Across the street from the Ontario Legislature, on the corner of Queen’s Park Crescent and Grosvenor Street, and just a few meters from the Whitney Building, stands an Ontario Heritage Foundation plaque commemorating the Toronto Printers’ Strike of 1872. On April 15 of that year, as a part of the broader 9-hour Working Day movement, members of the Toronto Typographical Union and their supporters marched on Queen’s Park. At the corner where the plaque now stands, nearly 10,000 people rallied (which was pretty impressive for a city with a population no greater than 100,000 at the time), and fundamentally altered relations between workers, employers and the government in Ontario.
Outside of the classroom, most of us interns are not particularly familiar with the world of organized labour. In fact, as young professionals just starting out with our careers, only a few of us have ever been a member of a union, experienced the collective bargaining process up close, or been directly affected by the outcome of a collective agreement. Even for those of us with some experience in this area, it has been limited to spending a year or two as a university teaching assistant.
Fortunately, after our lunch presentation with the AMAPCEO, the Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario, we find ourselves much better informed about the role that trade unions play within the private and public sectors in Ontario. In addition to learning about AMAPCEO’s unique history, organization, and strategies, we also learned how the Ontario Legislature sets the terms of negotiations between workers, employers and the government of the day and we were reminded that Queen’s Park is still an important site for labour demonstrations in Ontario. As well, since many of us hope to one day work as policy analysts, financial analysts, auditors, economists we realized that a few of us interns may one day be members of AMAPCEO!
We also thank AMAPCEO for their continued support of the OLIP programme!