The labour movement must continue to make our voice heard during the COVID-19 pandemic. To that end, the Ontario Federation of Labour’s Power of Many Campaign has created a list of actions that can be done safely while observing physical distancing, but still send a strong message about what we are calling for from the government.
Ontarians are demanding the following:
- Prioritize workers’ health and safety
- Expand eligibility of pandemic premium pay and make it permanent
- Introduce a livable minimum wage immediately with no exceptions
- Provide permanent paid sick days for all workers
- Provide 10 days of job-protected personal emergency leave for all workers
- Eliminate sick note requirements for all workers
- Fix long-term care homes
- Increase hospital funding by at least 5.3 per cent each year
- Ensure access to clean water for all Indigenous communities
- Fund the Anti-Racism Directorate to end xenophobia and racism
- Respect collective agreements and listen to workers
- Provide access to Employment Insurance (EI) for all workers
- Establish a job-protected right to take EI
Below, find a list of safe actions you can take in your home and in your community.
The OFL has also produced a tipsheet on safe protesting under COVID-19.
In-Home Political Action Ideas:
SOLIDARITY PHOTO COLLAGE
Have folks draw, paint or create one letter each in a message, then create a collage that spells out the whole phrase. Post the photo collage to social media and tag @FordNation and @OFLabour. Use the hashtags #FordFailedUs, #PowerOfMany and #OnLab.
How to do it:
- Have folks sign up to take a letter from a message like the one below by selecting the number corresponding with one of the letters.
- Have folks make their letters visually strong and interesting using various colors and textures. Letters should either be dark, contrasting against a light background or light, contrasting against a dark background. Each letter should be upper case capital and fill most of the paper, cardboard, fabric or canvas they are making it on.
- Have folks take a selfie or have someone take their photo with their letter and send it to you to create a digital collage of the photos to spell out the full message.
- Post the final photo collage online and tag @FordNation and @OFLabour and use the hashtags #FordFailedUs, #PowerOfMany and #OnLab.
Conduct an online rally, connecting guest speakers and participants together from within their homes, via zoom which can be livestreamed to Facebook and YouTube. Participants can share who they are and why they are participating along with messages of solidarity in the chat box. The rally MC (aka facilitator) can read some of the comments aloud, lead chants between guest speakers, as is done at real-world rallies. Encourage people to make signs and banners like they would for a live rally and hold them up to their webcams during the rally. The list of demands to use for posters is at the top of this page. Share to social media and tag @FordNation and @OFLabour and use the hashtags #FordFailedUs, #PowerOfMany and #OnLab.
VIRTUAL SIGN MAKING PARTY
Have a virtual sign making party. Invite your friends, neighbours, co-workers, anyone in your networks, to meetup via Zoom, Google Hangouts, Jitsi or some other video conferencing platform to make signs and banners together to hang in your background for when you join an online meeting or rally. The signs can also be hung in your window, from a porch or balcony or displayed on a front lawn. Offer a list of sign message ideas to inspire folks to help them get started and ask folks to hold up their signs to their webcams to show their progress in the making and share ideas with each other. The list of demands to use for posters is at the top of this page. Share to social media and tag @FordNation and @OFLabour and use the hashtags #FordFailedUs, #PowerOfMany and #OnLab.
FORD FAILED US STORIES
Ask people to share their own story about how COVID-19 has affected them and how Doug Ford and the PC Government have failed them during the pandemic. Have them record a video of themselves on their cellphone, webcam or other video recording device, while holding a sign that says ‘Ford Failed Me’ and have them share to social media and tag @FordNation and @OFLabour and use the hashtags #FordFailedUs, #PowerOfMany and #OnLab.
Create signs calling on the government for action on long-term care homes, access to PPE or paid sick days or other demands and post them in your windows. Take a selfie with the sign and share to social media tagging @FordNation and @OFLabour and using the hashtags #FordFailedUs, #PowerOfMany and #OnLab. The list of demands to use for posters is at the top of this page.
Create colouring pages using themes from our list of demands and invite folks to colour them together on Zoom, or another platform and then post them on social media and tag @FordNation and @OFLabour and use the hashtags #FordFailedUs, #PowerOfMany and #OnLab. For inspiration for your colouring page template themes, the list of demands to use for posters is at the top of this page.
A photo challenge can also be a fun and powerful way to get people involved with political action from the safety of their homes. You could ask folks questions like, ‘What does activism mean to you?’, or ‘What does decent work in a post COVID-19 era look like to you?’ and have them answer by way of a photograph. It could be a selfie, or a photo of a sign or object, etc. Then they send the photo to you to post in an online photo gallery. You can even have them send in short descriptions of the photos for the posts. Don’t forget to tag @FordNation and @OFLabour and use the hashtags #FordFailedUs, #PowerOfMany and #OnLab.
Hold an online candlelight vigil by inviting supporters to light a candle and place it in their window, honouring lives that have been lost because of workplace accidents, due to a lack of safety precautions, not having personal protective equipment during COVID-19, or failure to follow COVID-19 protocols in long term care homes. Have participants take a video or photo of their lit candle and post it online and tag @FordNation and @OFLabour and use the hashtags #FordFailedUs, #PowerOfMany and #OnLab.
Stage a virtual protest in front of a digital backdrop of the Ontario Legislative Building at Queen's Park. You could take a selfie in front of the backdrop, or you could get creative and create a crowd scene with what you have around the house, lego people, dolls, action figures, stuffed animals, objects that look like people, holding mini protest signs, banners, flags, etc. and create your protest crowd scene in front of the virtual backdrop of Queen’s Park, then take photos from different angles or even a short video to post online with messages like you would for a real world live action rally. You can use a digital photo of Queen’s Park you or someone else took or search for a photo of Queen’s Park online and make it full screen on your monitor to create the background for your rally crowd photoshoot. Post it online and tag @FordNation and @OFLabour and use the hashtags #FordFailedUs, #PowerOfMany and #OnLab.
Out of Home COVID-19 Safe Political Action Ideas:
Car cavalcades around Queen’s Park or city halls, with posters calling on the government for better access to PPE for workers, a higher minimum wage, paid sick days, protections for migrant workers hung from your car doors, and honk your horns or blast protest songs and solidarity chants from your car windows. Use the hashtags #FordFailedUs and #PowerOfMany on your signs.
An in-car protest is similar to a car-cavalcade, however, instead of driving a certain route or circling around a particular building or neighbourhood, folks gather and park their cars at a particular spot, like in front of a government building or business and honk their horns on mass. Cars can be decorated with signs, flags, etc. with messages stating demands or statements.
Create and print posters with our list of demands for the government and post them around your neighbourhood, hang in your local grocery store or slip in your neighbours' mailboxes. Take a selfie with the poster and post it on social media and tag @FordNation and @OFLabour and use the hashtags #FordFailedUs, #PowerOfMany and #OnLab.
Do banner drops at highway overpasses, bridges, city halls, balconies of buildings, etc. with messages of demands or statements. A banner drop can enable you to get a simple message out in dramatic style to potentially hundreds or thousands of people. Use one or more of the demands listed at the top of this page for posters. Add the hashtags #FordFailedUs and #PowerOfMany to your banner.
Sidewalk chalk messages written on driveways and sidewalks at personal residences, MPP offices, businesses, etc. You can offer up suggestions of message content or image ideas like chalk tombstones, or chalk body outlines, etc. Add the hashtags #FordFailedUs and #PowerOfMany to your chalk message, take a photo of your message and post it on social media tagging @FordNation and @OFLabour.