Sunday, February 26, 2012



About four years ago workers at what was then Republic Windows and Doors kept their workplace open by occupying the plant. This led to a reprieve which enabled an alternative operator to be found. At the time there was discussion about re-opening as a producer co-op, but this suggestion was lost in the shuffle, and a buyer 'Serious Materials' was found. The new owner, however, was rather lackadaisical about finding markets, and the factory was once more in financial difficulty. Serious decided to close and loot the plant. The workers responded once more by occupying the premises, ensuring the machines stayed where they are. In the end management relented and agreed to a 90 day extension in which it is hoped a new operator will be found.

The workers were joined by other UE, members and others from Occupy Chicago, and they called the bluff of a group of police sent to evict them. This demonstrates once again the effectiveness of workplace occupation as a tactic to bring stubborn bosses to the bargaining table. Such actions should be much more common than they are today. It is also an obvious conclusion that the most stable and enduring resolution of such disputes would be the establishment of producer co-ops. This would hopefully become a goal for labour in ordinary times and not just when a firm is in financial crisis.

For now here is the story of what happened from Labor Notes.

UE Occupies Chicago Window Plant Again, and Wins Reprieve

Members of the United Electrical Workers won another reprieve for a Chicago window factory, re-occupying the plant they famously held in 2008.

UE Local 1110 members took over the Serious Materials plant yesterday after being told by local management that the factory would close immediately.

When they were confronted with the same news in 2008, workers voted unanimously to occupy their workplace, guarding the machines at the former Republic Windows and Doors for six days until the major creditor, Bank of America, released $1.75 million in wages and benefits owed the workers.

Republic sold the plant to Serious and workers celebrated as the first sit-down strike in years won a favorable settlement in the teeth of the great recession.

This week’s plant closing came with no warning. The union got a call from the boss that he wanted a meeting, but he wouldn’t say why. Officers and UE staff were summoned to the offices of the notorious union-busting law firm Seyfarth and Shaw at 9 a.m. yesterday.

There executives said they would close the plant, effective immediately. Workers would be put on leave while management dismantled the window-making machinery and shipped it to the company’s other plants in Pennsylvania and Colorado.

Workers would be paid what they were owed under the WARN Act, which requires employers to provide notice 60 days ahead of plant closings and mass layoffs. (The penalty for violations is up to two months of pay and benefits.)

But the provisions typically only apply to businesses that would lay off 50 or more.

Illinois has a stronger law, which requires notice when 25 or more full-time employees will lose their jobs, and gives the director of the state labor department the right to investigate the company’s books.

Management provided nothing in writing to back up its promises.

Union officers—Armando Robles, Ricky Maclin, and Vicente Rangel—and staffers spent three hours arguing with management that the closure was unacceptable. Serious had a legal and moral obligation to do more to try to save the jobs, they said.

“We wanted to find a buyer,” said UE rep Leah Fried, “but they were not interested. They said it was not an option.”

Meanwhile, the Serious workers were building windows inside the plant.

February is not a big time for demand for windows, and their numbers were down to 38 after a recent layoff. Only 75 of the original 240 workers had ever been called back after Serious bought the plant from Republic.

All Out

President Robles and Fried left the meeting with management Thursday and began calling laid-off workers, asking them to come to the plant. At 2 p.m., the end of the shift, 50 workers met to discuss their options.

Robles presented them soberly: Do nothing, or fight—stay and occupy the plant again. Without much hullabaloo, matter-of-factly, the members voted unanimously to occupy.

They had no food, no sleeping bags. Workers and leaders immediately started to phone fellow workers, allies, and the media. They called the local alderman and asked others to alert the mayor’s office. Occupy Chicago came with tacos. Stand Up Chicago arrived.

Workers from other UE locals, including recently organized railroad van drivers, were there. Republic workers who’d never been called back to Serious but who still came to union meetings were there. The crowd inside grew to 65 and outside to 100.

UE regional president Carl Rosen called Serious’s CEO Kevin Surace at headquarters in California and asked, “Do you really want to go this route? If it comes to it, we’ll be dragged out and arrested.”

