Conditions were right for a good Labour Day parade and celebration in Windsor, on Monday, September 4th. A beautiful sunny day, no rain clouds in sight, and no, it wasn’t a smog day in the automotive capital of Canada.
Several thousands of people from all kinds of unions and community groups showed up, which is what one would expect in this strong union town. The organizers from the Windsor district Labour Council were pleased, because they spend almost the whole year organizing this family-oriented event, with the parade as the focal point.
But yes! there is something wrong in this picture. Only five participants represented the Canadian Media Guild. Two of those present are active Guild members, Gino Conte and Gerard Malo. Percy Hatfield participated as a retired CBC-TV reporter. (He’s now running for a Windsor City council seat.) The final participants were Gerard’s two sons, Sasha and Mathieu, who carried the CMG flag.
It would be an understatement to say that the CMG turnout was “disappointing.” We figured there should have been at least ten or 12 of us there. Just think that last year, (yes, we were then locked out) there where at least 30 of us, and we were at the head of the parade.
But only 2 active members this year? What happened? But hey! It’s not so bad in Windsor; the Guild has more than 2,500 members in Toronto, and we understand that only around 25 showed up this year for that city’s Labour Day parade.
Across the country, and especially here in Windsor, the labour movement bent over backwards to support Guild members who were locked out last year at CBC-Radio-Canada. Sure, they supported us because they support public broadcasting. But they also recognized, perhaps better than many of us do, that, at the end of the day, we are workers just like “those people.”
The Labour day parade, took only 2 hours of our time that morning of September 4th. Two hours of the only day we have each year to give thanks for the support of others, and also to show our support for other working stiffs like us. So, Guild members, what’s it gonna take to have you come to the Labour Day parade next year? A simple reminder, or a couple of free beer tickets? Not that beer is a bad thing. But what about commitment?
Gino Conte is a radio municipal reporter at CBC and G