TORONTO - It was a special day to commemorate the men (mostly) and women whose hard work – literally – built southern Ontario, spearheaded the Union Movement, strengthened the trades unions in particular, and laid the groundwork for labour and workplace legislation that has made Ontario a great place to business and to seek a better future.
Several locals from across the province sent representatives – Hamilton, Ottawa for example – to join their “brethren” from the Toronto area, locals 183 and 506. Given their age, the majority of the pensioners present, and their spouses, were of Italian origin, with a sprinkling of Portuguese.
Lui Castaldo, the President of the Pensioners’ Association, formerly of local 793, the International Union of Operating Engineers, said “we are about 8,000 in number; obviously we will grow as the other active members in Liuna approach retirement…” However, that discussion would take us into a direction involving heavier issues related to demographics, training and immigration. Friday was not intended to be a forum for those issues.
Rather, it was precisely what it was intended: a fun day to kick-off family appreciation weekend, with food, drink, old friends and memories.