Toronto Media Co-op

Local Independent News

More independent news:
Do you want free independent news delivered weekly? sign up now
Can you support independent journalists with $5? donate today!

Rank-and-file labour activists, CLC Pres square off over G20

Georgetti dismisses union members' call for prisoner solidarity, social unionism

  [On July 5, 2010, in the aftermath of the largest mass arrests in Canadian history at the Toronto G20 summit, about 250 rank-and-file labour activists sent an open letter to the President of the Canadian Labour Congress. The union members critiqued Georgetti's public attacks against protesters paired with inaction on sweeping police brutality and repression, and called for a change of course toward solidarity with prisoners and enhanced cooperation with diverse community movements - the basic idea of social unionism.

The same day, Georgetti responded to the letter's organizers, dismissing the union members statement as a "piece of fiction".

The open letter and Georgetti's response are both reproduced below.]


[Rank-and-file union activists' open letter to CLC President]

From: CLC G20 Open Letter <>
Date: Mon, Jul 5, 2010 at 12:33 PM
Subject: Open Letter regarding the G20

Open Letter to Ken Georgetti and the Canadian Labour Congress:

We are labour activists, many of whom were involved in organizing against the G20 Summit in Toronto and solidarity actions across the country. After the “Peoples First” march, many of us remained on the streets throughout the weekend contesting the unprecedented militarization of our city and the G20 neoliberal agenda.

We are disturbed and concerned to read the statement by Ken Georgetti, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, issued during the G20 summit. The CLC issued a statement condemning ‘vandalism’ and declaring their commitment to working with the police throughout the summit; however, the CLC’s statement is shockingly silent about the violence perpetrated by the state and police, aimed at rendering the right of people to assemble, organize and resist obsolete, brutalizing our sisters, brothers and children.

Union members and our allies in the community were victims of the organized confusion that led to the massive violations of our basic civil liberties including house raids without warrants, indiscriminate searches, and the warehousing of activists, innocent bystanders and others for hours without charges in a dehumanizing detention centre.

Thousands of union members and others gathered on the streets and in the state and police-sanctioned “free speech zone”, otherwise known as Queen’s Park. As the mainstream media was glued to unattended burning police cars, protesters were being charged and trampled by police horses, subject to indiscriminate arrests, rubber bullets, tear gas and various forms of police brutality.

The focus on vandalism and attacks on private property espoused by the CLC statement and some mainstream media outlets, expels from the debate the legitimate concerns and lived injustices of many within the labour movement who turned out to protest the G8/G20. By commission or omission this limited focus legitimizes the suspension of rights and liberties in this city, including the right to assembly and the right to political protest.

Thousands mobilized in front of police headquarters on June 28th in solidarity with the hundreds of activists still being detained and our unions and union flags were absent. We believe union solidarity should have been present. While we are encouraged to see the CLC's recent decision to join the call for a public inquiry, we feel that the CLC and Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) must support our allies, call for the release of all prisoners in the detention centres and jails, and resist the attack on our human rights in all its forms.

We as a labour movement must commit to organize social movements along with our allies in social justice, environmental justice, grass-roots, anti-poverty, anti-racist, feminist, non-status, Indigenous, Queer and international movements to challenge and resist neoliberal capitalist governments’ ruthless assaults on the working people in Canada and globally. We will not and cannot win the struggle we face against the violent onslaught of neoliberalism by abandoning our allies and our communities in the wake of a massive crackdown on dissent.