Fried wondered if Serious understood who they were dealing with. “These are people who won’t take this lightly,” she said. “They take this personally. They need jobs. And the political climate has changed. Now there’s a whole Occupy movement that was inspired by us. We’re sort of ground zero of Occupy.”

Meanwhile, local management called the police. A half dozen cops informed the workers that they had five minutes to decide whether to leave peacefully or get arrested.

They didn’t make good on the threat, but they refused to let the pizzas provided by Stand Up Chicago inside until a local pastor intervened, as local TV news cameras whirred. “Let the workers eat!” chanted the crowd.

The cops backed off but wouldn’t let anyone leave and then go back inside.

By 5 p.m. a crowd had gathered outside. Occupy Chicago started to raise tents, showing how a culture to prepare and stick it out has developed since the last occupation, Fried said. The cold rain started to freeze.

Inside, workers played dominoes and tried to watch the coverage on an old, snowy TV. They had plenty of donated food—enough to share with their supporters outside.

Negotiations shifted when corporate decision makers got on the phone. Management in California took over, apparently deciding they didn’t want a big showdown.

At 1 a.m., a tentative agreement was reached that met all of the workers’ concerns. The plant will remain open, making windows, for 90 days. That’s in writing.

Serious is committed to finding new ownership. Local union leaders are also interested in the possibility of a worker-run enterprise and are talking with consultants who specialize in converting factories to co-ops.

Serious said it had never been able to get a foothold in Chicago and Midwest markets. Workers for years had offered help and suggestions, to no avail.

“We started the morning with the plant closing and ended the day with work and a chance to save our jobs,” said Robles. “We are committed to finding a new buyer for the plant or if we can, buy the place ourselves and run it. Either way, we are hopeful.”

Monday, February 20, 2012



It's coming up, the largest event of its kind in North America, the Montréal Anarchist Bookfair. As per what follows the deadline for proposals has been extended.


ATTENTION: Date limite repoussée pour les propositions d’ateliers, de films et d’œuvres d’art

NOTICE: Deadline extended for workshop, film and art exhibit submissions
[English below]

La date limite pour les propositions d’ateliers, de films et d’œuvres d’art pour le Salon du livre anarchiste de Montréal de cette année a été repoussée. La date limite est maintenant DIMANCHE LE 11 MARS avant 23h. La date limite pour les événements du Festival de l’Anarchie (à inclure à notre calendrier) et celle pour les kiosques demeure celle du 1ER AVRIL avant 23h. Veuillez consulter les pages suivantes pour savoir comment soumettre une proposition (rappelez-vous d’utiliser notre formulaire en ligne):

-> Ateliers:

-> Film:

-> Art:

-> Festival de l’Anarchie:

-> Kiosques:

Pour plus de détails sur le Festival du livre anarchiste, consultez notre site web:

The deadline for workshop, film and art exhibit submissions for this year’s Montreal Anarchist Bookfair has been extended. The deadline is now SUNDAY, MARCH 11 before 11pm. The deadline for Festival of Anarchy events (to be included in our calendar) and table space requests remains APRIL 1st, before 11pm. Please consult the following weblinks for details about how to make a submission (remember to use our online forms):

-> Workshops:

-> Film:

-> Art:

-> Festival of Anarchy:

-> Tables:
For more details about the Anarchist Bookfair, visit our website:

-> Courriel :
-> Tél : 514-679-5800
-> Poste: Salon du livre Anarchiste de Montréal
1500 de Maisonneuve Ouest, Suite 204
Montréal, Québec H3G 1N1

-> web:
-> liste d’envoi:

Vous pouvez aussi vous joindre à notre page facebook ou nous suivre sur twitter:
-> facebook:
-> twitter:

Thursday, February 16, 2012



Sometimes some people such as bosses need a little wake-up call before they move at all. Such seemed to be the case recently in Edmonton hospitals where contract negotiations have been stalled for almost a year. Here's a little item from the Libcom board about what happened.

Hospital workers across Edmonton walk out on wildcat strike
Hundreds of support workers at the Royal Alexandra and University of Alberta hospitals in Canada walked out this morning in a dispute over pay and conditions.

