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Michal Rozworski: No shortcuts: Jane McAlevey on organizing that can transform unions and society

Today’s epsiode was recorded live at an event with union organizer and author Jane McAlevey in Toronto last week to launch her new book, No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age. I was honoured to share the stage with Jane and Stephanie Ross, who teaches in labour studies at McMaster, to discuss . . . → Read More: Michal Rozworski: No shortcuts: Jane McAlevey on organizing that can transform unions and society

The Progressive Economics Forum: Ten things to know about the CPP debate

This fall, Canada’s Parliament will debate a proposal to expand the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). And over at the Behind the Numbers web site, I’m co-author of a blog post titled “Ten things to know about the CPP debate.” The blog post’s other co-authors are Allan Moscovitch and Richard Lochead.

Points raised in the blog . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Ten things to know about the CPP debate

Alberta Politics: Never mind the evidence! Full speed ahead! An expert unpacks Alberta’s unending experiment in health care staffing

PHOTOS: Nursing professional responsibility advisor Joshua Bergman addresses UNA’s annual general meeting in Edmonton Wednesday (Dave Cournoyer photo). Below: Conservative premier Ralph Klein, whose government began the province’s long experiment in health care staffing mixes as part of an ideologically motivated attack on social programs. For nigh on 20 years, health care workers in Alberta . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Never mind the evidence! Full speed ahead! An expert unpacks Alberta’s unending experiment in health care staffing

The Canadian Progressive: VICTORY: Parliament Repeals Harper’s Anti-Union Bills C-377 And C-525

The Trudeau government’s promise to repeal former prime minister Stephen Harper’s vicious anti-union laws is fulfilled as Parliament votes to adopt Bill C-4. The bill repeals Bill C-377 and Bill C-525, two of Harper’s most vicious laws.

The post VICTORY: Parliament Repeals Harper’s Anti-Union Bills C-377 And C-525 appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

. . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: VICTORY: Parliament Repeals Harper’s Anti-Union Bills C-377 And C-525

Politics, Re-Spun: Jokers to the Right

It’s time we learn more lessons from Archie Bunker. While the right wing continues to become increasingly clownish, we need to go back to Norman Lear’s classic 1970s sitcom, All in the Family, to get re-acquainted with Archie Bunker’s willful embrace of ignorance and bigotry to learn where he’s coming from and how to protect … Continue reading Jokers to the Right

. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Jokers to the Right

cmkl: Dear Canada Post, settle. Don’t be as stupid as I know you can be

Wherein I plead with Canada Post to do the sensible thing and settle. As if corporations are guided by rational thought.Read more . . . → Read More: cmkl: Dear Canada Post, settle. Don’t be as stupid as I know you can be

The Progressive Economics Forum: Working in the Homeless-Serving Sector

Over at the web site of the Calgary Homeless Foundation, I’ve reviewed an excellent new book written by Professor Jeannette Waegemakers Schiff. The book is written for people who do ‘front line’ work with homeless persons. The link to the English version of my review is here, while the link to the French version of […] . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Working in the Homeless-Serving Sector

Michal Rozworski: Podcast: Where is Quebec going after the strikes, where is Canada’s economy going after the oil crash?

  I have two Canadian updates this week. The first is from Nora Loreto on what’s happening in Quebec after the fall’s anti-austerity strikes. Nora is a Quebec City-based journalist and labour activist. She gives an account not only of what happened during the strikes in Quebec, but also what to expect in their wake (see the […] . . . → Read More: Michal Rozworski: Podcast: Where is Quebec going after the strikes, where is Canada’s economy going after the oil crash?

