourStart, John Cartwright, President of the Labour Council of Toronto and York Region, Ahmad Gaied, Executive Vice-President, the Ontario Federation of Labour.
Speaking on the topic of ‘Mobilizing for Real Change’ will be:
Deena Ladd, Co-ordinator, the Toronto Workers Action Centre.
Larry Cohen, former international President of the Communications Workers of America and labour advisor to the Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign in the USA.
VIC106 – PRECARITY PUSHBACK, RESISTANCE IS NOT FUTILE: COLLECTIVE RESPONSES TO PRECARIOUS EMPLOYMENT
Panel discussion: The Justice and Dignity for Toronto Cleaners Campaign, Filipina Caregivers and the Artistic Production of Solidarity, Case Critical: Labour/Community Resistance in Homecare Nursing; Community Benefits Agreements.
Jenny Carson, Myer Siemiatycki, Philip Kelly, Tim Bartkiw, Karen Lior, Executive Director, Toronto Workforce Innovations Group.
VIC200 – PART 1 – STRATEGIC CORPORATE RESEARCH AND CAMPAIGNS WORKSHOP: LOOKING INSIDE THE GLOBAL CORPORATE WORLD
This is a workshop for union, community-based and environmental activists to learn the basic tools to look inside the corporate world and how to use this information to build innovative and creative campaigns.
Professor of Labour Studies and Sociology
VIC203 – A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: FROM FIELD TO TABLE: PRECARIOUS EMPLOYMENT, MIGRATION AND FOOD (IN)SECURITY
NOTE: this workshop continues to 1230.
2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program in Canada and the resistance of farmworkers. Featuring speakers who work in the chain of food production – from those who work in the fields to the grocery workers in supermarket, from food-processing workers to kitchen workers, from those who serve to those who consume, this roundtable will highlight the shared pattern of exploitation and harassment. The discussion will end with a participatory exercise to explore creative strategies that will ‘connect the dots’ and address some of the silo’ing of various movements from migrant justice, economic justice and food justice.
Moderated by: Mustafa Koc, Centre for Studies in Food Security, Ryerson University.
- Gabriel Allahdua, farmworker, Justice for Migrant Workers
- Eduardo Basa, UFCW Local 1118 member from Cargill Foods in Alberta. A former
temporary foreign worker, who experienced the precariousness of workers in
the Canadian food production chain first hand, and also the power of the
union and collective bargaining.
- Tibetan Worker Rep from Teamster Local 419 who just finished their historic 11 day strike at the Ontario Food Terminal to gain fair wages and union representation. Bhutila Karpoche, Tibetan community organizer will speak about the solidarity organizing.
- Shannon Mishimagi, a Ryerson student and young worker who filed a law suit against Starbucks Coffee Company for health and safety at work.
- Chris Ramsaroop, Harvesting Freedom Campaign
VIC300 – LABOURSTART’S ONLINE ACTION AND SOLIDARITY SERVICE – HOW TO TAKE YOUR CAMPIGN GLOBAL
Eric Lee, LabourStart’s founder, will explain how LabourStart’s free multi-lingual online campaigning services can be accessed, how it all works, who does what and how to design your campaign so it has the maximum possible impact. Eric will use examples from past campaigns to demonstrate what works and what doesn’t.
The workshop will also explore how to integrate cyberspace and meatspace actions.
VIC101 –THE SHRINKING SPACE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: RESPONDING TO ADMINISTRATIVE AND LEGISLATIVE RESTRICTIONS ON COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AND THE RIGHT TO STRIKE
Shane Enright, Amnesty International Global Trade Union Adviser
VIC210 – THE FIGHT FOR 15 AND FAIRNESS CAMPAIGN – OPPORTUNITIES FOR BUILDING STRONGER ALLIANCES BETWEEN UNIONS, NON-UNION WORKERS AND COMMUNITIES
For the first time in over 25 years the Ontario government is reviewing the legislation on how to unionize and basic employment standards in Ontario. This is a significant moment in the fight for decent work to tackle precarious employment, raise standards for workers and to build stronger alliances between unions, non-union workers and communities.
What are these new emerging alliances being built? What new changes are on the table that we can win? What are the possibilities
of building a stronger justice movement out of this struggle for decent work? These issues and more will be discussed in this session.
Deena Ladd, Coordinator, Workers Action Centre (WAC)
Myles Magner, Region 5, Regional Vice-President, Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union (OPSEU)
Deb Henry, Metro Worker and Women’s Advocate, Unifor Local 414
VIC206 – DIGITAL ORGANIZING FOR SMALL & NEW CAMPAIGNS
Just starting your new campaign? Learn how to use websites, email lists, social media, and other digital tools to establish your cause or group online so you can focus on building power rather than user account settings.
