From May 8-11, 2019, Winnipeg unions hosted the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike Centenary Conference: inviting union members, labour activists and leaders from across Canada to reflect on the history for the general strike, and apply its lessons to the present and future of the labour movement.
This episode compiles audio from the disability and labour rights panel.
First, well hear from Dr. Melanie Panitch, Founding Director for the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University, who chaired the panel. She provides historical context for understanding divisions between injured workers, veterans and people with disabilities.
Then John Rae, who has worked on human and disability rights issues for decades within government and labour, explores the struggle to include people with disabilities in the labour movement from the 80s to the present day.
Then Elizabeth Kessler, Winnipeg based community organizer and disability justice writer, well address how the labour movement can better understand invisible disabilities, and fight for those who are not able to work full time or at all.
Closing out, we will hear from Allen Mankewich, who currently works at Winnipeg’s Independent Living Resource Centre and has been involved in many local campaigns and organizing, discusses how the charity model puts limitations on people with disabilities being able to organize and connect with the labour movement.
The presentations in this episode have been edited and and condensed for time, but the full length panel will be available on Soundcloud shortly.