So far dozens of surgeries have been cancelled as diagnostic imaging clerks, cleaners and technicians downed tools at at least 12 different sites at 7 AM.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees stated that they believed workers at Mayerthorpe, Radway, Peace River and Claresholm were also either taking or considering taking similar action.
One worker told the Edmonton Journal:

“They are constantly adding more duties to our work, without an increase in pay… We’re fed up with our conditions, our pay. Cost of living is going up, but my pay is not.”

Workers are still providing life and limb cover for emergencies, and blamed their employer for provoking staff in negotiations around working conditions.

The employer has applied for a Labour Relations Board order to force strikers back to work. The Board is due to meet later today.


This situation is quite widespread. God knows how many bargaining (?) units across the world are held to no strike regulations as Alberta hospital workers are courtesy of the previous Klein government. In such situations the wildcat strike is an important weapon, alerting both management and more conservative union officials that there is a limit to how much people can take. This limit was reached and exceeded in the case of Alberta health care workers, and their wildcat put the union and the employer into binding arbitration. Here's the result of the wildcat from the CBC.

Hospital workers are forbidden to strike in Alberta. According to the Globe and Mail this strike was brief as hospital administrators were in a big hurry to get to the bargaining table for binding arbitration. Here's a great example of what can be done by workers who are (technically) forbidden to strike. All that essential services designations do is make it illegal for a union to strike. Wildcat strikes can be used despite prohibitions. Yes, there is a risk of course, but creative tactics outside the union/employer frame can be chosen so as to minimize risk.

Edmonton hospital workers end wildcat strike
Royal Alexandra, University of Alberta hospitals were hit by wildcat strike
CBC News

A one-day walkout by health support workers in Edmonton has ended and AUPE has agreed to send the contract dispute with Alberta Health Services to binding arbitration, health officials announced late Thursday afternoon.

"Staff involved in the wildcat strike should be back at work within two hours," said Chris Mazurkewich, chief operating officer and executive vice-president with Alberta Health Services.

The agreement between AUPE and AHS guarantees that workers will not be disciplined or face legal action for walking off the job on Thursday.

In a news release, AUPE President Guy Smith called on workers to return to work immediately to "ensure they are protected."

Hundreds of service workers at Edmonton's Royal Alexandra Hospital started their strike at 7 a.m. Thursday. They were followed by about 40 workers at the University of Alberta Hospital and others at the Northeast Community Health Centre.

Managers soon started performing duties like meal delivery, portering and room cleaning.

The job action forced the Royal Alexandra Hospital to cancel about 68 procedures. Mazurkewich says those procedures will be rescheduled immediately.

AHS officials scheduled a hearing with the Labour Relations Board on Thursday afternoon to force employees back to work. But an agreement to start binding arbitration was reached with AHS as the hearing began.

Negotiations are set to start next week.

Contract expired last spring
The walkout caught union leaders by surprise, pre-empting a series of rotating information pickets scheduled for Thursday around the province.

About 22,000 General Support Services employees have been negotiating with Alberta Health Services after their contract expired last spring.

General Support Services employees manage health records, prepare meals, manage finances, maintain facilities, assist in therapy, sterilize surgical tools, assist pharmacists and provide security.

In January, the workers' bargaining unit rejected a mediator's contract recommendations by an overwhelming 95 per cent, prompting Alberta Health Services to come back to the bargaining table, said the union.

The two sides met last week to resume negotiations.

"We were very hopeful a fair agreement could be reached with AHS last week, what we got was nothing short of insulting," Smith said in a press release.

"AHS's final position was even less than what was recommended in the rejected mediator's report."

AUPE walked away from mediated negotiations last week, after AHS tabled an offer of a two-per-cent lump sum payment for 2011, a two-per-cent increase for 2012 and a cost of living increase for 2013, said Joanna Pawlyshyn, vice-president, Royal Alexandra Hospital.

The negotiations are the first for the service workers since the amalgamation of the province's health regions in 2009.

AUPE is Alberta's largest union, with almost half of its 80,000 members working in health care.

Monday, February 13, 2012



Nick Dreiger is a shop steward for the Canadian Union Of Postal Workers (CUPW) in Edmonton Alberta and an organizer for the IWW. He was recently fired because of a number of charges related to either his union activities or his show of political support for the Occupy Edmonton encampment. The following is a solidarity campaign message from the Toronto IWW.

