Uniting the labour movement in Ontario, taking a leadership role in building the new ‘green economy’ and reaching out to unorganized workers by giving them a reason to join a union, will be the focus for the labour movement in Ontario for the next two years, said Sid Ryan, the newly elected president of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL).
Ryan, the Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario for the last 17 years, was chosen president of Canada’s largest labour federation at the OFL’s biannual convention in Toronto earlier today.
Convention delegates embraced Ryan’s activist vision for the labour movement as a progressive voice for working people, one that takes a leadership role in building social cohesion and in forging the new economy. Our future rests in creating a positive movement of the left by opening the doors of the labour movement and broadening our alliances with environmentalists, social justice advocates, affordable housing activists and young workers,” said Ryan.
He acknowledged the challenges faced by all workers today as employers emboldened by the economic downturn are making aggressive moves to roll back wages and working conditions. “They are doing this by demonizing and scapegoating unionized workers and creating a culture of envy that pits workers against one another,” said Ryan, who stressed that all workers should have access to a decent pension, quality public child care and post-secondary education for their children.
Throughout the convention, Ryan highlighted that unifying the labour movement in Ontario would be a priority in his first term as the federation’s new president.
“During economic upheaval, marked by the rise of low-wage, part-time jobs, the decline in union density, high unemployment and aggressive attempts to roll back unionized workers’ wages, benefits and pensions—a divided labour movement—is an easy target.
“Only a strong and united labour front working in solidarity with community partners will be able to withstand the attack. And labour in Ontario will be unified and ready to meet the challenge,” said Ryan, in recognizing the importance of the return of the Canadian Autoworkers (CAW) to the OFL.
For more information, please contact:
Sid Ryan (416) 209-0066
Stella Yeadon (416) 559-9300