On this 25th anniversary of the historic shutdown and subsequent demonstration by close to a quarter million people, Local 793 celebrates Metro Days of Action on October 25 and 26.

On those two days in 1996, workers, trade unionists and social groups in Metro Toronto organized a series of local disruptions and protests against the harsh new policies of Mike Harris’ Conservative government, leading to a city-wide general strike on October 25 and a mass rally on October 26.

More than 300 picket sites went up around Metro Toronto and thousands stayed off their jobs. Local 793 and other building and construction trade unions helped organize the many marches, picketing and demonstrations that helped shut Toronto down.

The pinnacle of the second day of protest was a massive march to the Ontario Legislature that was attended by hundreds of thousands of protesters. It is estimated that up to 300,000 people were in attendance, creating one of the biggest demonstrations ever seen in Ontario.

The Days of Action was instrumental in removing the Progressive Conservative party. In 2003, the Tory’s lost the federal election and the Liberal government came into power for the next 18 years, restoring fairness and balance in labour relations to the province.

In the photo above: Local 793 Business Manager Mike Gallagher and union members participated in the Days of Action protests against the Harris government in 1996. The highlight of the protest in Toronto was a massive march by thousands to the Ontario Legislature.

In the photo above: Local 793 Business Manager Mike Gallagher and President Joe Redshaw along with other members took part in a two-day protest in downtown Hamilton as part of the Days of Action protests.