Hamilton's public transit union local, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 107, is holding a "Public Power, Public Transit" rally at Hamilton City Hall starting at 6:30pm.
They are not going cheap on this one either, having invested in much online and old media advertising. They are offering a contest for participants in tonight's really to win PRESTO cards.
They've even brought a projector to City Hall, I'm impressed.
Officially, the rally is to mark the 110th anniversary of the pivotal HSR Strike of 1906 which saw the actual army deployed to Hamilton to deal with strikers, the reading of the Riot Act, and a riot the likes of which Hamilton had not seen before and hasn't seen since.
The ATU is demanding that Hamilton's planned LRT be operated by the HSR and ATU 107 members, and that Hydro remain a public utility.
Credit: Hamilton Public Library Photo
(I'll briefly observe the rally before going to ChangeCamp at McMaster tonight)
I'll give a crowd estimate of about 500 people when I took in the rally for a few minutes around 6:45 p.m.
ATU President Eric Tuck played a video of the history of the HSR, past failed privatizations of public services, and called for the public to mobilize to keep Hydro in public hands, ensure the HSR is operating the new LRT line, and to make sure the LRT line is not turned into a P3.
The video was well produced, and the use of the side of City Council Chambers to display the video was smart - it's the first time I've seen that.
(Also, the Steelworkers provided the sound system as they often do)
If Labour is going to regain its voice in public discourse, the time is now - hydro, and Labour's past in making Hydro public nearly 100 years ago, is an issue that is a shared concern for both union and non-union alike.