|Proudly Helping Union Families Since 2004
|110 bags of groceries and $14,164.08 in
cash donations were raised for our 219 Brothers
and Sisters of
CEP 37x Timmins
IAMAW 2243 Toronto
COPE 343 Hamilton
|Unions deliver holiday support;
Operation Christmas Cheer for locked out Grant
|Chelsey Romain / The Daily Press
Local News - Saturday, December 16, 2006 @ 10:00
Grant Forest Product employees received an early Christmas present and support from fellow
union members around the province Friday.
Cassandra Robinson, who founded Operation Christmas Cheer, arrived in Timmins earlier in the
week. She and her husband had driven from Ottawa with two truckloads of food and vouchers for
the Grant Forest workers, who were locked out in September.
Robinson started Operation Christmas Cheer three years ago as a way to support her brothers and
sisters, who were spending their holidays picketing.
"I saw a need to help people on the picket lines during Christmas," said Robinson. "To bring a
smile to their face and to let them know they are not forgotten."
Robinson brought a bag of food for each of the employees locked out in addition to a $50 grocery
voucher for No Frills, promising more to come.
"It's enough to make sure you have a traditional Christmas dinner with your family," Robinson told
employees. "That's the last thing we want you to worry about at Christmas."
A month ago, Robinson sent letters to organized labour unions across the province to come to the
aid of the employees of Communications, Energy and Paper Workers union local 37X and support
them as they continue to picket nearly 100 days after being locked out.
The call for help resulted in 110 bags of food and $9,800 in donations, with items continuing to
be collected up to the new year. "This means a lot," said local 37X president Marcel Touchette,
who said he was both shocked and pleased to hear Robinson wanted to help. "The members of this
local are going to appreciate this very, very much."
Also on hand for the presentation were MPP Gilles Bisson (NDP - Timmins-James Bay) and MP
Charlie Angus (NDP - Timmins-James Bay), who came with words of encouragement and even a few
"People like Peter Grant are taking advantage of the forest industry crisis," said Angus.
"Personally, I'm pretty pissed off that you guys have to be out here at Christmas."
In addition to local 37X, Operation Christmas Cheer is helping two other picketing unions - one in
Toronto where 45 members are on strike, and one in Hamilton, where 70 women are without
work this holiday season.
"This is just the beginning; , it's going to be a long winter," said Robinson. "You are all an
inspiration to everyone across Ontario and Canada. "I'm very proud to be a sister up here and
you're all in our prayers."
Canadian Auto Workers Local 599 also made a donation of $1,000 to the group, as and presented
more than $200 that was raised during September's Labour Day in the Park event.
Members were also informed that those with children under 12 will be receiving a present from
the Salvation Army, to add extra cheer this Christmas season.