Katherine Nastovski, CUPE Local 3903
Kelly O’Sullivan, President CUPE Local 4803
Adrian Smith, Justicia for Migrant Workers, Workers’ Assembly
Ilian Bubrano, Chair CUPE Ontario International Solidarity Committee, CUPE Local 3393
Dave Bleakney, National Union Representative – Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Tracy Supruniuk, CUPE Local 3903
Chris Ramsaroop, Justicia for Migrant Workers, CUPE Local 1281
Farid Chaharlangi, President CUPE Local 4772
Rachel Rosen, OSSTF District 12
Herman Rosenfeld, Retired CAW Staffperson, Workers’ Assembly
Lynda Lemberg, OSSTF District 12, Active Retired Member
Mohan Mishra, CUPE Local 1281
Giti Iranpoor, OPSEU Local 512
Alison Fischer, OSSTF District 12
Ken Luckhardt, Retired CAW Staffperson
Ryan Toews, CUPE Local 3903
Jude Welburn, CUPE Local 3902
Jim Reid, CAW Local 27, London Ontario
Nicole Wall, Justicia for Migrant Workers
David McNally, York University Faculty Association
Ali Mallah, CLC Alternate VP – Workers’ of Colour, Steward CUPE Local 79
Christina Rousseau, CUPE Local 3903
Gary Lawrence, 1st Vice-President, OPSEU Local 504
Caitlin Hewitt-White, Workers' Assembly, OSSTF District 12
Kaushalya Bannerji, York University CUPE Local 3903
Victor Saliba, OPSEU Local 526
Robert Allison, Member of OPSEU
Sean Starrs, CUPE Local 3903
Richard Roman, Retired University of Toronto Professor and Trade Union Scholar
Laura Parsons, CUPE Local 1281
Vic Natola, Steward at the Federation of Metro Tenants Association, CUPE Local 1281
Elizabeth Byce, Retired Member of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Donald Burke, CUPE Local 3903
James Campbell, OSSTF District 34
Amina Ally, OSSTF District 12
Ali Mallah, CLC Alternate VP. Workers of colour; Steward, CUPE local 79
Wendy Glauser, CUPE Local 3903
Ingrid Vander Kloet, ONA Local 97
Heather Dorries, CUPE Local 3902
Bruce Allan, CAW Local 199
Alex Levant, CUPE Local 3903
Peter Brogan, Workers’ Assembly and CUPE Local 3903
Sam Gindin, Retired Staff CAW
Denise Hammond, President CUPE Local 1281
Sarah Hornstein, CUPE Local 1281
Ian Weniger, member of Vancouver Secondary Teachers Association, local 392 of the BC Teachers Federation. (VSTA/BCTF)
Ajamu Nangwaya, Anarchist - Common Cause, Chair External - CUPE Local 3907, Divisional Steward - CUPE Local 3902
Malissa Phung, Equity Officer @ CUPE 3906
Jacobo Vargas Foronda, Academic Researcher
Ali Ghorbani, CUPE local 3798
Dr. Michael C.K. Ma, The Kwantlen Faculty Association (KFA) of Kwantlen Polytechnic University in BC. A member of Asian Canadian Labour Alliance
Jonah Gindin, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and CUPE 1979
Taodhg Burns, Industrial Workers of the World - Toronto-General Members Branch
Elizabeth Ha, OPSEU Workers of Colour & OFL VP Workers of Colour
Katie Wolk, CUPE 1281
Annu Saini, writer and activist
Douglas Hayes, Retired CAW local 200, The Council of Canadians, Windsor Essex Chapter
Kurban Versi, an active and concerned Canadian Citizen and resident of Toronto.
Dan Sawyer, CUPE 1281
Sabrina 'Butterfly' Gopaul, LIFE Movement, Head News Correspondent of and News Now host for CHRY 105.5FM, CUPE Local 4772
Hayley Goodchild, CUPE 3906
John Hollingsworth, COPE Local 225
Paul Richard Erato, CUPE Local 416
Nick Bonokoski, CUPE 3761
Ronda Brook, Member, CUPE 1281
Clarice Kuhling, WLUFA and soon to be CUPE Local 3904
Sharyn Sigurdur (MfD) UFCW Local 1518
David Rennie, Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Stefan Kipfer, YUFA, York University
Eve Roa, activist for the Mexican Migrant Workers, Health Care Worker
Kate Parizeau, CUPE Local 3902
Roger Langen, Teacher OSSTF
Baolinh Dang, CUPE Local 1281
Rodney Doody, York MA Student, CUPE Local 3903