This session is brought to you by CampaignGears.com
Jill Piebiak, Campaign Strategist, Campaign Gears. Jill was the lead organizer on the #notaxontampons campaign which in 2015 forced Canada’s conservative government to discontinue the regressive tax on menstruation products. In April 2016, Jill won the Jack Layton Progress Prize from the Broadbent Institute for her work on the campaign.
VIC303 – THE PARLIAMENTARY COUP D’ÉTAT IN BRAZIL – AN ATTACK NOT ONLY AGAINST DEMOCRACY, BUT ESPECIALLY AGAINST LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS
This workshop will examine how the attempted coup that is happening in Brazil – and probably and tragically will be concluded on May 11th – is mainly an attack of the business sector not only against democracy, but specially against labour and employment rights.
Vice-President Michel Temer is publicly promising to the business sector to destroy our employment laws, approve a radical bill allowing outsourcing in all sectors, diminish the role of Labour Justice, stop increasing the minimum wage (which has been done in the last 13 years with Lula and Dilma), curb the right to strike and criminalize social movements.
Maximiliano Nagl Garcez is a lawyer and legislative consultant for labour unions and confederations in Brasília, Brazil. Director for Legislative Affair of ALAL – Associación Latino-Americana de Abogados Laboralistas. Former Legal Advisor: for the Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores) in the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies; for the President of the National Parliament of Timor-Leste, through UNDP. Former Visiting Fellow at the Labour and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, recipient of a Fulbright scholarship. MSc in Law of Social Relations, Federal University of Paraná, Brazil.
Euan Gibb is a Canadian trade unionist living in Brazil and working for the Brazilian labour movement and the LabourStart Co-ordinator in Brazil.
VIC106 – REFUGEES AND THE TRADE UNION RESPONSE
The Response of the Labour Movement in Germany to the refugee crisis (Anna Basten, Ver.di)
The Effects of Migration on Local Workers (Andrea Imperia, LabourStart Italy)
Joseph Atkins (U of Mississippi) will speak about his recent book, The Strangers Among Us: Tales from a Global Migrant Worker Movement. It offers readers compelling insight from 10 writers around the world about migrant workers’ rising consciousness of their rights and ability to assert those rights in a global economy that seems to place all power in the hands of mega-corporations. From tobacco workers in North Carolina to Vietnamese domestic workers in Taiwan and the network of organizations that support them, a movement is emerging that will pose a growing challenge to neoliberal rule.
VIC200 – ORGANISING GLOBALLY – THE GLOBAL PICKETLINE AND THE PHILIPPINES AIRLINE INDUSTRY DISPUTE
Piergiorgio Moro, Australia-Asia Worker Links will present an interactive workshop on the Global Picketline concept.
The workshop will detail the origins and development of the GP concept, how it was applied to the Philippines Airlines dispute between 2011 and 2014, how it involved airline workers in other countries, why it helped to win the dispute for the Filipino workers, where the GP strategy is at now, and ongoing developments with the GP concept.
The workshop will draw on the experiences of the audience to discuss, evaluate and analyse the main strengths of GP concepts such as dispute mapping, the differing levels of workers’ solidarity, and how workers linking and organising directly with each other can win dispute in our global economy’
VIC303– DIVERSE WORKERS NETWORKS AND THE TORONTO LABOUR MOVEMENT
The population of greater Toronto is one of the most diverse in the world. In a city where half the population was born outside Canada, and half are people of colour, labour must use every opportunity to reflect the new working class. In the 1970’s Labour Council created an Italian-Canadian advisory committee to strengthen the work with Toronto’s largest immigrant population. Today, Labour Council has helped establish a number of Diverse Workers Networks: Chinese, Ethiopian-Eritrean, Filipino, Somali and Tamil.
The Networks analyze key issues facing their communities. Those range from TFW and caregiver programs within the Filipino community; to temp agencies in Chinese community; to construction trades opportunities for Somali youth. Most newcomers don’t know about their rights at work, and fear raising any voice against exploitation for fear of reprisal. There is little knowledge about how unions operate in Canada, or how to unionize a workplace. But there are inspiring stories of great courage of workers winning rights, such as the recent organizing drive at the Trump Hotel by a mostly Filipino workforce.
The Workers Networks participate in community events and use local media to explain the role of unions. They hold workshops that provide education on the structure and function of unions. On an ongoing basis, members provide peer support to help each other navigate issues in their workplace or union. They assist leaders from their communities to get elected to public office. Some have been the first contact for non-union workers seeking to organize.
Presenters: Co-chairs of the different Networks.
