2016—2017 · V. 44 No. 3



Building young workers' power

CLC Youth Summit

The CLC Youth Summit took place from October 23–25 at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa. This passionate event, with over 400 young workers from across Canada, began with a panel of young worker leaders. I was inspired by the composition of the panel, which included Sandra Hudson from Black Lives Matter and Pablo Godoy from UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers). The discussion emphasized that young workers are not only the future, but the NOW. It was recommended that young workers run for leadership positions in our union and challenge any current structures that might limit their participation.

I attended “Aging Out,” “Master of Toast,” “If not you, then who” workshops. Much of the information was presented to engage and inspire new activists to acquire skills and become more effective young leaders. The workshop that was most useful to me personally was “Master of Toast,” where I was able to brush up on my public speaking skills in front of a crowd.

As I am sure most Canadians have heard, Trudeau’s controversial visit to the Summit was met with both interest and protest. What I found interesting about this was the divide in the room which, in my opinion, reflected a divide in the activism generally. There were those young workers who believed we should use the space to ask key questions to Trudeau, and there were those who were tired of his responses and who wanted to exert more pressure through a peaceful demonstration. Regardless of where everyone stood, the message I take back is the importance of solidarity between those two tactics, and the need for both to be employed in different contexts.

Overall, the networking was perhaps the best part of this summit. Because of my own personal experience with community leadership, I found the workshops useful, however I gained a lot from the amazing opportunities to learn from others and further learn about the Labour movement. This Summit has invigorated and inspired me to get more involved within the boarder labour movement, and I look forward to building on the relationships and solidarity that I started in Ottawa.

/Derik Chica is a member of District 12, Toronto, and member of the provincial Human Rights Committee.

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