First Published: The Forge, Vol. 4, No. 17, May 4, 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Malcolm and Paul Saba
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With speeches by a Common Front worker in Hull, a Native woman in Regina and an Inco striker in Sudbury, May Day meetings organized by the League this week highlighted key workers’ struggles and multinational unity.
Seven meetings were held this week, with another nine slated for the weekend.
In Regina April 28, 90 workers, Native people and students heard a government worker hit Canada’s only provincial NDP government for its unfair labour practices. He pointed out state employees are still battling for a guaranteed 40-hour week and overtime pay.
In a moving speech, a Native woman described the effects of oppression on Native people. “We must unite in our struggles. We will overcome by building our party to ensure freedom for all,” she said.
The audience was treated to performances by a Newfoundland folksinger, oldtime fiddlers and a dance presentation portraying the assault by CPR’s quest for profit on small town prairie life.
In Sudbury, an Inco worker told a League rally May 2 that “our struggle against Inco is at a critical time of testing the unity and determination of the workers. The winds of change are taking place – we have tightened our belts long enough.” Over 30 people took part in the meeting.
An unemployed worker told the crowd: “We are not cheaters. It’s the government and the bigshots that are the cheaters, taking our tax money to make bigger profits.” At noon the day before, the Sudbury Unemployed Workers’ Committee demonstrated in front of Inco’s head office.
A Franco-Ontarian woman also addressed the meeting.
Over 40 people, including workers from Stelco, Westinghouse, Dofasco and International Harvester, gathered in Hamilton April 29. Upon seeing the slide show on the Winnipeg General Strike, one worker recalled how his father had fought off police and firemen equipped with fire hoses during a May Day march of the thirties.
Messages were read from the Hamilton local of CUPW and by a member of the Inco Wives Supporting the Strike Committee.
In Hull, a lively evening attracting 80 people featured a keynote address by Roger Rashi, chairman of the League’s Central Committee, and speeches by a local Common Front union leader and a worker from E.B. Eddy.
The League’s first public meeting in Sherbrooke – and first communist meeting in the region for decades – drew 80 people April 29. Textile and hospital workers were among the speakers.
In Windsor, 32 people, including Black Canadians and Arab workers, heard speeches May 3 by an autoworker and by a woman involved in the fight against Tory health cuts. “We will fight until the health cuts are repealed,” she said.
The meeting in Jonquiéres drew 85 people. The speakers included an Alcan worker, a worker from Consolidated Bathurst, and a student who talked about the battle in the schools over loans and bursaries. Roger Rashi also addressed the meeting.