VIC203– CHANGING THE FRAME ON MIGRANT WORKER JUSTICE THROUGH DOCUMENTARY PRAXIS
The relationship between documentary and social movements is discussed in this workshop. For over a decade filmmaker Min Sook Lee has worked in collaboration with migrant justice activist Evelyn Encalada Grez to portray dimensions of the fight for migrant worker justice. They have worked on three projects: El Contrato (2003), Teo in Toronto (2014) and Migrant Dreams (2016). The workshop will focus on the following issues: intersections of labour, border politics, migration, art and social change; and organizing for migrant worker justice.
Evelyn Encalada Grez, co-founder, Justicia for Migrant Workers and Min Sook Lee, filmmaker (www.migrantdreams.ca).
VIC210 – THE EXPERIENCE OF THE IMMIGRANT WORKERS CENTRE AND BUILDING NEW FORMS OF WORKER ORGANIZING
This presentation will focus on the Immigrant Workers Centre (IWC) in Montreal, and its attempts to develop new models of organizing to build collective leadership among precarious sections of the working class. The IWC has been focusing on organizing immigrant workers who have been outside of the traditional scope of trade union organizing. As precarious work has increasingly become the new norm with increasing numbers of workers in particular immigrants facing low-wage, unsafe, temporary contractual work. Due to the fact immigrant workers face barriers due to immigration status either as undocumented, or as migrant workers. The organizing of these workers is vital towards any labour renewal.
The IWC approach has been focused, on building membership-based worker-led organisations beyond the workplace, such as the Temporary Agency Workers’ Association, and Temporary Foreign Workers’ Association.
The presentation will focus on our day to day organizing of temporary agency workers in warehouses, food processing, cleaning, and temporary foreign workers, through developing leadership, campaigns, and the organizing of a precarious workers’ coalition.
This presentation will also focus on the organizing of the precarious workers’ coalition which was formed in 2012 to challenge the broader agenda of precarious work. The coalition has brought together migrant worker organizations such as PINAY – a domestic workers organization, dignidad migrante, Mexicans United for Regularization, the Temporary Agency Workers Association, and the Temporary foreign workers association. Workers in these organizations, put forward broad demands such as the right to permanent work, enforcement of health and safety for warehouse workers, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, the right to legal status, and access to all state services for undocumented workers, to challenge the pillars of precarious work.
Mostafa Henaway, IWC.
VIC101 – ONTARIO’S LIVING WAGE MOVEMENT
This panel describes the growing wage of living wage initiatives in Ontario: they’ve grown from fewer than 5 two years ago to more than 20 today. Ryerson University academic Bryan Evans and CCPA-Ontario Director Trish Hennessy detail how these initiatives have come to life; a leader in Ontario’s labour movement describes the role of labour in these initiatives.
VIC200 – PART 2 – STRATEGIC CORPORATE RESEARCH AND CAMPAIGNS WORKSHOP: LOOKING INSIDE THE GLOBAL CORPORATE WORLD
Professor of Labour Studies and Sociology
VIC206 – CAMPAIGN VIDEOS IN YOUR HAND
Video is the most powerful medium for conveying the values of your campaign but it’s way too expensive for most campaigns to use on a large scale. Or is it? With training, many of us are walking around with all we need to make compelling campaign videos in our pocket. Participants should bring a smart phone with video functionality.
This session is brought to you by CampaignGears.com
Suzanne Gallant, producer and director at Wildrun Productions, will run you through the dos and don’ts of campaign videos. We’ll take a look at examples of campaign videos, talk about why they work, and what kind of videos are best suited for different organizations and campaigns.
VIC250– WORKING CLASS WOMEN IN INDIA TODAY
Noor Zaheer is the author of many books, among them My God is a Woman. She is a long-time activist in her union, TASC, President of the Delhi branch of the National Federation of Indian Women and of the Indian People’s Theatre Association and a leading member of the Communist Party of India.
In addition to being an activist, she is a journalist who most famously covered the infamous Shah Bano case, and the author of such important political books ‘My God is a Woman’ and ‘Denied by Allah’ which deal with the injustices facing women, as well as of several literary titles.
Holder of a PhD, Dr. Zaheer will speak on the specific oppression and struggles of working women engaged in urban and rural labour – specially under the government of Prime Minister Modi’s neo-liberalising policies.
VIC106 – REAL FOOD. REAL JOBS: RAISING STANDARDS IN TORONTO’S INSTITUTIONAL FOODSERVICES
‘Real Food. Real Jobs.’ is a campaign with roots in UNITE HERE’s efforts to raise standards in employment and food quality in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (ORD) foodservices. The campaign draws important connections between food sustainability, health, and employment security and dignity. In Toronto, foodservice workers struggle daily not only for respect in the workplace, but for some measure of control over how and what food is produced for consumption.
Foodservice workers in Toronto are presently engaged in such struggles to not only raise standards in the industry but also make strategic links to broader questions of food security and local food sourcing. The campaign requires thinking through new tactics (e.g. positive boycotts), coalitions with new community partners, and exerting control over training and education in the sector. This panel will explore the campaign at the early stages and the potential for foodservice workers.
