ACLA’s Endorsement of Borther Hussan Husseini for Canadian Labour Congress President

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April 2014

Sisters and brothers,

The Asian Canadian Labour Alliance (ACLA) strongly endorses the candidacy of Brother Hussan Husseini for president of the Canadian Labour Congress. 

ACLA is impressed by the vision that Brother Husseini has outlined for transforming the labour movement away from today’s stays quo to an a activist  oriented working class movement. 

Today’s assault on workers needs to be countered through both creative and militant manifestations. For ACLA this means that our strategies should not be premised solely on public relations gimmicks and electoral campaigns; our work should be directed towards developing an independent political voice that is not beholden to a political and economic system that is contrary to the aspirations of workers.

April 4, 2014 is the 79th anniversary of the unemployed relief camp strikes in BC where thousands of unemployed workers demanded that basic rights be accorded to them. The walkout resulted in thousands of unemployed workers organizing the ‘On to Ottawa trek’ to demand protections for the unemployed.

The ghosts of the past continue to haunt us today. The unemployed, the underemployed, the disabled, those on social assistance and those such as migrant workers with precarious immigration status continue to be attacked by subsequent governments at both the Federal and Provincial levels.

Our demand for dignity is a struggle for the working class in its entirety whether they are organized in the house of labour or not. Brother Husseini’s election speaks to a common vision that many demand: a labour movement that is inclusive and representative of the interests of all members of our community.

ACLA commits to working towards the transformation of the CLC and strongly endorses the campaign to elect Hussan Husseini.

 

In solidarity,

Asian Canadian Labour Alliance

Ali Mustafa Mustafa

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Sisters and Brothers,

The Asian Canadian Labour Alliance is urgently requesting financial support for the family of freelance journalist Ali Mustafa. Mustafa, the Canadian born freelance journalist was recently killed in Syria while reporting from Aleppo. The family has taken out a loan to cover the approximately $20,000 it will cost to have his body repatriated to Canada. We are requesting support from your union so that Ali can be returned to his family.

Ali travelled to Syria to document the lives and struggles of the Syrian people who he described as “the best of people I could ever know, the worst of fates I could ever imagine.” His commitment and solidarity continue to inspire all of us. Now it’s our turn to honour Ali’s memory and stand in solidarity with his family. Please donate to bring Ali home to rest in peace and power.

 

HOW TO DONATE

 

Here are the details on how to Donate:

(1) If you already have a PayPal account, you can send the money to the email opirg@yorku.ca. In the subject heading of the email, please indicate it is for Ali Mustafa. 

(2) Anyone can send money online using the following link: 

 

PayPal Image
(3) With a memo indicating it is for the family of Ali Mustafa, send a cheque to:

OPIRG York
C449 Student Centre, York University
4700 Keele St.
Toronto, ON
M3J 1P3

You can also link the site below to view the amazing photos and articles written by Ali

http://alimustafa84.wordpress.com

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs

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November 12, 2013 at 7pm

School of Image Arts Ryerson University

122 Bond Street

Toronto, ON M5B 1E9

 

**Winner of the LA Film Fest Audience Award & Best Documentary 2013
and Winner of the Best of the Fest at AFI 
Docs 2013

 

 

This is a free screening open to the public with admission on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

What does it mean to be an American revolutionary today? Grace Lee Boggs is a 98-year-old Chinese-American woman in Detroit whose vision of revolution may surprise you.
USA 2013 | 82:00 | Rated G | Canadian Premiere
DIRECTOR
grace lee boggs• Grace Lee (in attendance)
PRODUCERS
• Grace Lee, Caroline Libresco, Austin Wilkin
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
• Joan Huang
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
• Eurie Chung
AWARDS
• Winner—LA Film Fest Audience Award & Best Documentary 2013
• Winner—Best of the Fest at AFI Docs 2013

Grace Lee Boggs is a 98-year-old Chinese American writer, activist, and philosopher. The documentary carries us through Boggs’s lifelong involvement with many of the major American social movements of the last century, including labour and civil rights, Black Power, feminism, the oppression of Asian Americans, and the issues facing the environment.
Boggs is always dynamic, and has a strategic disposition that drives changes in her approach according to the world around her. Indeed, it’s this aspect of her character that drives the story forward. Angela Davis, Bill Moyers, Bill Ayers, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Danny Glover, Boggs’s late husband, James, and a host of Detroit comrades from three generations help shape this uniquely American story.
As she wrestles with a Detroit in an ongoing state of transition, the inherent tension between violence and non-violence, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, the 1967 rebellions, and non-linear notions of time and history, Boggs emerges with a sensibility that is radical in its simplicity and clarity: revolution is not an act of aggression or merely a protest. Revolution, Boggs says, is about something deeper within the human experience—the ability to transform oneself in order to transform the world.
Grace Lee is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker well known for her films Janeane From Des Moines (2012) and American Zombie (2007). Her film The Grace Lee Project screened at Reel Asian in 2005.