A Puff of Absurdity: On Unions and Boycotts

The elementary schools in our board have decided to boycott the local paper because one columnist has been known to take a decidedly negative view of teachers. So a local MPP, Michael Harris, petitioned Sandals, the Education Minister, to… I’m not r… . . . → Read More: A Puff of Absurdity: On Unions and Boycotts

The Canadian Progressive: Liberal government moves to repeal Harper’s anti-union bills C-377 and C-525

This week, the Trudeau government moved closer to fulfilling its promise to repeal Stephen Harper’s vicious anti-union bills C-377 and C-525. They introduced introduced Bill C-4, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employment and … . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Liberal government moves to repeal Harper’s anti-union bills C-377 and C-525

The Canadian Progressive: Trudeau Government Blocks Harper’s Draconian Bill C-377

The Liberal government has announced what appears to be Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first step towards repealing Harper’s Bill C-377, a draconian law that sought to weaken Canada’s labour movement. The government has waived reporting requirements… . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Trudeau Government Blocks Harper’s Draconian Bill C-377

Alberta Politics: Former Tory labour minister and deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk enters the farm safety fray with ‘Bill 6 Taskforce’

PHOTOS: Thomas Lukaszuk in the summer of 2014 when he was running for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta. Below: A group of farmers and their supporters unhappy with Bill 6, the Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Worker… . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Former Tory labour minister and deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk enters the farm safety fray with ‘Bill 6 Taskforce’

The Progressive Economics Forum: Empty Conservative Rhetoric on Pipelines

Letter to the editor in today’s Regina Leader–Post (page A10):

A Tory Stunt

The Oct. 9 photo accompanying the story “Tory candidates laud pipeline industry” showed pipe produced at Evraz stored outside the fence of another company, where this Conservative campaign stunt was held.

The story did not mention that the company concerned uses pipe . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Empty Conservative Rhetoric on Pipelines

Michal Rozworski: Having the hard conversations: Interview with Jane McAlevey

My interview with Jane McAlevey has been published at Jacobin. The podcast is available here. Due to a lot of upheaval in my personal life (moving and a new job), there was no podcast last week and this will have to do in lieu. Normal podcasting resumes next week!

Michal Rozworski: You’ve argued that organized . . . → Read More: Michal Rozworski: Having the hard conversations: Interview with Jane McAlevey

somecanuckchick dot com: Consider this post a chronicle of Thomas Mulcair’s flip-flop policies…

Consider this post a chronicle of Thomas Mulcair’s flip-flop policies…

I could go on… but this is a nice start, eh!

In no particular order: [Articles + Videos; In English, or en français.]

Shortly after his election to the National Assembly, Thomas Mulcair denounced the political interference of Québec’s powerful union movement [Article: . . . → Read More: somecanuckchick dot com: Consider this post a chronicle of Thomas Mulcair’s flip-flop policies…

Politics, Re-Spun: Why I Joined Team Mulcair

After years of concern about what a second Harper majority government would do to eradicate the rest of what I love about Canada, I’ve been able to reject fear and embrace change. But it was a long process that required coming to terms with Tom Mulcair. And I did.

And so should you, which . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Why I Joined Team Mulcair

Michal Rozworski: Podcast: Jane McAlevey on organizing to win today

http://rozworski.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Podcast150831-Jane-McAlevey.mp3

 

I’m very happy to have an extended interview with Jane McAlevey this week. Jane is a well-known US labour organizer and author. During the 2000s, she worked for the SEIU, organizing mostly service and care workers. Much of her work was in right-to-work states, places where the labour movement has had limited . . . → Read More: Michal Rozworski: Podcast: Jane McAlevey on organizing to win today

A Different Point of View....: National voter support campaign could mean the end for Harper

The primary objective of Stephen Harper’s new absurdly-named Fair Elections Act  is to prevent hundreds-of-thousands of Canadians from voting for the NDP, Liberals, Greens, etc.

The Conservatives are, in effect, “cheating” the electoral process again, just as blatantly as in the past. They know that a large number of people – students, marginalized people and . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: National voter support campaign could mean the end for Harper

A Different Point of View....: Strong voter registration campaign could mean the end for Harper

The primary objective of Stephen Harper’s absurdly-named Fair Elections Act  is to prevent hundreds-of-thousands of Canadians from voting for the NDP, Liberals, Greens, etc.

The Conservatives are, in effect, “cheating” the electoral process again, just as blatantly as in the past. They know that a large number of people – students, marginalized people and First Nations – will have a hard time voting because of the changes. And they know those people would not likely vote Conservative.

Even though the Conservatives are trailing in the polls, it’s much too soon to say they will lose the election. Harper’s gang of strategists and pollsters have masterminded their way to victory three times, overcoming tough odds each time.

But efforts to help people to register to vote are not as strong as they could be. There needs to be close co-operation among groups to make sure that as many people as possible – particularly people in some 70 ridings where the Conservatives are vulnerable – have the identification they need to vote.

Alexie Stephens is one of  Leadnow’s staff members
 working to defeat the Conservatives. 

The Council of Canadians contends that some 770,000 people may have a difficult time voting because of the changes to the Act. Included are 400,000 people who used the voter ID card in 2011 and believe that’s all they need this time; 250,000 people who will move during the election period; and 120,000 who used vouching in 2011.

Harper ‘scheme’ must be stopped

If many of those 770,000 people are unable to vote, the Conservatives could win a crucial number of closely contested seats. Vote splitting among New Democrats, Liberal and Greens – similar to what occurred in 2011 – could also result in another Harper government.

A second factor could prevent many people from voting. Voting was less complicated when Elections Canada enumerators went door-to-door registering voters and explaining where to vote, a process that was eliminated in 1997. Now voter information is compiled from tax records, which are less reliable.

“ It’s all part of voter suppression, making it as complicated as possible so people will just throw up their hands and stay home,” says Stephanie Sydiaha, a Saskatoon activist working on registering voters.

Public interest organizations are responding to the challenge, hoping to play a leading role in defeating the Conservatives.

Dozens of groups want to “knock off” the Conservatives, including well-staffed NGOs, the Council of Canadians, Leadnow, and Dogwood Initiative; unions UNIFOR, the Public Service Alliance of Canada , the Professional Institute of Public Servants of Canada, the Quebec Federation of Labour and others; First Nations groups in many ridings; and avaaz, the international lobby group.

Some groups are urging people to vote strategically for either the NDP or Liberals in as many as 70 ridings, while others are campaigning for just the NDP.

So far, only a few groups are running campaigns that encourage people to vote.

Fairly similar campaigns

The Council of Canadians and Leadnow’s ‘Vote Together’ are the main groups encouraging people to vote. Their campaigns are quite similar. People who visit their websites are asked to pledge that they will vote.  So far, the response has been limited.

Both groups are giving extra attention to young voters. The Council has hired high-profile activist Brigette DePape to run its campaign.

The Council and Leadnow are conducting door-to-door campaigns, talking with people and leaving information on what they need to do to vote. The Council has been working in 10 ridings and Leadnow 13. Both groups say they plan to conduct detailed work in more ridings.

Because the Act makes it more difficult for people to vote, groups should do more than just drop off literature and a voters’ guide.

Excellent project in Saskatoon

Interestingly, one small group is doing a more thorough job. In Saskatoon’s downtown generally low-income core, a group of about 15 volunteers have been trained to take people – many of whom have never voted before – through the entire process to get ready to cast their ballot.

The volunteers, equipped with laptop computers, printers and cell phones, go to locations in the city where people congregate. They show people the Elections Canada website and, if they’re not registered, they help them through the process. They make sure people have the right pieces of identification to make sure they will not be turned away at the polls.

“I started with one church I knew about that has a food market for core neighbour residents,” says Stephanie Sydiaha, who launched the volunteer campaign. “I called the Food Bank, they were very eager, so we go there one afternoon a week.”

“We’ve been going to a soup kitchen that feeds 1,000 people a day – yes, in booming Saskatoon, they feed 1,000 people a day,” says Sydiaha , a long-time activist. “These are people who are not reached by politicians, they don’t have TV, or computers, etc. But they want to vote, believe me.”

This kinds of hands-on facilitation should be used by other groups in many neighbourhoods.
Some 14-million-plus people are expected to want to vote. It’s difficult to say how many will not make it through Harper’s rabbit snare of a voting process. But if a million are stymied, it will have a significant impact on the outcome of the election.