Steven Tufts, YUFA
Lis Pimentel, President, UNITE HERE
David Sanders, UNITE HERE
Danielle Olsen, Hospitality Training Centre
VIC300 – THE GLOBAL STRUGGLE TO BAN ASBESTOS
Asbestos kills. It can cause cancers throughout the body, some of which cannot be cured. It also damages lungs, leading to serious breathing difficulties. Almost 100 years ago, Canadian insurance companies were so worried about its health effects that they refused to insure anyone working with the “magic mineral”.
Now asbestos use is banned in more than 50 countries. Canada may be added to the growing list soon — finally, after much pressure from unions, public health officials and others. The workshop will integrate information about the situation in Canada, what’s happened elsewhere, and the participants’ experiences, using a research circle format. We’ll work towards, and then discuss, “What is to be done to get a global ban on asbestos?”, looking for international solidarity possibilities.
Resource people: Alec Farquhar (Director, Ontario Office of the Worker Adviser), Larry Stoffman (Trade Union Occupational Safety and Health Representative, Canada) and Dorothy Wigmore (Occupational health specialist, Winnipeg and Syracuse, NY)
VIC210 – GET A FREE, CUSTOMIZED, RADIOLABOUR PROGRAMME FOR YOUR CAMPAIGN
If you are conducting an international labour campaign, or a national campaign with international implications, you can get a free, customized, programme from RadioLabour, the international labour movement’s radio service. This workshop will show you how. It will also introduce you to the creation of activist podcasts
Presented by Marc Bélanger, RadioLabour’s news producer.
VIC200 – BUILDING INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY: OPPORTUNITIES AND OBSTACLES – IRAN’S EXPERIENCE
This workshop will:
– Discuss and expose the current situation of the working class in Iran in the context of the recently signed nuclear deal with the US and allies, and in relation to the Western capitalists’ potential investments in Iran while taking into account the broader circumstances in the Middle East.
– Explore strategies to enhance meaningful international solidarity with the labour movement in Iran, with a focus on the freedom of imprisoned workers and current fightbacks against austerity and repression imposed by the capitalist Islamic Republic of Iran.
– Highlight aims and principles of IASWI including challenges faced when doing international solidarity work; it will draw attention to the role of the global trade union organizations whose efforts to either support or undermine our solidarity is significant. Global federations like ITUC and WFTU and the news and campaigning websites like LabourStart will be discussed. In addition, the role of organizations like AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Centre and the ILO’s tripartite structure will be problematized.
Organized by International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)-Canada and Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran-Toronto
VIC101 – ENVIRONMENTAL, INDIGENOUS AND LABOUR SOLIDARITY – THE INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CHEVRON CAMPAIGN
This session will be dedicated to exploring the social, economic and human degradation left behind by Chevron in neighbourhoods, communities and countries around the world. This session will also be focused on discussing the power of international solidarity efforts between indigenous communities, environmental activists, and labour allies. Experiences, and outcomes, gained from the Anti-Chevron campaign will be shared with participants, including how the campaign, to date, has held one of the world’s largest trans-national corporation – Chevron – to account for its deplorable treatment of the environment and aboriginal communities around the globe. And just as important, how the campaign continues to grow and to inspire more and more activists to join the fight to win full justice for the earth and the human victims of Chevron.
Special Guest from Ecuador
Indigenous Community Leader
Professor Raluca Bejan, University of Toronto
Pablo Godoy, UFCW Canada
VIC303 – SHIP-BREAKING IN BANGLADESH
Rizwan Khan will detail the working conditions and hazards facing the workers who recycle huge ships grounded on beaches along the coast of Bangladesh. He’ll also outline the work trade unions are doing to organize the workers for better, more secure and less hazardous working conditions.
VIC206 – MOVING YOUR DIGITAL CAMPAIGN TO THE NEXT LEVEL
You are campaigning online but are you using the digital tools most effectively? With so many tools and proposed solutions floating around on the web we will help learn what options are best for your group and share best practices from our work with a variety of clients. These essential tips and tricks will power your campaign’s effectiveness to the next level.
This session is brought to you by CampaignGears.com.
Led by Ethan Clarke of Campaign Gears.
VIC105 – A SELECTION OF VIDEOS FROM THE CANADIAN LABOUR INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Presented and introduced by CLIFF board members Frank Saptel and Nav Sidhu.
VIC106 – ILLUSTRATE! EDUCATE! ORGANIZE! ART, ACTIVISM AND WORKING-CLASS COMICS
This panel will explore the connections between art and labour activism. Speakers from the Graphic History Collective (GHC) will discuss their work on a range of projects, including their new comic book Drawn to Change: Graphic Histories of Working-Class Struggle (2016) which is being published by a Toronto, union press, Between the Lines. Presenters will reflect on the importance and value of creating working-class comics, paying particular attention to the production process and how an accessible format opens up opportunities for building community, reaching broad audiences, and organizing in new and relevant ways.
