The election marked the end of six years of bold leadership from outgoing OFL President Sid Ryan, along with Secretary-Treasurer Nancy Hutchison and Executive Vice-President Irwin Nanda. Earlier this fall, all three officers announced their intention to not seek re-election. Former Unifor Local 222 President, Chris Buckley from Oshawa was unanimously elected OFL President and Barrie and District Labour Council President Patty Coates was also elected without opposition as the OFL Secretary-Treasurer. After a three-way race for the position of OFL Executive Vice-President, Ahmad Gaied from UFCW Local 1000A was given a strong mandate to join the team of OFL Officers.
“My job is to make sure that this Federation pulls together! My goal is to unite our labour movement across Ontario and that starts with unity at YOUR OFL,” incoming President Chris Buckley belted out to thunderous applause from delegates. “We owe it to workers today and to our collective future to champion a province-wide campaign to reshape labour laws in the interest of every worker in Ontario.”
Coates, who hails out of OSSTF District 17, cited the current fight between Ontario’s education workers, the province and school boards at a time of cuts to education as a case study in labour unity. “It is only when the fight of any worker becomes the fight of every worker that the labour movement can defend good jobs and strong public services that make our economy work for everyone.”
At 33 years old, newly elected Ahmad Gaied, is the youngest officer in the 58-year history of the Ontario Federation of Labour. “I started work at a No Frills grocery store when I was 17 years old and I got my first experience with the incredible power of the union,” said Gaied. “I am part of the new generation of workers who are facing the most precarious labour market in our country’s history. I am committed to mobilizing youth and young workers to stop Ontario’s race to the bottom.”
Follow OFL 2015 Convention proceedings on social media by following @OFLabour and using the hashtag #OntarioWeWant. Convention materials and details are available atwww.OFL.ca. Follow the new OFL officers on twitter: @ChrisBuckleyOFL @Pattycoates@AhmadGaiedOFL
The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow the OFL on Facebook and Twitter:@OFLabour.