Please support fired CUPW Steward & IWW Organizer
Posted by MoS ⋅ February 13, 2012

Reinstate postal worker shop steward.

Edmonton CUPW Shop Steward and IWW organizer Nick Drieger has been fired after many years of service at Canada Post. He was fired due to honking his horn at an action near Occupy Edmonton, who were not allowed on the university campus at the time.

His termination was based on

1.Attitude towards police.
2.A ticket for stunting (honking his horn).
3.Being out of his delivery area.
4.Activity on a wild cat strike when he was on vacation.
The plan for Tuesday February 14th is to fill their managers emails with letters of outrage over the conduct of firing this worker based on these charges.Thank you, solidarity, and lets fight to win. An injury to one is an injury to all.

Please begin sending emails and letters to the following people in response to Nick Driedger’s termination.

Wesam Haymour
Location: 9808 103 A AVE, T5J 2T6
Edmonton Alberta

Brenda Young
Location:12135 149 ST, T5L 5H2
Edmonton Alberta

Robert Mccutcheon
Location: 12135 149 ST T5L 5H2
Edmonton Alberta

Azam Bacchus
Location: 12135- 149 ST T5L 5H2
Edmonton Alberta


To: ________________

I am writing out of concern over the treatment of Shop Steward Nick Driedger, who has recently been dismissed. It is my understanding that Mr Nick Driedger advances the welfare and safety of his fellow workers in this role. It is hard to believe that someone as honest, positive, and hard working as Nick should be dismissed, especially in light of the charge discussed below.

Mr Nick Driedger has been accused of stunting, a charge of which he has not been found guilty. According to eyewitness testimony, he was merely honking his horn, which could only make him more visible as he drove through an area with many police and protesters. Also, according to eyewitnesses, he ceased after hearing shouting from the officers in question. The eyewitness testimony in his favour is substantial, and it is disturbing that Canada Post Corporation would find Nick Driedger guilty in advance of the verdict of a court of law.

I, ____________________ request that Nick Driedger be reinstated as a full time mail service courier with no harm to his seniority. I also request that any targeting of him due to his activities as a CUPW shop steward come to an immediate end.



Public Event · By CKUW Radio 95.9fm.Monday.6:00pm until 7:30pm.. CKUW 95.9 FM's Fundrive 2012 presents


Join CKUW World music host Rick G, local Latin act MARIACHI GHOST and representatives from the U of W International Students Association as we celebrate world music and world voices on our radio.

We will be broadcasting live from the Lo Pub 330 Kennedy Street.

Come on down to see a free show, say hi on radio and pledge in person to CKUW 95.9 FM’s Fundrive 2012.

Sunday, February 12, 2012



It's called "Blue (collar)-Grey Power", an alliance of workers and pensioners to oppose Tory plans to gut Canada's Old Age Security (OAS). Here's the story, from the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) of how they occupied 21 Conservative MP offices across Ontario. You can read more about this action and find out which Tory bench warmers were targeted at the website of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL). A great example of how labour is taking up the innovative tactics of the Occupy movement.

Seniors and the OFL occupy 21 Ontario Tory offices: Threats to Old Age Security ignite new movement of Blue-Grey Power
Share Labour activists teamed up with seniors, retirees and supporters on February 9 to occupying 21 Tory MP offices across Ontario, while other actions are taking place elsewhere in Canada. The Harper government’s recent threat to cut Old Age Security (OAS) benefits has inflamed a new movement of workers and pensioners, calling itself a movement of “Blue-Grey Power,” that is bringing the fight against the Conservative assault on retirement security directly to Tory constituency offices.

“Prime Minister Harper’s hypocrisy is stunning. He chose to announce his plans to cut Old Age Security in front of the one percenters in Davos, Switzerland when he knows full well that if he were to retire in 2015, he would have a Platinum-Plated, taxpayer-funded pension of $223,517 a year,” said OFL President Sid Ryan, from the sit-in at Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s Whitby constituency office.

