The Time to Act is Now!
Political action is any action that brings pressure on political or governmental agencies and/or individuals in order to persuade them to take action. IAM Canadian General Vice President Dave Ritchie is asking IAM Local Lodge Executive to educate the Canadian membership on the need to engage political action on all levels of government and encourage them to become more active in their respective communities.
The first step in this process was taken last June (2013) when Gord Falconer was appointed Grand Lodge Representative. He has been tasked with engaging the membership, district and local lodges as well as staff to become more actively involved in political action – the issues that affect working people in Canada.
“We’ve got to engage our members and their families on the importance of this issue,” says Falconer. “They have to be aware that the protection given to the labour movement by laws fought for and won by previous generations of working Canadians, are now under attack, we are in “The Fight of Our Lives”.
Organizing the Organized
Since September 2013, Canadian IAM staff has been distributing bulletins to IAM Grand Lodge Representatives (GLR’s), Directing Business Representatives and Business Representatives. To date, seven bulletins called, ‘Fight back’ have been issued. They contain information on impending government legislation, both federal and provincial, which will impact greatly on working Canadians. Our GLR’s and Business Reps use this information when addressing local lodge meetings on the need for political action.
As a result numerous Canadian IAM local lodges have formed political action committees, placed political issues as an agenda item at their monthly meetings resulting in greater membership awareness. IAM staff has addressed the issue at lodge meetings and continue to do so on an ongoing basis. Every Local Lodge knows that our members have other priorities in their lives. This is the first time we have asked our members to get involved. We want them to become aware that the laws that are being introduced are affecting our working lives and in some cases affecting our livelihood and the livelihood of our families.
One on One
We’re not talking about a game of pickup basketball we’re talking about one on one conversation between our members. We know that not all of our membership attends their local lodge monthly meetings, so we now turn to you, the membership, to get this message across on a person to person level.
Over coffee, lunch or before and after work, we want you to talk to your members about the need for political action, encourage them to engage their families on political issues that affect working Canadians. You are the key to informing our membership on this important issue. We will continue to update the officers and stewards on information of what’s going on. We ask you to continue to update the members by face-to-face communication.
Action for our Local Lodges
Every workplace has activists but do we know who they are? Local Lodge Political Action Committees should begin to map out their workplaces to find these activists and engage them to participate. We have plenty to talk about, on both the federal and provincial levels; issues like Bill C-525 which is designed to weaken unions; the campaign for decent wages – half of the workers in Canada earned $20.40/hour or less in 2012; Bill C-377 designed to curb dues and make Unions expose all of their financial data to the public and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) campaign for better pensions and retirement with dignity for all. There’s also Bill C-4, which the Harper government uses in its budget Bill to amend many other pieces of legislation that impact on workers. Last but not least is Bill C-23, which changes the Elections Act which excludes people from voting instead of making the process more democratic.
We have to bring these issues to the forefront of the everyday conversations of our members and their livelihood in order to bring about change. A step in the right direction would be the mobilization of our activists.
This means YOU!
Start the conversation Today!