|Participants to the first-ever Canadian Political Action Committee Symposium, held at the William W. Winpisinger Center in Hollywood, MD.|
Ninety Canadian IAM members journeyed to the William W. Winpisinger (WWW) Center in Hollywood, MD, for the first-ever Canadian Political Action Committee (PAC) Symposium Center. IAM Canada staff, along with Political Action Committee members from District and Local Lodges, met to create a national agenda for political action, as well as individual action plans for Districts and Locals working toward an election in 2015.
“It’s been very difficult to get Canadian members interested in political action up to this point,” said Gord Falconer, IAM Grand Lodge Representative in charge of Political Action. “Most IAM members have been working toward collective bargaining, they look at their own initial workplaces and they don’t see anything connected with their workplaces to deal with politics. They have to be educated on the fact that the government, both provincially or federally can change their agreements with a stroke of a pen and that can affect them, their families and their communities.”
“We are in the fight of our lives,” says Canadian General Vice President Dave Ritchie. “Working families are under attack both provincially and federally by all sorts of governments and laws and we have to change that whole mind set of our membership that nothing can be done. We can make a difference because we have to.”
Participants to the Canadian PAC Symposium were highly motivated to change the way things are done. Split into four regional areas, they created four individual work plans that allow the districts and locals to identify challenges. They also identified barriers to how they will engage the members in the political arena working toward a plan of action.
“We’re taking this one step at a time trying to engage the membership,” said Falconer. “This can’t be done by one or two people; this has to be done by changing the mindset of the union. It’s taken us a long time to get this far and it will take a little longer to get beyond this, but it will come.”