GHC members Sean Carleton and Julia Smith will discuss the history and aims of the GHC as a unionized art collective as well as their comics on the Knights of Labor in the 1880s and the Socialist Feminist union SORWUC in the 1970s; Orion Keresztesi will talk about his comic about the Days of Action strikes in 1990s Ontario; and Jo SiMalaya Alcampo and Althea Balmes will talk about their comic about the contemporary struggles of Filipina migrant workers in Toronto.
Presented by Graphic History Collective
VIC200 – BUILDING POWER ACROSS BORDERS WITH STORIES: LESSONS FROM CONTRATADOS.ORG
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante (CDM) has supported migrant worker advocacy and organizing on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border for over ten years. Through groundbreaking policy advocacy, litigation, community outreach, and coalition-building, CDM strives to remove the border as a barrier to justice and improve recruitment and employment conditions for low-wage workers. Over the past ten years, CDM has led efforts to spotlight labor abuses in some of the most veiled industries, from Maryland crab processing to traveling carnivals. CDM’s efforts have brought unprecedented attention to the rampant abuses in the international labor recruitment industry in Mexico and the U.S. Indeed, abuses in recruitment are often at the root of workplace exploitation.
Co-designed with temporary migrant workers from the Migrant Defense Committee and with developers and designers from Research Action Design (RAD) and Studio Rev-, Contratados.org is a multi-faceted anti-trafficking technology project. Migrant workers reclaim power and agency in the labor recruitment process by sharing and accessing previously unavailable information about recruiters, employers, agencies, and the recruitment process.
In 2015, Contratados.org was named “Best Startup Technology” and “Best Overall Technology” by Netroots Nation, and was featured as one of “Three tech solutions that are working” by the Christian Science Monitor’s “How to Free Modern Slaves” anti-trafficking series. At LabourStart, members of the CDM and RAD teams will share background about international labor recruitment and Contratados.org, talk about the co-design process, share conversations between workers on the site, discuss the dissemination and community-building strategies that are driving Contratados’ success, and lead participants in a hands-on activity to brainstorm ways of bringing co-design into their own work. Participants will walk away with templates for tech tools designed to address problems faced by their communities.
Rachel Micah-Jones, Founder and Executive Director, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Aylwin Lo, Lead developer and Una Lee, Design Lead
VIC210 – SEX WORK LABOUR ORGANIZING: SUCCESSES, CHALLENGES, AND BUILDING ALLIANCES
This workshop is facilitated by three sex work labour rights advocates who have long histories of involvement in the Canadian and international sex worker’s rights movements. We will invite participants to think critically about sex work and to challenge the myths and stereotypes that prevail, especially with regards to migrant sex workers. Developing a labour analysis is particularly important for all sex industry workers, including those with precarious immigration status, as this framework is central to establishing sex workers’ rights. Around the world sex workers have argued that they are indeed engaged in a form of labour, and through the establishment of workplace rights and protections, many of the problematic labour conditions within the sex industry can be addressed.
The workshop will specifically consider the restrictive legal and social systems and structures that prevent or undermine sex worker unionization and labour organizing, both in Canada and around the world. These include: the criminalization of various activities and actors within sex work; the stigma associated with sex work; the frequently informal/transient nature of the work; and factors impacting migrant sex workers. Despite these challenges, there have been successful attempts to organize sex work unions internationally over the past two decades, for example in Argentina, Australia, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States, and elsewhere. There is much that we can learn from these campaigns, including how to best support sex work labour organizing in Canada.
Workshop attendees will engage in a participatory dialogue on how to mitigate the challenges to sex worker justice, and the ways in which they can work within their own unions and communities in alliance with the sex worker’s rights movement.
Kara Gillies (sex work labour organizer), Elene Lam (Butterfly: Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Network), and Emily van der Meulen (Department of Criminology, Ryerson University)
VIC300 – THE STRUGGLE TO ORGANIZE AGAINST FEMICIDE IN CENTRAL AMERICA
Federation of Independent Associations and Unions of El Salvador (FEASIES) is a labour federation which brings together six trade union organizations from the public and private sector, including workers in the informal sector. FEASIES was created in 1987 and is affiliated with the United Confederation of Salvadoran Workers (CUTS). The organization promotes labour rights and gender equality.
Horizons of Friendship is a Cobourg ON-based international development NGO that currently supports strengthening the federation itself, aiming to create a Union Federation that is able to react to the current reality in El Salvador, be open to all forms of diversity, and one that prioritizes the rights of women. Horizons has also supported a campaign organized by FEASIES to address and prevent violence against women.
