Our newly invigorated OECTA activists were most pleased to hit the picket lines once again in force with our teal flags flapping strongly in the breeze alongside those of our other brother and sister labour union allies. Our surprise, unannounced lightening strike protest stopped traffic entering and leaving the Toronto Island Airport throughout the busy lunch hour. The news networks quickly scrambled to cover the story, which seemingly happened out of the blue.
Porter Airlines Toronto Island Airport -nobody gets in or out!
At lunch OECTA organized two busloads of AGM delegates to rush over to the nearby Porter Airlines picketlines, located on the mainland access route to the Toronto Islands Airport close our Harbourcastle Westin AGM site to join the workers protest. Sid Ryan from the OFL gave an impassioned speech, as did OECTA's Chris Karuhanga, and the President of the COPE union which is trying to help the workers negotiate their first contract. NDP MPP Peter Tabun also came by to offer the workers his rousing support.
OECTA TSU: President Jansen, 2 Brown Bag Boys  + 1st VP Dave Szollosy
Porter Airlines provides cut rate airfares from downtown Toronto to the city centre of other big Canadian and US cities. The airport is on city land and an underground passage beneath the lake is being built by the city to help facilitate this private business interest located on the Toronto Islands. Also note that Porter is in competition with the unionized Air Canada Jazz Flights which provide the same service from Pearson International Airport. The workers fuel the Porter aircraft for $12 an hour under great health and safety risk due to spills. They do so without proper training. The passengers have little if any idea anything is wrong. Remember that if you are tempted to fly Porter anytime soon until these issues are properly addressed.
OFL Prez Sid Ryan asks all of us to contribute to the Porter workers strike fund.
OECTA AGM approved a $10,000 donation to the Porter workers' strike fund when we got back. Many of our individual local units donated a dollar a member. The workers' strike pay is $250 a week. They usually only earn $500 a week. Porter seems quite content to just wait them out showing little willingness to reach a contract agreement in good faith.
Union solidarity in downtown Toronto 4 fair CB + social justice + workers!
As an individual member who believes strongly in social justice, I think it is a disgrace to see workers in Toronto being treated that way by this popular airline service. I am donating $250 to help subsidize a worker for one week so they will reach be able to wait Porter out instead. I challenge anyone else to match the offer. Donations can be made with cheques addressed to OECTA Provincial for the Porter Workers. However it may be easier just to donate directly to their website @ Porter Strike Donations
OECTA donates $10,000 in solidarity to the COPE/SEPB workers strike fund with more to follow!
As teachers we can make a difference. Let's not just talk the union talk but walk it too, putting our money were our mouths are. It was very refreshing to join a newly revitalized OECTA protest group out on the picket lines in significant numbers. It was a small but hopefully significant first step to getting back out on the streets to demonstrate OECTA solidarity with our help + concern for others! Let's get our members + union leadership to work in solidarity again with all our fellow brother + sister unionists!