Feeling pushed to the brink, the outraged pensioners, soon-to-be pensioners and supporters resorted to the constituency office occupations to demand that Conservative Members of Parliament abandon plans to push back the OAS eligibility age from 65 to 67, or make any reductions to benefits. Instead, they are calling for the Harper government to introduce modest increases to Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions that would double benefits for all retirees and seniors.

“Harper’s attack on retirement security is another example of the Conservatives putting ideology over reality and the interests of working families,” says UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley. “Even the government’s own Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page, has said that the pension system’s long-term sustainability is sound. We as workers in Canada need to take note of this most recent attack on our rights and standard of living, and mobilize to once and for all elect a government that works for working families.”

To find out more about the occupation, go to .

Saturday, February 11, 2012



This Valentine's Day give a gift to farm workers and rural residents in California and ask that the toxic fungicide be banned in the state of California. Here's the article from the United Farm Workers (UFW).

CA appoints new director of pesticide regulations
Urge Gov. Brown and Dir. Leahy to take action on methyl iodide now
BREAKING NEWS: Governor Brown has just appointed Brian Leahy as the new Director of California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). California is now poised to reverse the decision to permit the use of the cancer-causing pesticide, methyl iodide.

For over a year, Gov. Brown has not taken action on methyl iodide, saying that the decision must rest with the incoming head of DPR. That person, Brian Leahy, is now in place. Please join us in calling for immediate action on methyl iodide.

More than 85% of the country’s strawberries are grown in California so actions here will have national implications. It may give the EPA a new opportunity to re-evaluate this chemical that has no safe place in agriculture.

Methyl iodide is a known carcinogen that could cause spontaneous miscarriages and contaminate groundwater. Injecting it as a gas into the soil presents unacceptable risks to farm workers, nearby rural communities, pregnant women and children. Clearly, this toxic chemical is dangerous and should be banned.

The UFW is joining with a coalition of environmental groups to send a petition to Director Leahy telling him to prioritize banning of methyl iodide. Sign the petition today!

* If possible, please add a paragraph personalizing your comment.
The Letter
Please go to this link to send the following letter to Californian Governor Jerry Brown and his director of pesticide regulation.

Dear Governor Brown and Director Leahy,

I am writing to urge you to take action on methyl iodide in the new year. In March, Gov. Brown said he would take a “fresh look” at the chemical slated for use on California’s strawberry fields, and since then, the case against cancer-causing pesticide has only gotten stronger.

Scientists have said time and time again that methyl iodide causes cancer, poses extremely high risks to farmworkers and pregnant women, and has the potential to contaminate our scarce groundwater resources. And based upon recent court findings, it’s clear that the Schwarzenegger Administration ignored that body of science in its zeal to approve the chemical.

We are hopeful that Director Leahy has the right farming and government experience needed to pull methyl iodide off the market.

We trust that that you have had enough time to “look” at methyl iodide. In looking you would have seen that the chemical doesn’t belong in California – not near farmworkers, rural children or any community.


Friday, February 10, 2012



The following item is from the National Public Radio in the USA.

Arizona Lawmakers Target Public Workers' Unions
by Ted Robbins

February 9, 2012

Labor unions plan to rally in front of the Arizona State Capitol on Thursday afternoon to protest four bills quickly moving through the state Legislature that could make last year's Wisconsin labor laws look modest by comparison.

Three of the four bills restrict the way unions collect dues and the way workers get paid for union activities. The fourth bans collective bargaining between governments and government workers: state and local. Unlike Wisconsin, it affects all government employees, including police and firefighters.

"It seems as though those employees or at least the unions that represent them don't care what the burden is on the taxpayer as long as they get theirs," says state Sen. Rick Murphy, a Republican who is sponsoring the bills.

Murphy says collective bargaining lets public workers put themselves ahead of the public they are working for.

Nick Dranias of the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute, a libertarian/conservative think tank that helped Murphy write the bills, says public-sector workers in Arizona make about 6 percent more in salary and benefits than their private-sector counterparts.

"You're not in government, you know, to collect a fat paycheck," Dranias says. "You're in government to serve. And if you get paid reasonably, that's nice, but the moment you feel the need to organize collectively and create laws like collective-bargaining laws that give you special privileges to negotiate and extract compensation not seen in the private sector, you've gone too far."