Marta Zaldaña is the Secretary General of FEASIES. Marta began working as a young woman making $11.40/month and has since been a life-long advocate in the ongoing struggle against workplace discrimination and repression in her country.
VIC303 –CAMPAIGNING ONLINE OR OFFLINE, CYBERSPACE OR MEATSPACE, WHAT WORKS, WHAT DOESN’T
Three experienced campaigners will compare their views on what works in online campaigning and how best to translate online clicktivism into offline action out in the real world. Learn the limits of online actions and how to turn weak commitments into strong.
Shane Enright is Community Organiser (Unions and Workplaces) And Global Trade Union Adviser with Amnesty International’s global secretariat in London (UK). Eric Lee is the founding Editor of LabourStart and a pioneer in the use of online campaigns for labour rights. Janna Pea is the Communications Director for the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, UFCW in New York City. She leads the communications strategy for the union’s organizing campaigns, most recently winning a neutrality agreement for workers at Zara, the world’s largest fashion retailer. She is also responsible for creating day-to-day press about the RWDSU and its political involvements on a NYC local and national level. She previously worked at UFCW on the Making Change at Walmart campaign. Prior to working in labor, Pea worked on Capitol Hill for several years. When she is not working, she is hanging out with friends in NYC and her dog, Zorro.
VIC206- NATIONBUILDER 101
From Labour Unions, to the NDP, to city council campaigns, everyone is using the community organizing platform, NationBuilder. This workshop will walk you through what you need to know for getting your community organization outfitted with the NationBuilder platform.
Led by Ethan Clarke with Peter Wrinch, Director of Politics and Advocacy, NationBuilder. Campaign Gears are certified NationBuilder Architects.
This session is brought to you by CampaignGears.com
SOCIAL EVENT/FREE EVENING
Conference participants have a free evening. For those looking to socialize we have designated The Imperial Pub (website HERE) second floor bar at 54 Dundas Street (just south of the conference location) as a meeting place. Cash bar.
The conference organizers and LabourStart volunteers will be available there from 1800 onwards.
———-SUNDAY 8 MAY———-
POD370 – LABOURSTART VOLUNTEER CORRESPONDENTS MEETING
Open to all LabourStart correspondents. Open discussion about the conference, plans for changes at LabourStart and suggestions for improving everything we do.
LIB 72 -ADDRESS BY LEE CHEUK YAN , GENERAL SECRETARY OF HONG KONG CONFEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS (HKCTU) AND THE LEADER OF HONG KONG LABOUR PARTY
LIB72 – ROUNDTABLE PLENARY SESSION: RACE-ING THE FIGHT FOR ECONOMIC, RACIAL AND CLIMATE JUSTICE
What will it take to realize COP21 goals in Toronto, Canada and across the globe? In the context of Canada’s ongoing colonization project of Indigenous Peoples and the deeply genderized and ‘colour coded’ labour, the question is how to transform the vision of Green Economy for All into attainable actions.
In the tightening grip of neoliberal agenda across the globe, can an effective just transition strategy that will take into account the Indigenous sovereignty be developed before it’s too late? The notion of ‘just distribution’ and in whose interests and priorities are such decision made can become challenging and contentious. It is critical for organized labour and the broader social justice movements to have an honest conversation in reimagining how the fight for economic, racial and climate justice can be done from a decolonizing and anti-racism perspective.
Nigel Bariffe, President of Urban Alliance on Race Relations and Co-Chair, Green Economy for All, Good Jobs for All Coalition;
- Grace Edward Galabuzi, Associate Professor, Dept. of Politics and Public Administration
- Terri Monture, Kanienkaha’keh (Mohawk) from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Southern Ontario. She is currently a Staff Representative specializing in Human Rights and Equity at the Canadian Media Guild. Her passion is worker and indigenous rights, and spends far too much time thinking about resistance movements and various decolonization, anti-capitalist and anti-oppression activities.
- Ken Smith, Unifor 707A President representing Suncor Energy workers in Fort MuMurray
- Carolyn Egan, President, United Steelworkers Toronto Area Council and co-chair, Green Economy for All, Good Jobs for All Coalition
RALLY IN SOLIDARITY WITH GILARY MASSA (SEE FLYER IN THE CONFERENCE KIT)
Saron Gebresellassi, legal counsel for Gilary Massa, a Black Muslim woman who was terminated by her employer during her maternity leave will provide details of our lunchtime solidarity action.
Gilary Massa is a black-identified Muslim woman and CUPE member who was on maternity leave from her position with the Ryerson Students Union. While on leave she was fired and replaced by a friend of a Student Union executive member.
Conference participants are encouraged to join a rally and march just outside our conference location during the lunch break.
Solidarity against racism, Islamophobia and sexism!
