Court overlooks need to defend charter rights of working people and their
TORONTO, Jan. 24 /CNW/ - Well-known actor and activist Danny Glover has
been convicted, along with UNITE HERE Canadian Co-Director Alex Dagg and
Ontario Federation of Labour President Wayne Samuelson, for trespassing in an
Ontario Provincial Offences Court, after being charged under a rarely used
private prosecution by a Niagara hotel company for entering the hotel during a
union rally in September, 2006.
"It is sad that even though the police acknowledged everyone was well
behaved and did not press charges, a rich and powerful company can pay to go
forward with a private prosecution," said Dagg. "It raises serious questions
for all of us who believe in fairness and equality before the law but it will,
in no way, deter us from continuing to stand up for what is right."
The case against UNITE HERE organizer, Catalina Gonzalez was dismissed
outright and Dagg said UNITE HERE will continue to vigorously defend the
rights of workers in the Niagara region.
"Our union has a proud history of standing up for justice in the
workplace and for establishing those rights through the laws of our land,"
said Dagg. "Today we are reminded that struggle is not over. The rights of
working people - to express themselves and advocate for better working
conditions - is fundamental. We will be reviewing all of our options,
including the possibility of an appeal."
Wayne Samuelson, President of the Ontario Federation agreed.
"I have attended union rallies and gone to speak to employers with labour
problems for decades in this province and I've never seen anything like this,"
said Samuelson. "The Ontario labour movement will not be deterred by this
decision today. It is wrong that those with money can go above the police and
purchase a prosecution in this province and we will stand our ground against
Sentencing will take place on February 8th, 2008. Danny Glover has been
working with UNITE HERE to raise awareness of the issues facing Niagara area
hotel workers who are fighting to improve working conditions.
UNITE HERE represents 50,000 hotel, food service, garment and
manufacturing workers across Canada, and 450,000 across North America.
For further information:
For further information: Wynne Hartviksen, (416) 473-2632