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“ PERHAPS ONE OF MY FAVOURITE LABOUR COUNCIL ACTIVITIES IS THEIR SUPPORT FOR LABOUR-FRIENDLY CANDIDATES FOR POLITICAL OFFICE. DURING THE LAST PROVINCIAL ELECTION, LABOUR COUNCILS IN THE PROVINCE SUPPORTED SEVEN ETFO MEMBERS IN THEIR BIDS TO BECOME MEMBERS OF PROVINCIAL PARLIAMENT.”


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INTERVIEW: INDIGENOUS ACTIVIST PAM PALMATER


SAVE A TREE


youngest female director at the CLC, and I attribute many of the skills I have to do the job to my labour council activism. Labour councils nurture and foster ac-


tivism. There are lots of ways to be involved. Each labour council has executive positions, as well as committees where members can be involved in the issues they relate to the most. Most labour councils across Canada have limited funds and no full-time staff. Their work is carried out by elected officers (most of whom are unpaid) together with volunteers from among their delegates and other union members. Because the labour council is a labour central at the commu- nity level, councils are financed through per capita dues from CLC affiliates within the respective area. Affiliation is voluntary and all local unions are encouraged to join to in- crease participation in and capacity of the labour councils in each geographical area. One of my favourite labour council ac-


tivities is their support for labour-friendly candidates for political office. During the last provincial election (June 2014), labour coun- cils in the province supported seven ETFO members in their bids to become members of provincial parliament. Three were elected


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What is the history of ETFO and other teacher unions being involved in labour councils?


ETFO Voice is available as a digital-only subscription. Subscribe to the digital version to receive Voice issues by email 4 times a year or visit etfovoice.ca anytime. So far, over 14,000 ETFO members have opted for digital-only subscriptions. Get in touch with member records if you would like to switch over: trecords@etfo.org


EH: Teacher unions have a long history of la- bour activism in the province including car- rying out the largest province-wide two-week strike in North American history involving 126,000 teachers in 1997. Teacher unions (OSSTF, OECTA and ETFO) have been in- volved in labour councils since their affili- ation with the Canadian Labour Congress. (ETFO joined the CLC in 2000.) Labour councils have seen a spike in participation by teachers over the last few years since Bill 115 attacked public education and denied teachers’ basic human rights to collective bargaining and strike. Teacher unions made deputations to all labour councils in the province to gain support for the fight against the injustices they faced with government’s attacks on the education sector. To this day, teacher union representatives give updates at monthly labour council general member- ship meetings and engage other unions in the community to support their efforts.


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What kind of work do ETFO members and locals do through their labour councils?


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EH: ETFO locals and members work with lo- cal community organizations through their labour councils, organize labour friendly lo- cal events and send delegates/alternates on behalf of their locals to give reports and be eligible for election to the labour councils’ executive boards. ETFO members hold po- sitions as President, 1st Vice-President, 2nd Vice-President, Treasurer, Recording Sec- retary, Executive Board Member-at-Large, Sergeant-at-Arms, Youth Representative and Trustee on their labour councils.


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What advice do you have for ETFO members who want to get more involved in their local labour council?


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48 ETFO VOICE | SPRING 2019 22 ETFO VOICE | FALL 2016


EH: Get involved, and bring others with you! When affiliating with labour coun- cils local unions will be asked for delegate names, but locals should also send alternate delegate names (this way if appointed del- egates are unable to attend every meeting, others can attend with voice and vote and the local is always represented). n


TO PLACE A CLASSIFIED AD CONTACT: Jennifer Althouse, Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, Tel. 416.962.3836, Email jalthouse@etfo.org.


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