Report from David Bush, CLC convention delegate and RankandFile.ca editor
As the CLC convention kicked off yesterday there was an unexpected energy at the conference. Early on an amendment to the agenda to allow for candidates debate before the Thursday election caught the Chair, Ken Georgetti, off guard. The amendment was overwhelmingly passed despite his opposition.
Earlier the Canada Council, which sets the rules for convention, passed a motion allowing for secret ballot votes, making it much harder for unions to whip their votes. This can’t be good news for the Georgetti camp. He and his slate are probably going to fight this at the next Canada Council meeting on Tuesday.
The floor of the convention also rejected a weak anti-privatization resolution that didn’t universally oppose privatization and sent it back to committee. However, it is unclear to me at least what any of these resolutions mean for on-the-ground labour fights. It seems as though every three years the CLC passes the same resolutions. But one thing is clear: the mood on the convention floor was not passive.
The other notable event on Day 1 was an open caucus “for change at the CLC” held in the evening. Over 200 people listened to candidates running against the Georgetti slate. Hassan Husseini, Hassan Yussuff, Barb Byers, Donald LaFleur and Marie Clarke Walker all spoke about the need for unity against the Georgetti slate and the need for actual grassroots mobilization. There were of course differences between the candidates, but there was general agreement that what the CLC is currently doing is not cutting it.
One reflection of the CLC’s current problems was the poor decision to host a speech to convention by Denis Coderre, the Liberal mayor of Montreal. Only last month Coderre announced 2,200 municipal worker layoffs – or ten percent of of Montreal’s municipal workforce – over the next five years. Coderre is part of the attack on workers the CLC ought to be resisting. Nor has Coderre’s record on human rights been very good either.
Day 2 should be interesting as the young workers forum featuring the unionized baristas in Halifax should provide a little added spark to a surprisingly interesting convention so far