CUPE Local 5167 is proud to endorse our Outside Unit Vice President Barry Conway for the position of President of the OFL at this Novembers convention. Barry will be running along side Kurt Young who is seeking the position of Executive Vice President of the OFL.
Barry has been an active member of our local since he became full time with the City of Hamilton over ten years ago. He was a shop floor steward and our sergeant at arms before being elected as the Outside Unit VP, where he looks after roughly 500 members.
It wasn’t hard as a local to endorse Barry, he’s active on the shop floor as well as on the streets of our community. Folks have shared stories of Barry at our membership meetings of how they went to another locals picket lines and everyone knew who Barry was, that he was well respected amongst the labour community. That respect didn’t come overnight. Barry was quite the vocal union steward always taking management to task and keeping members informed of their rights. When the City of Hamilton wrongfully terminated 30 of our roads members Barry was instrumental at building rank and file support for them, we happily now own a button maker! Barry passed a motion that led to running a fundraiser for everyone and ensuring they knew they were part of a family, part of a union. He continues to this day to make sure everyone knows they are part of something larger.
This commitment extends past our local though as well. Barry is currently the Second Vice President of the Hamilton and District Labour Council, where he works and networks with other unions and community groups. Hamilton has been facing overwhelming income inequality and we are seeing a City that is fighting in back! In 2018 there was a Rent Strike in the East End of Hamilton. Barry attended many functions of theirs and pulled our local into supporting them. During the 2018 Labour Day Parade the folks of the Rent Strike were invited to march in the parade as guests which puts them at the back of the parade, while striking workers lead the parade. What is struggle? What is a strike? In hopes of redefining these within the labour movement, Barry ran up and down the parade asking rank and file members to wait before entering the park where the parade ended. Many did and gathered so that they could line the streets for when the Rent Strikers arrived, allowing them to lead workers into the park, redefining what it is to strike within the labour community.
Our struggles extend outside the workplace, into our homes and into our social lives. We need leadership that understands the politics of workers, politics of power relations, and politics of our communities. We know Barry has the best interest of all workers at heart and the best interest of every single person who wakes up everyday and feels the struggle. We can build something together and we can elect new leaders such as Barry and Kurt.
We wish him the best at convention and encourage folks to check out the WAM team for OFL.
CUPE Local 5167