OSSTF/FEESO was well represented at the 15th Biennial Convention of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) from November 25-29, 2019 at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in Toronto. We fielded our largest delegation ever, with approximately 100 members attending.
OSSTF/FEESO voices were prominent throughout the week. Many of our delegates took to the microphones, including a number of first-time attendees. Our voices resonated on issues of labour, human rights, health and safety, climate change and equity.
OSSTF/FEESO member Patty Coates (District 17, Simcoe) was elected as the first woman President of the Ontario Federation of Labour. Ahmad Gaied (UFCW) was elected Secretary-Treasurer and Janice Folk-Dawson (CUPE) was elected Executive Vice-President.
Other OSSTF/FEESO members named to the OFL Executive include:
- Michele McLeave-Kennedy (District 2, Algoma)—Vice-President, Labour Councils, Northern Caucus
- Chris Petersen (District 17, Simcoe)—Vice-President, Solidarity and Pride Committee
- Patty Dalton (District 11, Thames Valley)—Vice-President, Labour Councils
One highlight of the convention was the Power of Many Rally on November 27. With a clear focus on the Ford government’s cuts to education, over 300 delegates marched in the pouring rain from the Sheraton City Centre on Queen Street to Queen’s Park. OSSTF/FEESO and our other education affiliates were well supported by other convention participants.
In addition to the planned rally of November 27, additional actions highlighting current struggles in education occurred during the week. “No Cuts to Education” information pickets were held on November 26 outside the hotel, on November 27 at Union Station, and on November 28 at the Queen Street entrance to the Eaton Centre. Additionally, hundreds of delegates from all sectors took part in an impromptu education rally on November 27 at a nearby school, where Minister of Education Stephen Lecce was making an announcement.
The next OFL Biennial Convention will be held in November of 2021.