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Fairness Express has action-packed week in Region 1

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Fairness Express Tour – Week 3

The third week of the Fairness Express tour proved to be an action packed journey through Region 1. From May 20 to 26, the big green bus made stops in Stratford, London, Windsor, Grand Bend, Chatham and Goderich.

The week’s first stop was in rainy Stratford where the bus and its team of Region 1 activists went to the Stratford Festival to chat with excited theatre-goers about income inequality and tax fairness.

The following day, the bus travelled to nearby London to mingle with hundreds of hockey fans outside Budweiser Gardens. The entire downtown core was alive with activity, as London was host to the annual Memorial Cup tournament. The bus also made stops at the London Courthouse and beautiful Victoria Park.

On May 21, the Fairness Express hit the road for a day at the Windsor waterfront. The bus was given a prime location on the boardwalk to set up its tents, popcorn and cotton candy and chat with locals about the impact of growing income inequality in their community.

Windsor is one of Canada’s major auto manufacturing centres. But, it is no secret that the manufacturing sector is in decline in Ontario and this development has had a significant impact on the city of Windsor.

“Too many people are on the outside looking in for jobs in this community” said one local resident “I am a welder and I cannot find steady work here in Windsor. Lately, I have been thinking about relocating to Alberta. I have been in contact with a few employers out there. The prospects are better.”

The following day, the big green bus journeyed up to Grand Bend for a day at the beach. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperative and after a couple hours in the rain, the bus relocated to Chatham for the town’s annual parade of classic and antique cars. The parade served as the kickoff for Retrofest, Chatham’s annual celebration of classic cars and automobile culture.

The next morning, the Fairness Express crew set up in the centre of Retrofest at Tecumseh Park in downtown Chatham. Each year, the event attracts hundreds of car enthusiasts from all over the Canada and the United States.

Throughout the day, the team had many conversations with local folks about tax fairness, good jobs, public services and labour rights. OPSEU activist, and Fairness Express star engager, Jennifer Ganley spoke with dozens of local residents, including several OPSEU members who stopped by to see what the Fairness Express was all about.

“Many people stop to talk, because they want to tell their story. They want to know that somebody is on their side” said Jennifer.

On May 25, the Fairness Express returned to London to spend the day at the Gibraltar Weekend Market. The market has been a staple of the community since 1991, and is a combination farmers’ market and flea market.

The following day, the bus trekked to scenic Goderich on the shores of Lake Huron. This visit included stops in the town square and the beach. While at the beach, the team had a conversation with a local OPSEU member who works at the Stratford Jail. She was happy to talk with the team and a little surprised to see the big green bus in her small community.

Beginning May 27, the big green bus will be in Region 3. If you are in the area, please be sure to come down and join the bus!

May 27 – Peterborough
Demonstration at Private Health Clinic (Medical Drive and Hospital Drive)
10:00 am to 11:00 am

May 27 – Peterborough
Marina Waterfront
1:30 pm to 7:00 pm

May 28 – Orillia
Webers Hamburgers
10:30 am to 11:30 am

May 28 – Orillia
Waterfront (Front Street)
12:30 pm to 4:30 pm

May 29 – Peterborough
Riverview Park Zoo
9:30 am to 3:30 pm

May 29 – Peterborough
Peterborough Memorial Centre
5:30 pm to 8:00 pm

May 30 – Haliburton
Main Street
11:00 am to 4:00 pm

May 31 – Parry Sound
Shell Station (1 Pine Drive)
12:00 pm to 3:00 pm

June 1 – Clarington
Home Show (Newcastle Memorial Arena)
10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Meet the Activists

Len Elliott is an executive board member for Region 1 and a health and safety inspector for the Ministry of Labour in London. He has been an OPSEU member for more than 9 years.

Lisa Fewster is president of Local 166 and works at Community Living in London. She is first vice-president of the London Area Council and is an executive for the local labour council. Lisa has been a dedicated labour activist for 14 years.

Jennifer Ganley is secretary for Local 148 and has worked at Community Living in Chatham-Kent for 26 years. She has been active in the union since 2007. Her favourite colour is green.

Julie McGuffin is a member from Local 102 and a resident of London.