I dread thinking of a situation where, two or three days before the election, the NDP is leading the Conservatives by, say, three points in opinion polls. But come the morning after the election, and Harper ends up with perhaps three more seats than the NDP because of his latest trickery.

Serious need for groups to get involved

There is still time – and a serious need – for more groups, particularly unions, to get involved in voter registration campaigning.

Groups involved in the registration campaign need to co-ordinate their efforts. The Canada Elections Act restricts groups (Third Parties) from colluding to provide more than the legal amount of advertising revenue in support of a candidate, but there’s nothing in the Act preventing groups from working together to help people to vote.

Even at this late date, the creation of a national co-ordinating committee could give the campaign the profile needed to warm people about the changes to the Act. There’s still time to publicize the issue and conduct fundraising through a series of national newspaper ads.

There’s plenty of work for individuals. People can contact the Council of Canadians, Leadnow’s Vote Together  or their union and volunteer to help with door-to-door voter registration.

Or, if you’d rather work in your neighbourhood on your own, that’s great too. Post voter information in community centres, churches, and grocery stores.

Voting guidelines and, if you want to, you can vote now. 

If the campaign works, it will be one of the main reasons why Canadians will wake up on October 20th to a new government.

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Contact Nick Fillmore at fillmore0274@rogers.com

. . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Strong voter registration campaign could mean the end for Harper

Politics, Re-Spun: 11 Weeks of Daily Harper Protests

The Harper Re-election Disaster Bus Totalitarianism: daily, for 11 weeks!

Get used to this.

People hate Harper and his Conservatives. We will see through his weak attempt to wedge oppositions parties by running a long election campaign because he has more money to spend.

Saturation will come fast.

We will remember how much contempt . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: 11 Weeks of Daily Harper Protests

Alberta Politics: Perfesser Dave explains ethics in lobbying and how to manage political marriages

VICTORIA, B.C. Some stories are just too confusing for ordinary bloggers to explain. That’s when we turn to the expert knowledge offered by such distinguished academics as Perfesser Dave, The Answer Guy ™, Canada’s No. 1 expert in politics, now at the Observatory of Political Phenomena in Victoria, B.C. As a result of his years . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Perfesser Dave explains ethics in lobbying and how to manage political marriages

Alberta Politics: Starting with the A’s in Alberta: Archer is in; Asbell is on the way out

PHOTOS: A chaotic scene, not atypical of Alberta labour relations in the Age of Asbell, shot with a phone camera in the offices of the Alberta Labour Relations Board in Edmonton. Below: ALRB Chair Mark Asbell and former CBC reporter John Archer. Sorry about the lousy photos, but, hey, I’m working with what I can . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Starting with the A’s in Alberta: Archer is in; Asbell is on the way out

Politics and its Discontents: The Life And Death Of Worker Resistance

When it comes to jobs, we live in very precarious times, with fewer and fewer people securing full-time work with benefits. Paradoxically, union membership continues to decline, while right-wing propaganda about the evils of such associations flourishes. As a society, we seem to have lost the will to fight for something better.

So what . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: The Life And Death Of Worker Resistance

Politics, Re-Spun: How Do YOU Fight for Workplace Justice?

How do YOU define determination?

One of them gave birth the day before the vote. As soon as her baby was nursing properly and her bloodwork came back okay, she made the trip to the hotel to vote.

via Inside a union drive at The Trump Hotel | Toronto Star.

February 19, 2015 Looking for . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: How Do YOU Fight for Workplace Justice?

The Progressive Economics Forum: Transforming Precarious Work

The Ontario government has launched a review of their Labour Relations Act and Employment Standards Act. The premise is that the workplace has changed, and Ontario labour law no longer does as much as it should to protect vulnerable workers.

The Workers’ Action Centre in Toronto took this opportunity to document the myriad ways that . . . → Read More: The Progressive Economics Forum: Transforming Precarious Work