WEBSITE  http://americanrevolutionaryfilm.com/

CLIP http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdM_VYI9Cvc

PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

 

COMMUNITY PARTNERS

 

 

 

 

Labour Day: Immigrant workers hit harder by tough economic times

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Immigrants come to Canada to secure a future for themselves and their families. Yet a recent study undertaken by Ryerson University has painted a gloomy picture of the long lasting impact that the 2008 recession has had on immigrant workers.

The study followed hundreds of former employees of Progressive Mould Products (PMP) over a five year period to determine whether or not they were able to achieve any semblance of a middle class life after their plant declared bankruptcy in 2008. Sadly those interviewed reported that they were much worse off now as compared to when they arrived in Canada. The reported entitled “An Immigrant All Over Again? Recession, Plant Closures, and Older racialized immigrant workers: A case study of the workers of Progressive Moulded Products” profiles the experiences of immigrant workers who arrived in Canada in the ’70s and ’80s. The researchers found that:
- Only one third (34 per cent) of participants secured permanent full time employment, two thirds of former workers were either precariously employed or unemployed;
- 77 per cent of workers wages were worse off than what they earned from PMP;
- 36 per cent of male workers and 37 per cent of women workers reported a wage drop of $5 an hour or more;
- 52 per cent or women workers and 42 per cent of men reported that it was difficult to make ends meet since PMP went bankrupt;
- 49.4 per cent of workers felt their health worsened after the plant closures;
- 85 per cent of workers felt age barriers was the primary reason while they could not find permanent work;
- and 67 per cent felt that they were racially discriminated in the labour market. Continue Reading

ACLA at the 2013 Chinese Railroad Workers Ceremony

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Thank you to the event organizers for inviting ACLA to bring greetings and for organizing this annual gathering to recognize the contribution of Chinese railroad workers.
In the Chinese community, Canada is known as “Gold Mountain” meaning land of opportunity and prosperity.
Generations of Chinese have looked to Canada as a place of hope and good fortune.
For Chinese railroad workers, their story is bittersweet.
It is a story of hope and resilience, but it is also a story about hardship, sacrifice, and racial exclusion.
The first Prime Minister of Canada, Sir John A. MacDonald, insisted on cutting costs in building the Canadian Pacific Railway and campaigned to bring in Chinese workers to lower labour costs.
This was the less expensive, alternative option which overshadowed a more elaborate immigration/settlement proposal aimed at bringing in the preferred white Anglo-Saxon workers from British colonies.
In 2006, Canada formally apologized to the Chinese community for it unfortunate treatment of these workers and their families.
While there is recognition of mistreatment on this front, the Canadian government has not learned from past mistakes.
Today, we continue to see Canada use migrant labour.
Not much has changed, except the workers are coming from all over the world now, mainly from the global south.
What is disheartening is Canada has continued to implement similar exclusionary practices.
Instead of the Chinese Immigration Act or the Chinese Exclusion Act, it is now repackaged as the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
These programs allow workers to come into Canada to do work that Canadians are not lining up to do.
They are recruited to work in the fields in rain or shine harvesting the food that we eat.  They are the private caregivers for our children and elders because our country lacks a national strategy to properly care for our young and old.
As a country, we heavily rely on these workers.
However, they are not treated equally and they lack the same protections and rights as Canadian workers.
They are welcomed to labour in Canada for low wages, but they are not allowed to stay.
History is repeating itself and this is wrong.
For ACLA, events such at this one are particularly important.
First, it is an opportunity to help us remember the past struggles of Asian workers.
Second, it reminds us about the links to the issues we are currently dealing with today.
Lastly and most importantly, it can inform and inspire us to chart the path forward.
Asian workers have come along way in Canada, but more work lies ahead.