Megan Cotton-Kinch, CUPE Local 3903
Simon Granovsky-Larsen, York University CUPE Local 3903
Robert Morden, York University – Student
Wayne Dealy, Secretary Treasurer CUPE Local 3902 and CAW 385
Paul Bocking, Executive Officer Occasional Teachers Bargaining Unit. OSSTF District 12
Ian Hussey, CUPE Local 3903
David Camfield, Member of UMFA/NUCAUT
Patrick Vitale, Liaison Officer – CUPE Local 3902
Katie Mazer, CUPE Local 3902
Jacqueline Bergen, CUPE Local 3903
Tom Young, CUPE Local 3902 University of Toronto
Barry Weisleder, Member of OSSTF District 12
Tim McCaskell, OSSTF
Chris Vance, CUPE Local 3903
David Lavin, CUPE Local 3903
Parastou Saberi, CUPE Local 3903
Noaman Ali, CUPE Local 3902
Rene Guerra Salazar, CUPE Local 3902
Jordy Cummings, CUPE Local 3903
Tom Keefer, CUPE Local 3903, Co-Chair of the 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group
Evelyn Encalada Grez, Justicia for Migrant Workers
Richard Fung
Megan Dombrowski, CUPE Local 3903
Gail McCabe, CUPE Local 3903
Jean McDonald, CUPE 3903
Helen Luu, UFCW Local 175
David DePoe, Elementary Teachers of Toronto Political Action Committee, and Workers' Assembly;
Joshua Moufawad-Paul, CUPE Local 3903
Erika Del Carmen Fuchs, Justicia for Migrant Workers, Organizing Centre for Social and Economic
Justice, CUPE Local 1936
B. Ross Ashley, Retired militant, SEIU Local 1 Canada
Wendy Naava Smolash, Teaching Support Staff Union, Simon Fraser University
Salah Irandoust, SEIU
Ferreshteh Bahmani, OPSEU
Jilvan Irandoust, OSSTF
Gary Romanuk, CUPE Local 3903, Workers' Assembly
Datejie Green, CUPE 3903, ACTRA Toronto, Past National Director of Human Rights and Equity-
Canadian Media Guild
Michael Hurley, First Vice-President, CUPE Ontario
Irina Ceric, CUPE Local 3903
Julia Barnett, CUPE Local 79
Logan Sellathurai, International Solidarity Committee, CUPE Ontario
Jean Claude Parrot, Retired Trade Unionist, Lifetime member of CUPW
Ritika Shrimali, CUPE local 3903
Shahzad Javanmardi, CUPE Local 79
Robert Ballingall, Political Science, University of Toronto
Clare O'Connor, CUPE 1281
Hayssam Hulays, OSSTF District 12
Punam Khosla, member CUPE 3903
Paul Jackson, CUPE 3902 member
Tyler Shipley, CUPE 3903
David Heap, UWO Faculty Association / People for Peace, London
Michelle (Shell) Sweeney, PSAC
Natalie Polonsky LaRoche, Retired member, CUPE 79, PSAC, Founder, Gay and Lesbian Pride
March 1981, Member, Independent Jewish Voices, ACJC
Paul Kellogg, Athabasca University Faculty Association (in a personal capacity)
Wendy Forrest, ONA Local 054
Terry Moore, Retired OPSEU Staffperson
Mahmood Ahmadi, OPSEU Local 540
Donna Ramsaroop, CUPE Local 1281
Greg Fletcher, CUPE Local 3903
John Simoulidis, CUPE Local 3903
Marion Mueller, St. Catharines, ON
Gita Hashemi, Artist, Educator, Formerly CUPE 3903, no longer unionized due to neoliberalization of universities
Karen Walker, CUPE Local 3903
Michael Hirsch, New Politics magazine, New York City;
Giuliana Fumagalli, STTP - CUPW, local de Montréal ؛
Mark Brill, Retired CUPW member now on ODSP, Toronto
Jon Short, CUPE 3903
Mostafa Henaway, Organizer for the Immigrant Worker Centre in Montreal
Mazen Masri, CUPE 3903
Chris Cormier, OPSEU VP Local 456
Marco Luciano, Migrante and Staff CUPE Local 1281
Richard McKergow, Justicia for Migrant Workers, CUPE 1281
Anita Krajnc,
Sarah Kardash, CUPE Local 3433
Fereshteh Bozorgani, CUPE
Paul Chislett, Windsor social activist; former president, CEP Local 37
Mary Ellen Campbell, President, CUPE 3906
Kelly Fritsch, CUPE 3903
Ron Drouillard, President: Windsor Workers' Action Centre
Maria Wallis, CUPE 3903
Cynthia Wright, CUPE 3903
Rhonda Sussman, USW Local 1998, Workers' Assembly
June Ross, Retired CUPE National Representative
Rolf Gerstenberger, President, Local 1005 USW;
