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New national labour leader vows return to 'grassroots' organizing

The candidate who promised a return to the "grassroots organizing and mobilization" necessary to revive the Canadian labour movement has been chosen as its new leader.

Hassan Yussuff was elected president of the Canadian Labour Congress today, beating long-time incumbent Ken Georgetti by a slim 40 votes after a vote at the congress's Montreal convention. Georgetti had led the Congress since 1999.

According to an interview with Rabble last week, Yussuff plans to steer the congress back to more militant organizing that he said once defined the organization.

"[Georgetti] has sat on his hands, and was not prepared to allow any mobilization to happen at the local level," he told Rabble labour reporter H. G. Watson.

Challenging the current federal government's "austerity agenda" as a broad movement is also Yussuff's priority, Rabble reported.

Yussuff was first elected the congress's secretary-treasurer in 2002, after serving as an executive vice-president since 1999.

In his early years as a young Canadian immigrant, he worked as a manufacturer at the CanCar plant in Toronto, where he first became active in the labour movement.

The CLC represents 3.3 million workers within national unions, provincial and territorial labour federations, and district labour councils.

Robyn Smith is an editor at The Tyee.

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