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PRESIDENT'S
MESSAGE

Warren (Smokey) Thomas in a blue suit standing at a podiu

With freedom comes responsibility. The simple saying has taken on a whole new meaning during the COVID-19 crisis, as public health officials continue to stress the importance of getting vaccinated. You’ve likely heard some folks talking about freedom – many of them on American television, but with plenty here in Canada too. There’s always one thing……

Warren (Smokey) Thomas in a blue suit standing at a podiu

Educate. Agitate. Organize. It was the mantra of the labour movement during the days when I cut my union teeth on direct action, wrapped mostly in creating chaos and confrontation. I was young, eager and more than a little belligerent. In other words, an activist for the times. And what a time it was. Pre-dating……

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas

I remember it like it was yesterday – Ontario’s public sector workers standing strong to proclaim those four famous words: no justice, no peace. It’s simple and it still holds true today. This year marks 25 years since 55,000 OPSEU/SEFPO members working in the Ontario Public Sector (OPS) walked off the job and onto the……

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas

Friends, As we head into the Family Day weekend, please spare a thought for all of our friends, neighbours and their families who have lost so much during this pandemic. More than 6,000 families are grieving the loss of loved ones. Sadly, that includes the family of Connie Cerdan, an OPSEU/SEFPO Local 597 member who……

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas

Saying our hospitals are “on the brink of collapse,” the Premier has declared the second state of emergency in less than a year. Our province is in crisis. But we can’t make the mistake of thinking this is just a health crisis. Or that the crisis will be solved once we’re all vaccinated. Neither is……

Smokey Thomas

Friends, As we approach the end of an extremely challenging year, we want to say thank you to all of our hardworking members for your courageous dedication to the people of Ontario. Many of you took, and continue to take, huge risks serving on the front lines of this pandemic. You deserve all the respect……

Warren (Smokey) Thomas in a blue suit standing at a podiu

Every week, I watch the death toll climb in long-term care. And every week, I watch in disbelief as our politicians act like all these tragedies are some kind of mystery. There’s nothing mysterious about it. But there is something very wrong: the willingness of some to put profits before people. As far as I’m……

Warren (Smokey) Thomas in a blue suit standing at a podiu

Friends,   Did you watch the U.S. Presidential debate earlier this week?   I watched it. But I wish I hadn’t.   While the world grapples with the biggest public health crisis we’ve faced in a century, the millions of us who tuned in had to endure one of the saddest displays of “leadership” I have ever seen.  ……

Warren (Smokey) Thomas in a blue suit standing at a podiu

Labour Day 2020 certainly looks different than any I’ve seen in my 30 plus years with OPSEU. Usually, we’d gather in-person to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions of Ontario’s workers. This year, we’re showing our solidarity from a distance.    For many Ontarians, Labour Day 2020 comes with a newfound, deep level of gratitude for……

Warren (Smokey) Thomas in a blue suit standing at a podiu

First of all, I’m hoping all of you in our OPSEU family are able to take some well-deserved time off to relax and enjoy the long days and warm temperatures with your family and friends.   This may be the eye of the storm in what has been an unprecedented year so far, unlike anything……

Smokey thomas

Millions of Black people around the world, face discrimination because of their colour of their skin. We often celebrate Canada as a multicultural country. But that doesn’t mean that racial discrimination doesn’t live here. That doesn’t mean that systemic racism isn’t in every workplace, and in every sector.  That doesn’t mean that Black people in……

Smokey thomas

Friends, I’ve always said that polls are like elevators – sometimes they go up, and sometimes they go down. But the results of a poll that OPSEU commissioned last month are unlike any that I’ve ever seen in my 40 years as a union activist. Our poll, and others out there right now, are telling……

Smokey Thomas

Imagine life after the pandemic. We realize how impossible that might seem. Right now, most of us are just focused on the day-by-day, hour-by-hour, even minute-by-minute.   How can I make sure I have the protective equipment I need for tomorrow’s shift? What can I do to keep my kid busy during the next Zoom……

Smokey thomas

In the face of COVID-19, we are strong. We are OPSEU strong. And we are Ontario strong.  We have a simple message to each and every worker who continues to do critical work – in both the public and private sector – thank you. Thank you for every sacrifice you’re making and every risk you’re……

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas writing

Most people dream of flying south this time of year. But earlier this winter, I flew west — straight into the teeth of the cold Saskatchewan winter. I booked my plane ticket when I heard that more than a dozen Unifor members, including their National President Jerry Dias, had been arrested and charged while walking……

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