Federico Carvajal, Vice-president, CUPE 1281
Anna Willats, OPSECAAT (part-time college workers in OPSEU)
Merlin Moss
Bonnie Bain, BCNU
Mireille Coral, OECTA member
Jessica Ponting, Justicia for Migrant Workers
Michael Truscello, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Departments of English and General Education
Alex Diceanu, member of anarchist organization Common Cause and CUPE 3906
Gary Jarvis, CUPE 391 Executive Member at Large and delegate to the Vancouver & District Labour Council
Philip Diceanu, Common Cause Member
Carmen Sanchez, York University, CUPE 3903 member
James Taylor, CUPE 3906
Gary Kinsman, Laurentian University Faculty Association (LUFA), Sudbury
Todd Gordon, CUPE 3903
Eve Haque, YUFA
Carlos Bucio Borja, CUPE Local 2191
Jason Kunin, OSSTF District 12
Matthew Hayter, CUPE Local 3903
Walter Whiteley, York University Faculty Association
Nick Probst, OSSTF District 12
Andrew Brett, CUPE Local 3697
Stuart Duncan, Canadian Media Guild
Derek Blackadder, Canadian Staff Union
Madeleine Boyer, CUPE Local 3903
Niki Thorne, CUPE Local 3903
Harry Smaller, YUFA
Faith Nolan
Pamela Dogra, ETT
Sarah Rogers, CUPE 3903 and CAW 414
Cathy Beth, CUPW Scarborough Local 602
Jackie Crawford, Ontario Public Service Staff Union
Michelle Hill, COPE Local 491
Christopher Webb, Communications Officer SEIU Local 1
Andrew Mindszenthy, OPSEU Local 548 and 509
Alan Lennon, Senior Union Representative –CEIU-PSAC
Phil Little, TSU-OECTA (Retired)
Alex Wilson, CUPE Local 3903
Brendan Bruce, PSAC Local 610 and Common Cause
Gordon Doctorow, OSSTF District 12 (Retired)
Roslyn Doctorow, ETF North York (Retired)
Douglass St. Christian, Associate Professor, University of Western Ontario, UWOFA
Eileen Roth, Laurentian University – Student
Xavier Lafrance, York University, Member of CUPE 3903
Cheryl Cowdy Crawford, CUPE 3903
Evert Hoogers, Lifetime Member of CUPW (retired)
Shawna Nelles, Independent Photographer
Jamie M.A. Smith, CUPE 3903
Duncan Clegg, York University CUPE 3903
Adwoa Onuara, CUPE Local 3907 and 3902
Sonja Killoran-McKibban, CUPE Local 3903
Amy Gottlieb, OSSTF District 12
Derek Maisonville, York University CUPE 3903
Patricia Molloy, WLUFA
Jerome Messier, PSAC
Malcolm Blincow, YUFA
Jennifer Gibbs, CUPE Local 3903
Jake Javanshir, Concerned Citizen
Janice Patterson, OSSTF District 12
Jill Lennox, CUPE Local 3903
Sue Stroud, BCGEU
Susan Kasurak, OSSTF District 12
Khaled Mouammar, President of the Canadian Arab Federation
Susan Hudson, OSSTF District 12
Colleen Bell, University College Union, Birkbeck, University of London
Brian Burch, LIUNA member
Ilona Molnar, CUPE 3903
Staz Mandziuk, Toronto
David Rankine, active responsible and free citizen
Pance Stojkovski, Toronto Workers' Assembly
Toby Moorsom, PSAC Local 901, Queen’s University
Hans-Peter Kohnke, Canadian union of postal workers, Toronto local
Murray Bush, CEP 2040
Jordy Cummings, Worker's Assembly, CUPE Local 3903
Asgar Hanarah, CUPE 3798
Evelyn Mitchell, CUPE 3798
Geoff Martin, member, Mount Allison Faculty Association (National Union of CAUT)
Angela Mooney, CUPE 1281
Elizabeth Pickett, Retired Professor of Law – Carleton University
Gail Drever, USW
Joanne Wadden, former CUPE member
Bruce Becker
Alex Latta, WILUFA
Michelle Dubiel, CAW and CAW Local 707 Discussion Leader
Trish Salah, Concordia University Part-Time Faculty Association
Vanessa Lehan-Streisel, CUPE Local 3903
Jasmine Rault, Assistant Professor – Women’s Studies, McMaster University
Graham Engel, Student and member of CSSDP
Helen Kennedy, President of the CUPE Toronto District Council and a member of CUPE Local 79
Murray Bush, CEP Local 2040
Patricia E. Perkins, York University Faculty Association
Brian Burch