Arizona is also different from Wisconsin in that it's a right-to-work state: No one can be forced to join a union. So unions in Arizona already have less clout. Still, 80 percent of police in the state choose to belong to a union.

Brian Livingston, who represents the Arizona Police Association, which is fighting the bills, says police and firefighters typically get paid less in salary, but he acknowledges that they negotiate better benefits and retirement plans. Livingston says police deserve it.

"By the time we retire, we know that most of us will not live beyond what the average private citizen does," he says. "And I'm speaking specifically about public safety, the rigors of our occupation, the hazards of our occupation take a lifelong toll on our longevity."

Democrats in the Arizona Legislature are outnumbered by Republicans 2-to-1 in the House and by more in the Senate.

Senate Minority Leader David Schapira says he is appalled by the bills.

"These bills are clearly the most anti-worker, anti-middle class, anti-union bills in the history of the country," he says.

These bills are clearly the most anti-worker, anti-middle class, anti-union bills in the history of the country.

- Arizona Senate Minority Leader David Schapira
Schapira says the bills are purely political. They're being considered, he says, because union leaders tend to support Democrats over Republicans.

"These are people that the Tea Party leadership at the State Capitol in Arizona disagree with, and so they're punishing them and that's the purpose of these pieces of legislation," he says.

Murphy, the bills' sponsor, acknowledges that public worker labor unions are a political problem for him. The elected officials labor leaders are negotiating with, he says, are afraid to give in to unions for fear of political reprisal.

"When the unions are the ones who are disproportionately influencing those elected officials, the elected officials are very rarely on the side of the taxpayers in those negotiations," he says.

The swiftness of this new attempt at cutting the power of public worker unions took labor leaders by surprise. The bills were introduced just last week, passed through committee and are ready for a full Senate vote.



Coming up this February 14 (next Tuesday Valentine's Day) Winnipeg's annual March for Murdered and Missing Women. Here's the invite.
Annual Women's Memorial March of Manitoba

Tuesday, February 14, 2012.5:30pm until 7:30pm.. To stand together united as one strong voice, for those who are unable to sound their voice, the women who are missing or have been murdered. We wish to raise awareness and honour the missing or murdered women in support of their families and friends.

There will be people across Canada on February 14, 2012, marching to honour these women.

Hot refreshments and food will be served.

Please wear red or purple if possible

Thursday, February 09, 2012



Coming up this Saturday at the Rudolf Rocker Cultural Centre, 3rd Floor, 91 Albert St., Winnipeg MB:...a benefit for cooperative radio CKUW. Here's the details.

Feb 11 - Joe Nice @ The Rocker (Wpg, CAN) CKUW Fundrive 2012

Saturday.10:00pm until 4:00am.

Saturday February 11 2012

CKUW Fundrive 2012, Phantohm Sound System and mixtechs deejays presents

Joe Nice - Baltimore, MD
... Gourmet Beats / Dataset Clothing / Dub War NYE / Electric Sound Stage Radio / Reconstrvct

Theo Tzu & Turtilian - monkey dub / dub city steppers / phantohms
Coda & Pucona - phantohm sound system / bass behaviour

$12 reduced guestlist if you e-mail with "I ♥ DUBSTEP"
$15 at the door

Sound by Good Vibe Tribe (5700 watts)

Visuals by Jaymez

Listen to the commercial with a custom voicing from Joe Nice:

As part of the CKUW Fundrive 2012 Event Series



What does a politician have to endure these days ? Just for the simple act of bragging in front of one's numerous rich friends about the devious ways that he plans to increase their (and his own) incomes by offloading hard times onto the poor. Poor Dalton McGuinty found out today as he addressed the opulent gathering of the Canadian Club, a social club for our so-called elites. The world outside came to visit the world of foie-gras and 30 year old Scotch in the personages of protesters from Under Pressure, an Ottawa anti-poverty group.

Here's the statement of Under Pressure, presented by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.

"Dear Rich People-We’re Coming For You!"