VIC106 – CLIMATE-INDUCED MIGRATION WITH DIGNITY
Climate-induced migration is an emerging form of migration that has only recently been recognized as ‘legitimate’ in the international community. Yet, despite this recognition, it still stands as one of the most precarious forms of migration in terms of human rights, particularly with regards to concerns over human dignity. Environmental migrants are frequently left out of considerations for pre-emptive migration, and often victimized in dominant migration and policy discourses (especially in their framing as “environmental refugees”).
This presentation will draw focus to climate migrants from a series of small island states in the South Pacific, who are participants in New Zealand’s Pacific Access Category (an immigration policy that annually grants access to a number of labour migrants from Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati, and Tonga). Here, migrants – often environmentally-induced migrants – are conceivably offered access to dignified migration through work, where they are not exclusively framed as the victims of environmental misfortune, but rather as active advocates of their own destinies.
The presentation will take the form of an open discussion. It will include a PowerPoint presentation to illustrate successes – where advocates have sought and won dignified labour migration – and areas of concern: both where this method has failed migrants, and where it is likely.
Nicole Marshall, Department of Political Science, University of Alberta
VIC303– PREPARING THE WORKERS AGENDA FOR THE WORLD SOCIAL FORUM IN MONTREAL
The next World Social Forum (WSF) will be held in Montreal, August 9 to 14, 2016. Thousands of activists and concerned citizens will gather from the region and the world to share their mobilizations, their resistance and for strengthening their struggles (read the call to action: https://fsm2016.org/en/appel-mobilisation/). Within the WSF, there will be a space for labor fights. We hope that a maximum of workers from the world, and especially from both sides of our border, can join us for this necessary moment of refletion, movement building and strategic planning.
Presented by representatives from the Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec – FTQ, and Confédération des syndicats nationaux – CSN.
VIC203- PRECARITY PUSHBACK: COLLECTIVE RESPONSES TO PRECARIOUS EMPLOYMENT PANEL DISCUSSION
Taking the high road: Union-Management Partnership in the Hospitality Sector, Gig or Rigged? Work In The Sharing Economy, Voices of the Minimum Wage Campaign, Raising the Bar: Revisiting the Benchmark Question for Ontario’s Minimum Wage.
Jenny Carson, Ryerson University
Myer Siemiatycki, Ryerson University
Serene Tan, University of Toronto
Kaylie Tiessen, UNIFOR
James Nugent, Ryerson
VIC200 – LABOUR STRUGGLES IN PALESTINE AND INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY
The global labour movement has long criticized Israel for human and trade union rights violations and abuse of Palestinian workers, while workers in Palestine are resisting oppression and building a movement we can support. Trade unions and federations of labour in
Canada are heeding the call for solidarity made by 170 Palestinian organizations for a Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Let’s discuss how we can continue to build this solidarity.
Endorsed by: Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA), CUPE Ontario International Solidarity Committee, Faculty for Palestine (F4P), International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI-Canada), Take Back Labour and more…
VIC210 – ORGANIZING ON SCREEN
The Canadian Labour International Film Festival (CLIFF) works to provide a ‘film festival in a box’ to trade unionists across the country, in big cities and small towns. Learn how you can easily and quickly host a film festival in your home town or neighbourhood and how your video or film can be viewed across the country.
Frank Saptel, CLIFF.
VIC206 – YOUR DIGITAL UNION LOCAL: WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW
Union locals and labour organizations are faced with a dizzying array of digital tools and doodads compared to 10 or 5 years ago. But many – if not most – are still not treating the new world of digital communication with rigor. Where should labor orgs start? How might one self-evaluate around the use of digital tools? What are the needs of labor orgs in between high profile campaigns?
We’ll be addressing social media, list building, community relations, PR, websites, text messaging and mobile apps.
This session is brought to you by CampaignGears.com.
Charles Lenchner of Organizing 2.0 and founder of People for Bernie Sanders, a Facebook-based movement of more than 206,000 Americans.
POD372 – BUILDING INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY WITH LABOUR ACTIVISTS IN HONG KONG AND CHINA
In recent months, the crackdown of labour activists in China has been swift and severe. Last December over 25 activists and their organizations were detained. After much international pressure, many were released and 5 still remain to be detained. What are some of the political, social and economic contexts that are at play in tightening the space for full labour and political rights in Hong Kong and China? What are the new strategies to build international worker solidarity?
- Lee Cheuk Yan, General Secretary of Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
- Winnie Ng, Unifor Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy, Ryerson University
POD372 –1545-1700 – CHINESE WORKERS NETWORK SESSION WITH LEE CHEUK YAN IN MANDARIN AND CANTONESE
Lee Cheuk Yan in conversation with members of Toronto & York Region Labour Council’s Chinese Workers Network on building new strategies for union organizing and participation ( in Mandarin and Cantonese).