For follow up or to contact the organizers of this letter please email


[CLC President Ken Georgetti's response]

From: Ken Georgetti <>
Date: Mon, Jul 5, 2010 at 7:52 PM
Subject: Re: Open Letter regarding the G20
To: CLC G20 Open Letter <>

I presume that you, whoever you are, are the author of this piece of fiction that some activists, retirees, and other parties have signed. As a courtesy to those who signed on to your misleading and slanted "open letter" I will set the record straight for them. I would hope you would have the courtesy to share it with them.

First, I report to a board made up of unions affiliated to the Canadian Labour Congress. You should note that none of them signed your letter.

Second, if any members of a CLC-affilated union feel "disturbed and concerned" with statements that I or the Congress make, they should take up their concerns with the heads of their respective unions.

Third, let's get the facts and chronology corrected. Weeks before the G8 and G20 happened, the Canadian Labour Congress was making public statements, speaking at Union and public forums, and appearing in the media about the unprecedented police presence and the chilling effect it would have on the public's right to express themselves at these events. We went further and joined with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and went to court where we challenged the police use of sonic cannons at the G20. We were successful in having their use limited.

We expended the lion's share of staff and financial resources for the huge civil ,peaceful protest on Saturday involving an estimated crowd of 40,000 people. Most all of them were there to demand the world's leaders focus on the issues of jobs, maternal health, peace, the environment, the list goes on. Unfortunately, all of that attention was stolen by a small group of thugs who instead wanted to destroy street cars and public property and vandalise and steal from small store owners on Queen and Young Streets. We issued our statement, you refer to, at 5:00 PM that day. The CLC does not and will not condone that kind of behaviour or tactics perpetrated by a few and must disassociate itself from it when it appears to be part of our action. People and groups who loot and steal and vandalise are not those whom we want as allies. Many other labour organizations and national unions issued similar statements ,and I note you did not send your open letter to them.

For the record, as soon as the Civil Liberties Association was satisfied that a public inquiry was necessary, they informed us and we were the first labour organization to publically support the call.

I find your letter slanted and predicated on misleading and incorrect information, and I hope my correction of the facts gives you and the signatories some comfort to know that the CLC is always in the lead on the important issues.


Want more grassroots coverage?
Join the Media Co-op today.

Creative Commons license icon

About the poster

Trusted by 0 other users.
Has posted 5 times.
View Andrew Mindszenthy's profile »

Recent Posts:

Andrew Mindszenthy (Andrew Mindszenthy)
Toronto, ON
Member since December 2009


2495 words


Ken misses the point

BY his own admission, it was but  "a small group of thugs" behind the damage to property. So what of the other 950+ who were illegally detained and arrested for the crime of daring to assemble and speak? No solidarity for them?

He sounds like a spoiled kid who won't eat ANYTHING on his plate because someone put yucky turnips on the side. I can hear him now:

"Those PUNKS ruined MY RALLY! They can ALL rot in HELL!"

He plays a stupid game of rhetoric, so apt for his role. The fact is that when push comes to shove, union leaders NEVER come through with the necessary support to carry on the struggle. Not these days. Their interests are more fiercely aligned with preserving (or saving) the status quo, than with progressive change.

