Leading yesterday’s Labour Day march had a special meaning for Algonquin College support staff who have been on strike since Thursday.
Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Local 416 president Jan Strickland, who is a student success specialist at Algonquin, took a break from walking the picket line to lead the march with her fellow union members.
“It’s a great privilege they’ve given to us to be here and head this thing up,” said Strickland. “We’re meeting lots of wonderful people here and we are the working class of Ottawa so this is an important place to be.”
Hundreds of workers holding banners and signs marched down Lisgar and Elgin Streets and headed toward McNabb Park.
Strickland said walking in the parade will help spread the union’s message out to the public. The strike, which will continue today ‘ the first day of classes for Algonquin students ‘ is primarily concerned with concerns about job security, she said.
Five support staff positions have been deemed redundant by management, she said. The union and management are also clashing over wages.
Local politicians, including Mayor Jim Watson, MPPs Bob Chiarelli and Yasir Naqvi, and Ontario NDP candidate Anil Naidoo, also marched in the parade.
Labour Day has been celebrated in Canada for 117 years to recognize the contributions of Canadian workers, said Minister of Labour Lisa Rait in a statement issued yesterday.