國慶日向鐵路華工紀念碑獻花 悼盤占元表揚華工貢獻大

【明報專訊】加拿大鐵路華工基金會一如往年﹐於昨天加拿大國慶﹐到市中心的鐵路華工紀念碑前獻花。

基金會創辦人兼人頭稅苦主盤占元今年3月與世長辭﹐安省人頭稅家庭聯盟主席周宇平不忘在儀式中﹐悼念盤占元﹐並讚揚他不遺餘力﹐爭取主流社會對鐵路華工為加國所做的貢獻。

周宇平指﹐若非鐵路華工艱苦工作﹐興建貫穿東西兩岸的太平洋鐵路﹐就沒有今日的加拿大﹗

他說﹕「沒有華工﹐便沒有鐵路﹔沒有鐵路﹐卑詩省﹑阿伯達省﹑育空區便可能不會加入加拿大聯邦成員﹐豈會有今日的加拿大。」

偏偏加拿大政府過去一直忽略鐵路華工的貢獻﹐有見及此﹐本身是人頭稅苦主後人的盤占元﹐特別成立加拿大鐵路華工基金會﹐並於廿多年前開始﹐每逢國慶日﹐便在紀念碑前獻花。

昨日亦有參加儀式的中國駐多倫多領事房利則表示﹐華人的貢獻不僅創建了貫穿東西的鐵路﹐還以百折不撓的毅力﹐在加拿大建立自己的家園﹐並成為加拿大多元文化的一部分。

盤占元作為人頭稅苦主的後人﹐期間雖經歷過很多歷練﹐但始終未有悲觀﹑失望﹐最後更爭取到聯邦政府就人頭稅事件道歉﹐實在難得。

公布盤占元紀念獎學金得主

基金會昨日亦宣布首屆的盤占元紀念獎學金徵文比賽的得獎名單。該會副主席胡龍傑表示﹐今年全國共收到18份作品﹐其中三分二是來自非華裔學生。

冠軍得獎者是來自西門菲莎大學藝術及經濟系學生Anysley Wong Meldrum﹐其可獲得500元獎學金﹔亞軍則是紐芬藺省紀念大學工程系學生Dmitry Kosarev﹐季軍為溫尼辟大學的Lynnette Van Bruggen﹐他們分別獲300元及200元獎金。

基金會主席Andy Mark表示﹐今次徵文比賽的主題雖是關於加國華人的歷史﹐但參賽作品中少於20%為歷史系學生﹐顯示大部分參與者事前都需要進行大量資料搜集﹐藉此可進一步了解加國華人歷史。

ACLA Letter to CRTC on Roger’s Cuts to OMNI Television’s Multilanguage Programming

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June 27, 2013

Via Email: Jean-pierre.blais@crtc.gc.ca

Jean-Pierre Blais

Chairman and Chief Executive Office

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Les Terrasses de la Chaudière

Central Building

1 Promenade du Portage

Gatineau, Quebec J8X 4B1

 

Dear Mr. Blais:

Re: Cuts to OMNI Television’s Multilanguage Programming by

Rogers Communication

 

The Asian Canadian Labour Alliance is a multi-racial alliance of community and labour activists

who advocate for the rights of racialized workers in Canada. We are very concerned with the

recent cutbacks to the multicultural programming at OMNI Television (OMNI TV).

OMNI TV is one of the primary sources of information for members of the Asian Canadian

community. OMNI TV has played a critical role in bringing forth stories of interest for our

collective communities. Without OMNI TV, many important issues that are relevant would never

get reported. OMNI news has played a critical role in community campaigns such as the

Campaign for the Redress for Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act, the demand for reforms to

the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and raising awareness of the precarious labour force

and its impact on racialized communities. OMNI TV has also represented a diversity of

viewpoints, something that has been absent from most mainstream reporting. The elimination of

these programs will be a significant loss for journalism where the diversity of reporting is

significant in the ever increasing presence of racialized communities across this country.

We urge CRTC to consider the impact that this decision will have on racialized communities

across Canada, and to direct Rogers to restore the cuts to these essential news programs.

Regards,

Anna Liu                                                                    Chris Ramsaroop

Co-Chair                                                                    Co-Chair

Asian Canadian Labour Alliance                               Asian Canadian Labour Alliance

Demand Justice for Ned Livingston Peart: Attend the Human Rights Tribunal

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Friday June 28th, 2013
9:30 am to 4:30pm (Tribunal hearing) 12:30 Noon time Rally
655 Bay St, 14th Floor (intersection Bay and Elm St.)

OHRT Final Hearing for Ned Peart June 28-2013
Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) invites the community to attend the closing day of the historic Human Rights Tribunal examining the workplace death of Ned Livingston Peart, a Jamaican migrant farm worker who was killed working in a tobacco farm in rural Ontario. This case is intended to bring forward changes to prevent workplace deaths and injuries and to improve working and living conditions of migrant farmworkers in the province. There has never been an inquest into the death of a migrant worker under the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program in Ontario or anywhere in Canada.

We need you to help us fill the Human Rights Tribunal for the last day of the hearing and raise your voices with us at 12:30 to demand justice for Ned at a rally outside the Tribunal!

twitter: @j4mw, #justice4peart
e-mail: j4mw.on@gmail.com

Don’t believe the hype! RBC layoffs not about foreigners vs. Canadians

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Once again the temporary foreign worker program has erupted in controversy where it is being used to pit workers against each other.