VIC200 – THE QUEBEC LABOUR MOVEMENT AGAINST THE AUSTERITY AGENDA
Just a few months after their election in 2014, the Liberal party of Quebec drove the province into an ideological race to austerity. Social movements and union’s massively organized to oppose the liberal agenda and convergences were created. The fight against austerity challenged unions and social movement. Public sector union’s bargaining, and fight for the preservation of public services fuelled the mobilizations this last fall. Soon enough, the government will enter in the 2 years period preceding 2018’s election, creating an opportunity to build on the past mobilizations and advance on a more offensive agenda. We propose a discussion about the challenges of maintaining a large social mobilization through time and how to conciliate the goals of each and everyone in the fight against austerity.
Représentatives of the Confédération des syndicats nationaux – CSN, and Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec – FTQ.
VIC203- FROM THE AIR TO THE GROUND: ORGANIZING YYZ THROUGH THE TORONTO AIRPORT WORKERS COUNCIL
The Toronto Airport Workers Council was formed to establish a space for over 40,000 union and non-union workers to share common concerns with employers at Toronto’s Pearson Airport (YYZ). This panel will discuss the opportunities, successes and challenges of TAWC organizing. This panel will feature four activists with the TAWC who will each discuss the role of the TAWC in different campaigns such as the Fightfor15 at YYZ, ‘contract flipping’, the increasing use of ‘volunteer labor’, and the endless ‘hollowing-out’ of airport operations through sub-contracting. While challenges remain given the different context and histories of unions representing workers at YYZ, the TAWC does represent an advance for airport workers.
Session Participants: Steven Tufts, Sean Smith, Mike Corrado, Monica Avero, Hawa Mohamed.
VIC2206 – SELF-ORGANIZATION OF IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES IN BERLIN AND LONDON: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR TRADE UNIONS IN EUROPE?
Does the self-organization of immigrant communities obstruct or support union renewal at a city-wide level? The experiences of Spanish migrant workers in Germany and Polish workers in the UK are compared as are the migrant organizing efforts of unions in both countries.
Ver.di services union Germany
VIC210 –MIGRANT WORKER ORGANIZING IN CANADA’S AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY
This workshop will focus on migrant worker union organizing and the groundbreaking approaches that activists are applying to gain ground in the agriculture sector. From organizing migrant workers in the fields of Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and elsewhere, to the growing student movement at campuses across the country, this session will be dedicated to discussing the efforts, victories and challenges that are shaping this essential fight for justice.
Worker (TBD), and Member, Agriculture Workers Alliance
Stan Raper, UFCW Canada
Student (TBD), The Students Against Migrant Exploitation (The Same)
VIC106– BEYOND PRECARITY: ORGANIZING UNPAID INTERNS
Cynthia H. Pandev will show her film Pay Your Interns! In Canada, each year approximately 300,00 individuals (mostly female) take on unpaid work in the form of internships, but the number is likely much higher due to our government’s lack of interest in tracking illegal unpaid internships, or even recognizing that they exist. Pay Your Interns! is an honest critique of the questionable practice of Canadian employers turning a blind eye to the Employment Standards Act by “hiring” interns, who are expected to perform the work of a “paid” employee, for free.
What is an intern? What is the difference between a legal/illegal internship? Is a volunteer an intern? Is an intern an unpaid employee? What can an intern do to protect their workplace rights? Pay Your Interns! answers these questions & many more.
The film delivers information and communicates ideas in a visually cheeky way by juxtaposing archival footage against interviews with advocates, brave unpaid interns, rally protesters, and people on the street, who offer their take on volunteerism, internships and paid employment.
Cynthia will be joined by Septembre Anderson. As a multimedia journalist, cultural critic and public intellectual with six years of experience in the journalism industry, Septembre is a force to be reckoned with.
Her published work covers topic areas like fashion, beauty, lifestyle, current events, social justice and, health and wellness while her articles have appeared in publications like Flare, the Ottawa Citizen and the Globe & Mail.
For Septembre, writing isn’t just a profession but a part of her activism and article topics include unrealistic beauty ideals, internships and labour exploitation, political correctness and, mostly recently, what the future of feminism holds for Black women.
Septembre has also appeared on a number of panels, radio shows and TV programs including CBC Day 6, The Agenda with Steve Paikin, Canadaland Commons and the OPSEU “The ‘F’ Word—Reclaiming Feminism!” Conference.
LIB72 – CLOSING PLENARY
Short remarks from Eric Lee and then open microphones will allow participants to share their experiences of the conference and to make suggestions about future events like this.
The conference will end traditionally with a singing of The Internationale. English lyrics are in your conference package.
LabourStart wishes to recognize those from many countries who were prepared to present the stories of their unions’ struggles here at the conference, but who were denied that opportunity when the Canadian government refused to allow them into this country. We are all poorer for their absence.