Under Pressure’s Statement On Today’s Disruption of McGuinty’s Speech‏
Dear Rich People- We’re Coming For You! Under Pressure’s Statement On Today’s Disruption of McGuinty’s Speech

On Thursday, February 09, 2012, in the fancy Ballroom of Ottawa’s Chateau Laurier, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty addressed members of the Canadian Club, a social club for Ottawa’s wealthy elite. Disgustingly, the Premier was there to promise the gathered rich people a ‘relentless’ attack on Ontario’s deficit, which we all know means a ‘relentless’ attack on workers and poor people.

Rather than letting McGuinty get a free pass to spew more nonsense, Under Pressure, an Ottawa-based anti-poverty group, joined with community allies to disrupt his speech. The group of 10 activists attempted to storm the Chateau Laurier Ballroom while McGuinty was speaking. Four members were able to enter the Ballroom and loudly express their anger before being removed by security and the RCMP.

The rest of us raised hell just outside the room. Much banging on doors, chanting, throwing of confetti, and unfurling of banners ensued. Several liberal hacks got pretty aggressive but, despite repeated attempts to remove us, we refused to leave until we were good and ready.

The message we delivered to the gathered rich people was clear: workers, students and poor people in Ontario are under increasing attack by the provincial government of Dalton McGuinty. Cutting the Special Diet Allowance, deplorable social assistance rates ($599/month), a tuition grant that is unavailable to 2/3 of university students and comes at the expense of funding for graduate student research, and the province’s absolute failure to support workers at the Electro-Motive plant in London, Ontario, are only a few of the signs that rich people and their government don’t give a rat’s ass about us.

Under Pressure and its community allies promise that this is only one of many confrontations to come. We will not sit by, silently waiting for the next election or for this government to do the right thing. We will work with allies across the province to disrupt business as usual and to take the fight directly to the homes and boardrooms of the rich.

They say ‘Cutback’, we say ‘Fightback’!

Come to Toronto, March 16th, for the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty Pre-Budget FIGHT POVERTY March!

Contact Under Pressure at

Full text of the flyer distributed during the action:

Ottawa Citizen article on the action:

Saturday, February 04, 2012



On this date Rosa Parks (1913-2005), the mother of the American Civil Rights Movement was born. On December 1st 1955 she refused an order from a bus driver to give up her seat for a white and "move to the back of the bus". This led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott that was the first action of the civil rights movement in the USA. The notice for this anniversary was from the Daily Bleed. To learn more about Rosa Parks see this Wikipedia entry.

Friday, February 03, 2012



Here's an interesting item and an appeal for solidarity from the Making Change At Walmart group.

Workers win injunction against Walmart contractors
Posted on February 2, 2012 by benjaminwaxman

Yesterday, employees working for two Walmart contractors that operate warehouse facilities won a major victory in federal court. The U.S. District Court for Central District of California issued an injunction prohibiting two companies, Schneider Logistics and Rogers-Premier Unloading Services, from firing workers who participated in a federal class action lawsuit to recover stolen wages. As a result, workers will be able to keep their jobs, which were scheduled to be eliminated on February 24th.

Why did workers sue in the first place? According to Jose Tejeda, a worker who is employed by Schneider Logistics, conditions in the warehouses are pretty brutal. During a conference call organized by Warehouse Workers United, Tejeda said that workers were required to work long hours without a bathroom break and could be punished by supervisors for taking a sick day. Another worker, Manuel Gonzalez, said that workers are often required to work 12 hour days and do not receive overtime. These types of conditions are why Tejeda, Gonzalez, and other warehouse workers joined together to sue the Walmart contractors.

That provoked a response. Janet Herold, an attorney representing the warehouse workers, said that management in one of the facilities gathered together all employees and said that anyone participating in the lawsuit would “be crushed.” The employees were then notified that there would be a mass firing of all workers involved in the case. Thankfully, the ruling that came down yesterday means that workers will be able to keep their jobs.

However, a single lawsuit isn’t the answer to preventing this kind of abuse in the future. Walmart must adopt a responsible contractor policy, which would require any company working for the retail giant to meet basic labor standards. That’s the only way to ensure that warehouse workers won’t be abused in the future.

Click here to sign a petition supporting the Warehouse Workers!