Danny Glover, of Lethal Weapon fame, smiles and waves at gawkers as he makes the rounds of the Rogers Centre, trying to make the most of his half-hour deke out of the Film Festival September 11.
Dressed in suede boots, white pants, a black button-up jacket and a brown Kangol hat, he's a bit spiffy for the ball game. But he's not here promoting his latest flick, Poor Boy's Game. Instead, he's temporarily ditching canapés for the class struggle, bolstering a Unite Here campaign to unionize concession stand workers.
Union organizers say workers at the Rogers Centre make $5 an hour less than peers at unionized arenas in the city. Concession work at the stadium is contracted out to an American company, Sportservice, and activists hope to see the Centre's owners step in to help.
"What is the Rogers Centre without these workers?" Glover asks. "It's an empty vessel."
If you ask him why he's doing this, he talks about his mother and father, both union-loyal U.S. postal workers. Press him a bit harder and he launches into a passionate sermon - lasting more than three and a half minutes - about the need for service workers to be paid "a living wage."
"They expect to be treated fairly, they expect to be treated honourably, and they expect to be treated with fair pay and benefits," he says.
Soon he's gone, off to an after-party for his film, a drama directed by T.O. filmmaker Clément Virgo.
He'll be back north of the border soon, though. Glover was charged with trespassing last year while participating in a Unite Here protest in Niagara Falls. Next month he'll appear in an Ontario court to defend himself.