Part of the big labour movement that campaigned hard to keep Tim Hudak out of the Premier's office this spring has set its sights on a new political target: Toronto City Hall.
Speaking on Newstalk 1010's Mark Towhey Show Sunday, Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan revealed the group is re-purposing its war room to help elect Olivia Chow mayor.
The OFL, an umbrella group that counts unions like Unifor, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) among its affiliates, spent $60, 000 in its anti-Hudak campaign. That does not include any cash spent independently by member unions.
While Ryan has helped run campaigns for 30 odd years, the OFL had never mounted one quite like the push that began even before the June election.
"Before, we didn't have the co-ordination of all of the unions," explains Ryan. "So this time, we brought them together, hired (research firm) EKOS and were doing daily tracking and polling."
The OFL spent early 2014 preparing literature to fill members in on the threat it believes Hudak represented to workers. A boardroom at the federation's office was set aside as a kind of campaign headquarters, the walls covered with schedules and possible slogans. The OFL eventually settled on "Stop Hudak", a message Ryan took on the road with a 16-stop tour and spread even further with the help of twitter.
After the writ was dropped in the provincial race, OFL had EKOS bringing new stats in every 2-3 days to identify vulnerable areas for the Progressive Conservatives and attack.
Ryan would not say Sunday exactly how the OFL war room will be used to help Olivia Chow or how many dollars would be invested. But he says on election day they will have "an awful lot" of people helping get out the vote October 27.
After that, the OFL will focus on bringing down the Harper government in next year's federal election set for October 19, 2015.