As the snowstorm raged around them, OPSEU"s Provincial Young Workers Committee (PYC) and their supporters joined with the Workers" Action Centre for a holiday action on Saturday Dec. 14, calling for peace, justice and a $14 minimum wage.
Decked out in winter toques and reindeer antlers, PYC members Tim Elphick (Region 2), Wesley Killman (Region 5), and Amanda Montague (Region 3) handed out cups of hot chocolate to passersby outside Toronto"s Eaton Centre and
encouraged people to sign the campaign"s petition and
holiday cards to the Premier.
A holiday-appropriate message designed by the PYC was printed on the cups: Peace, prosperity and a $14 minimum wage. All told,Tim, Amanda and Wesley handed out what amounted to close to 50 gallons of hot chocolate throughout the two-hour event, which they had mixed themselves earlier that morning. The majority of people they spoke to supported increasing the minimum wage. People understand that it"s impossible to pay the rent, buy groceries and raise a family on poverty-level wages.
PYC Region 5 member Wesley Killman spoke at the rally which closed the event.
"All of us here today have experienced what it is like to be frozen for a couple of hours, but minimum wage earners in this province have been left out in the cold for the past three years," Killman said. "It"s time to bring them out of the cold and raise the minimum wage."
An increase to $14 an hour would bring minimum wage-earners and their families 10 per cent above the poverty line.
The PYC members were joined by Region 5 Executive Board members Myles Magner, Edie Strachan and Ibrahim Bozai, Region 3 Executive Board Board member and PYC liaison Sean Platt, Provincial Human Rights Committee Chair Marco Costa and several Region 5 activists who have been strong supporters of the campaign to raise the minimum wage. Congratulations to the PYC for their weeks of preparation — the falling snow and biting wind was no match for their perfectly-executed organization – and Region 5 for their support and advocacy of this cause.
Listen to OPSEU"s PYC activist, Wesley Killman, in this interview on CFRA News Talk Radio, Ottawa
Photocredits: OPSEU Executive Board Member, Edie Strachan, Journalist John Bonnar, and the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage