Kingston in Hard Times


The Kingston Workers’ History Project held its first meeting as a “fringe” event for a CEIU/PSAC convention held in Kingston. We filled the second floor of the RCHA Club with about 15 CEIU members, as well as Kingston & District Labour Council executive members, and Kingston labour’s friends at Raven Law. Attendence was 30.

After an introduction by Kingston & District Labour Council president Chris Snooks, Doug Nesbitt presented two local stories of “Kingston in Hard Times” – the 1933 unemployed invasion of City Hall, and the local battles against the Common Sense Revolution in the 1990s.

The discussion and questions that followed was excellent and very thought-provoking, and the cheering of achievements and booing of opponents was a great sign that everyone was engaged. In the discussion, there were great connections made between the Harris years and the current Ford and Trudeau years.

Now that the Kingston Workers’ History Project is up and running and public, we will be planning out our first open public meeting at a future date. We hope to continue with this level of enthusiastic participation and conversations. It isn’t often we get to reflect on our history and the lessons we can draw for today.

Special thanks to Sean McNeill for suggesting this event and bringing out CEIU members. It was great to have in attendance Crystal Warner, a CEIU union leader, who is also doing plenty of historical research into her union. Thank you John Rose and Cameron Willis for their event organizing efforts, Raven Law for their generous support, and our bartender Chris for putting up with us!

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