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Seaway News: International Women’s Day Breakfast - ACORN Canada
Ottawa ACORN at International Women's Day breakfast in Cornwall

Seaway News: International Women’s Day Breakfast

Posted March 5, 2013

Ottawa ACORN at International Women's Day breakfast in CornwallCORNWALL, Ontario – The Cornwall and District Labour Council hosted its annual International Women’s Day breakfast on Saturday, at the Best Western Parkway Inn.

Approximately 75 members of local labour unions and community activists attended. International Women’s Day was established in 1912 when a group of factory workers decided they’d had enough of low wages, no benefits and terrible working conditions, explained Elaine MacDonald, president of the labour council.

World-wide, 100,000 people took to the streets.

“Every year on that date, we measure how far we’ve come in terms of the things those women struck for.”

But in the last two years, she said, women have lost ground in terms of pension rights because of changes to the pension system.

“Everyone has, but women in particular because they’re working for lower wages; CPP is lower. So in some ways we’ve gone backward.”

Guest speakers for the event were representatives of Ottawa ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) – an international, national, provincial and municipal organization to empower and help organize low and moderate income people.

“We do campaigns geared towards improving and empowering people to use their voice,” said Michelle Walrond, ACORN activist.

Walrond announced that the group is presently starting a campaign to increase the provincial minimum wage to 14 dollars per hour.

“If you are living in Ottawa for less,” she said, “you do not have enough money for the most basic necessities of life.”

“It’s not right that some people work 40 hours a week and still have to go to the food bank, while the company’s CEO sits behind a desk and makes enough money for that (employee’s) neighbourhood to live off of. It’s not fair.”

As important to the eradication of poverty, she said there has to be a change the in culture, “by honouring and valuing the work that people do, and their contributions, including volunteers, students and seniors.” Walrond stressed the importance of unity among community groups, such as the labour council.

“To be successful in solidarity, we have to stand up for our principles and our needs with one voice.”

The United Nations formally proclaimed March 8, International Women’s Day in 1975.