The time is long overdue to rethink the so-called "leadership" of players like him. They'll fight for paid vacations but not for civil liberties. They'll strike for overtime, but not for equity. I'm sure Ken was more sincere and militant in his advocacy back in the 80's in BC. But now he's soft and inflated from too many years on the cruise.

Given what's in store, it would be the ideal time for someone still fresh with a fight in him or her, to take over the helm.






Unions are very useful if

Unions are very useful if they haven't lost their integrity as representatives of the membership and their interests including social justice, minority rights, freedom of speech, the right to protest including about the union. Now, many unions are run just like corporations and some are allied with employers against their members by helping management manage the employees and frustrating their efforts for fair and just treatment.

I am a long-time member of two different unions and I was a steward in one of them and the V.P. of a local of a third union, a broadcast and film technician's union, of which I am no longer a member. I resigned being V.P. of that union's freelance local because the international head office threatened to take over managing our local because I, and other members, objected to the lack of support and unfair treatment we were receiving from them. Our union local, was being required to give work to another local's members who worked full-time, at a television broadcast company, but were on strike and the freelance local's work was required, by international head office, to be assigned according to seniority including the seniority of the striking full-time union local members who were not members of the freelance union local. That meant many of our freelance local's members would be out of work because they had lower seniority than the full-time employees of the other local who were on strike. We were willing to help out by allowing those striking workers to have our surplus work, if there was any, but they wanted the status of becoming members of our freelance local until the strike where they were employed full-time was over. We subsequently had an election during which the international head office cherry picked candidates acceptable to them. How's that for union solidarity, fairness and democracy?

Public want Police to Release G20 Top 10 Most Wanted Police list

as Police Release their G20 Top 10 Most Wanted List, the Public Demand Quid Pro Quo


Georgettis a labour

Georgettis a labour bureaucrat who regularly works with the government and, in protests, with the cops.  He and other reformists have no intention of fighting the system, but instead in maintaining the status quo.  Under the leadership of such collaborators, the unions and workers so affiliated are largely useless in the context of social struggles, besides mobilizing large parades as occured in Toronto against the G20.  Thankfully their emtpy ritual and rhetoric was salvaged by the young militants--those who will have to live under the declining socio-economic conditions far more than fat cats like Georgetti etc.

"small group of thugs" A

"small group of thugs"

A small group of at least 500 thugs including a sizeable group of union folks that broke from the main march and joined the militant one. I was amazed to see a pink CU{E flaf amongst all the black and red ones.


"who instead wanted to destroy street cars and public property"


Talk about a piece of fiction.


"and vandalise and steal from small store owners on Queen and Young Streets."


Urban Outfitters, Starbucks and the Royal Bank of Canada are mom and pop establishments is I ever saw one.

Mr. Georgetti seems to align

Mr. Georgetti seems to align himself with the brutality of the police state rather than say "Hey, capitalism destroys lives through bloody war, famine, neglect, child poverty, murder of trade unionists, destruction of water sources, throwing people off their land, selling off oceans for oil - so what if a few staged cop cars were burned and a few windows were broken, it is nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to the terrorist acts of the G20 and their corporations. The terrorist acts they cowardly unlease against unionists, workers and dissenters around the world make the G20 chaos look like baby play. So, let our people go! Public inquiry! Violence against thousands in Toronto and millions throughout the world cannot continue! We will fight back.
Global Solidarity! We want democracy!

You can't achieve democracy

You can't achieve democracy without the support of the people.

hi, i wrote a comment for

hi, i wrote a comment for this thread, but it turned out to be pretty long, so i posted it as it's own blog entry.

Way to turn a bridge building opportunity into a shit storm

It's too bad Georgetti's letter is so defensive and cranky. They did publish that knee-jerk reaction to the burning cop cars and smashed windows but within 48 hours or so had dialed back the law and order talk and expressed their support for the inquiry into police abuse.

Ken could have said that in a 'we're with you and here's where we can meet you and work together' kind of way just as easily. Might not have made all the signatories happy, but it would have closed the gap some.

It's a lost opportunity for us labour bureaucrats, for sure.



The site for the Toronto local of The Media Co-op has been archived and will no longer be updated. Please visit the main Media Co-op website to learn more about the organization.