Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

November 25, 2009 18:52 ET

Sid Ryan Elected President of Ontario Federation of Labour

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 25, 2009) - Labour unity is the order of the day at the OFL convention where 1,000 delegates unanimously chose their new leadership team today.

Longtime CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan is the OFL president-elect, replacing Wayne Samuelson who, after 12 years in office, decided not to seek re-election.

Ryan campaigned on a three-plank platform of a new economy, labour unity, and social solidarity.

He has pledged to:

- bring together policy experts, economists, academics and labour unions to develop a progressive strategy for the new economy;

- end divisions to build a strong and united labour front working in solidarity with community partners;

- convene a Social Solidarity Roundtable and develop research studies to influence public policy on key issues including, social housing, public child care, free post-secondary education and the expansion of community/union health clinics.

Steelworker Marie Kelly who was acclaimed to the position of secretary-treasurer will take over from Irene Harris, who has also been in OFL office for 12 years, the first eight as executive vice-president.

Re-elected to the executive vice-president's office is Terry Downey, who was an OPSEU executive board member and regional vice-president before her first OFL term in 2005.

"This is a talented and dedicated team," says Samuelson. "Once these three announced their candidacy, it didn't take long for a consensus to develop that they were the right people for the job."

Delegates clearly welcomed the leadership team's message of unity and commitment to building a new economy that serves the needs of working people, their families, and communities.

In his acceptance speech, Ryan described how he has been shaped by his working class upbringing in Ireland and his experience in Canada with the Steelworkers union and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The president of CUPE Ontario for the past 17 years reserved special mention for the guidance he received from his father: "He said to us, 'Have the courage of your convictions and never be afraid to stand up and be counted'. And those words ring in my ears to this day."

Coverage and video: www.ofl2009.ca

Contact Information

  • OFL
    Wayne Samuelson
    Sid Ryan, president, CUPE Ontario
    President-elect, OFL