Workers at a London, Ont. agency that helps immigrants to Canada and refugees settle in the community have voted overwhelmingly to join Unifor.
“This campaign was all-electronic, and really shows the power and reach of online organizing,” Unifor National President Jerry Dias said.
The 80 workers at the London Cross Cultural Learner Centre (LCCLC) voted online from July 10 to 13, after having signed enough online memberships cards in the weeks before to prompt the Ontario Labour Relations Board to call the vote.
Throughout those weeks, Unifor organizers met with the workers at the centre via Zoom, and communicated with them through group emails and phone calls.
“Before the pandemic, we would meet in person with as many workers as possible. We’d hold group meetings, meet in coffee shops or go to their homes. We’d even bring leaflets to the workplace to hand out,” Unifor Organizing Director Kellie Scanlan said.
“The pandemic made all of that impossible, however, so we had to get creative.”
Unifor has several organizing drives on the go across Canadas using the same online and electronic tools as were successful at LCCLC.
“This is a breakthrough in the world of organizing. We are learning new methods that will continue to be useful even after the pandemic is over,” Scanlan said.
The workers at the not-for-profit LCCLC provide integration services and support to newcomers, as well as promote intercultural awareness and understanding. The centre has multiple programs and services to support immigrants and refugees in the community
Also recently, the Canada Industrial Relations Board ruled that 16 workers at NewsTalk 1010 radio station in Toronto are certified as members of Unifor.