News reports point out that the Royal Bank of Canada has decided to move its information technology department abroad. To do so, it has brought in temporary workers from India that will learn the ropes from their Canadian counterparts. Following this training, the Canadian workers will be laid off, and the Indian workers will transition the IT department to India and return there.

This is not a story of so-called “foreign” workers coming to replace “Canadians”. It is a story of broken immigration laws where workers can be brought in to do short-term dirty work that no one else wants to do and can then be removed at the whim of the employers.

Many facts are yet unknown: how much are the migrant workers being paid? Did they have to pay fees to get these jobs? Were they promised citizenship? Will they be able to get basic services while here? All this needs to be determined.

What we do know is that 45 bank workers are being laid off to be replaced temporarily by migrant workers. This sort of ruthless denial of work to everyday people is deplorable and not surprising.

The Canada Centre for Policy Alternatives believes that Federal government layoffs of public servants will result in nearly 70,000 job losses by 2014-15. This past March, Canada lost over 54,000 net jobs because of Conservative policies. Getting rid of workers is what the Tories do best.

At the same time, Employment Insurance has been cut so that people are forced to go back to work sooner, at lower wages, and further away from their homes. Add to this mix a free-for-all season on migrant workers whose labour and immigration rights are being trampled upon and we have the perfect recipe for the downward spiral of wages.

Responding to any one of these concerns will result in incorrect solutions. The answer cannot be banning migrant workers from entering Canada.

We must emphasize an expansive, robust and inclusive immigration framework with full citizenship rights and benefits for migrants coming to work in this country. This must be done with corresponding labour reforms that protect the rights of all workers — migrants and Canadians. Doing so will mean an upward push on wages, and the ability for more people to safely fight and organize against the Harper agenda. Continue Reading

Justice for Ned Livingston Peart

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Who:  Migrant Worker, allies and community groups

What: Human Rights Tribunal into death of migrant worker Ned
Livingston Peart

When: April 17th, 18th, 24th, 25th 26th and June 28th 2013

Where: Ontario Human Rights Tribunal 655 Bay (between Dundas and College) 14th Floor

Time: 9:30-4:30pm

Human Rights Tribunal Hearing on April 17th, 18th, 24th, 25th 26th and June 28th, 2013 (655 Bay street 14th floor from 9 30 am to 4 30 pm)

The Peart case concerns the refusal of the Office of the Chief Coroner to grant an inquest into the death of a Jamaican farm worker, Ned Peart, brought to Ontario through the Commonwealth Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (CSAWP) at an Ontario tobacco farm in 2002. The worker’s family sought to have a coroner’s inquest held into the death of Mr. Peart because of concerns regarding the safety of Mr. Peart’s working conditions. The applicant, the brother of the dead worker, brought a complaint to the Human Rights Commission in the summer of 2005 asserting that s. 10(5) of the Coroners Act, which provides that a mandatory inquest will be held for certain types of workers while excluding others, violates the Code because such provisions have an adverse impact on the applicant and migrant workers in Ontario.

No death of any migrant worker has ever been the subject of a coroner’s inquest.
The application, which seeks an inquest into Mr. Peart’s death and broader systemic reforms of the manner in which the Office of the Chief Coroner investigates the deaths of migrant agricultural workers, seeks to ensure a safer worker environment for all migrant agricultural workers in this province. More broadly this application permits the HRTO to consider the status of migrant agricultural workers within the context of the requirements of the Code, which potentially could positively impact the status of workers in the CSAWP and other temporary migrant worker programs because of the intersection between the Code and the harassment, discrimination and exclusion inflicted on such workers.

The Peart family’s central argument is that because of the unique vulnerability faced by migrant workers brought to Canada under the CSAWP, migrant workers like Ned Peart are adversely affected by the exclusionary structure of the Coroner’s Act. Continue Reading

Union president collapses 16 days into hunger strike – your support now needed more than ever

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The President of the Korean Government Employees’ Union (KGEU), Kim Jungnam, launched a hunger strike in the streets of Seoul outside the offices of the Presidential transition committee on15 January.

He is protesting the sacking of 137 workers, among them the union president and general secretary, who are being punished for their union activities. They are accused of being leaders of an “illegal organization” — the KGEU.

President-elect Park Guenhye, who will take office on 25 February, has pledged to achieve social integration. The KGEU is demanding that she recognize the union and reinstate the sacked employees.

The KGEU believes that the reinstatement of those workers is a human rights issue and demands that the government listen to the International Labour Organization which has been urging Korea to guarantee trade union rights including freedom of association for many years now.

Kim will continue his hunger strike until these issues are resolved.

We call upon trade unionists around the world to show their solidarity by sending off messages of protest and solidarity today.

Please show your support by clicking here to learn more and send off a message too: http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/solidarityforever/show_campaign.cgi?c=1693

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