CLC Day 3 Recap: Races and Campaigns

Young workers were organized and demanding stronger language against two tier contracts.
Young workers were organized and demanding stronger language against two tier contracts.

Report from David Bush, CLC convention delegate and RankandFile.ca editor

Day 3 of the CLC convention started off with the all-candidates debate at 8am. This debate only happened because a motion from the floor to amend the agenda to include a debate passed overwhelmingly on the first day.

Husseini withdraws from presidential race
The biggest development of the day happened during the opening of the debate when Hassan Husseini withdrew his candidacy for president of the CLC and threw his support behind Hassan Yussuff. Husseini stated that Yussuff’s campaign has moved closer to his vision of the building a fighting labour movement on the ground. Earlier, during the Husseini caucus there had been a good debate about whether to withdraw and support Yussuff or stay in the debate.

The Husseini campaign was never just about the vote. It was a space to start to (re)build a labour left network. The vote was simply a tactical question, not a point of principal. By taking it to a vote there was a danger in splitting the supporters of Husseini, especially those most rooted in the labour councils and among the handful of national unions that supported his campaign. By withdrawing Husseini probably preserved the largest base of supporters willing to build some sort of organization or network after the convention.

There was also a danger that the Husseini campaign would be blamed if Georgetti wins on the first ballot. It would be an unfair accusation but one that would stick. The reality is that the convention seems split and the Husseini camp needed to show in public that momentum was swinging to the non-Georgetti camp. The debate was the only time the Husseini campaign could have effectively done so before the election.

Maybe it was the wrong tactical play. Time will tell. But in the circumstances, to withdraw and support Yussuff at the debate was perhaps the best chance at preserving the widest possible network of people who would be interested in organizing along progressive lines at the CLC, and more importantly at the affiliate level.

It is hard to say who won or lost the debate because few substantive issues were actually debated.

After Husseini endorsed Yussuff the convention floor erupted in chanting, but when the excitement died down we were all treated to a yawn-fest of a debate. It is hard to say who won or lost the debate because few substantive issues were actually debated.

Resolutions, Campaigns and Canada Post
After the debate the rest of the day spent voting on various resolutions such as supporting young workers, taking a strong position against the violence against aboriginal women and girls, and opposing the cuts at Canada Post.

The resolution on violence against aboriginal women elicited some of the most powerful comments and speeches from the floor.

The posties fired up the crowd calling on all unions to support their fight. Sid Ryan, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour also took a shot at other unions and the CLC saying that our national leaders and unions have left the CUPW to fight alone.

why wouldn’t we plow millions of dollars of ads and organizers into the first 11 communities being targeted by Canada Post for the elimination of home mail delivery?

One wonders if we are spending millions on a Together Fairness Works campaign, why we wouldn’t plow millions of dollars of ads and organizers into the first 11 communities being targeted by Canada Post for the elimination of home mail delivery? From the convention floor, postal workers have argued that this is a winnable fight if fought by all of labour, tooth and nail. But perhaps having a coherent strategy involving actual organizing is asking too much from the Together Fairness Works campaign.

There were two other notable developments which RankandFile.ca is looking to follow up on. One is the fight over the future of labour councils. There are major difference which didn’t quite make it out to the floor over how much power should labour councils have in the CLC. The second was international solidarity forum where an organizer from Bangladesh talked about creative ways they are organizing and how people in this country show solidarity.

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5 thoughts on “CLC Day 3 Recap: Races and Campaigns

  1. This isn’t a news report. This is an editorial. You didn’t even talk about the young workers organizing around there resolutions or the excitement that bought.

    And you are right. HH’s campaign was never about a vote. It was about pay back. It raised a lot of people’s hopes and gave them something to vote for. Now people have to vote for the same.

    If anyone thinks HY will do anything different than KG, you are living in another world.

    1. There is plenty of news reporting above. It also includes analysis and editorializing. If you are familiar with the website this won’t be new to you. The subtitle on this webpage and the “about” section outline clearly our mandate. We don’t pretend to be “objective” corporate media.

      I hate to break it but HH was never going to win, and it was, as Dave Bush wrote, a gamble to withdraw and we don’t yet know if it will play out well. The strength and importance of HH’s campaign was to inject some democratic energy into the convention and begin building a network of labour activists across the country who are focused on building power from the rank-and-file of the movement which is the only way the labour movement can take on employers, governments, and labour leaders who make poor or cowardly decision.

      RankandFile.ca has consistently argued that rank-and-file coordination and organization are where change comes from – not putting all our hope in a new president. Fixation on elected leaders solving all our problems is a problem within labour. Trade unionists need a deeper understanding of where trade union power comes from: a mobilized, organized, educated base. RankandFile.ca makes this point in our editorial on endorsing HH: http://rankandfile.ca/?p=2354

    2. Part of the reason I didn’t write about the young workers fight was that I am not a young worker and wasn’t at the caucus fight that coloured the floor debate/fight. I am hoping a young worker writes a story about that, because I do think it was important, we are actively working on soliciting an article. I was just one person trying actively to cover a whole lot of things at the convention, so some things I missed, my apologies. As per your comment about an editorial, the title is of the article is a recap of the day, it is my analysis. As per your analysis of HH’s campaign, I would agree partly as your agreement about not about the vote and your conclusions don’t match. HY will not be different than KG, is sort of a correct analysis. A KG reelection would have been a huge back step for the labour movement, real reprisals and demoralization of the left. HY is no radical and won’t change much (can’t fix the CLC with an election) but to say that here was no difference between the two camps is to miss the broader picture, in my opinion. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Thanks for this report. It’s true that HY has no record of acting to make the CLC effective, but that’s not the point. The point is it’s never going to be up to the leadership to do this. The move by HH is the best one to try to ensure the campaign to Take Back the CLC can continue as strongly as possible.

    I’m curious about the impact of young workers at the Convention as well. Labour conventions in general typically applaud young workers enthusiastically but real change is rarely forthcoming.

  3. I Applaud HH for having the guts to take a chance and get the rank and file buzzing about the opportunity to have a democratic rank and file run Union. One where leadership might actually listen to what is being said and get ideas of how to win the battles that continue to plague the movement.
    Unions are still relevant and HH has brought that to the fore.
    I am sorry that he didn’t have a chance of overtaking KG or HY.
    But, if he feels that HY is moving toward the direction and vision that he has, the amen to him and let’s get the work started. Also this site is soooo relevant to workers’ throughout this Country and beyond. Thanks for a job well done. Look forward to reading lots more.
    In Solidarity
    Bob and Lloyd Peacock

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