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BPS Conference 2013 Review

BPS Conference 2013 Review

We the North
We the North
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2013 BPS conference tackles issues of austerity

More than 600 delegates, alternates and observers attended this past weekend's Broader Public Sector conference and divisional meetings where they were told that the battle against the government's austerity agenda and attacks on working families is far from over.

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"For too many working families — and many of you see this in your day-to-day work — the Recession is not over," OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas told the opening plenary session on June 21 in his prepared statement. "Too many workers — and too many young people — are either unemployed or underemployed.

Conference Group

"Whatever economic recovery the economists crow about is bypassing too many workers. They (the economists) see 'economic recovery' by the number of low-paying, no-benefit jobs that are created in the retail service sector."

Author and journalist Linda McQuaig delivered the plenary's key note address. That was followed by a panel discussion on the question of "What austerity means to me." Panelists included McQuaig, NUPGE Secretary-Treasurer Larry Brown, Deena Ladd, of the Workers Action Centre, and Rick Janson, an OPSEU campaigns officer who specializes in health care issues.

Later in the day OPSEU pension and benefits officer Diana Clarke addressed the question: "Pensions: Myths and Facts." She was followed by OPSEU political economist Randy Robinson who tackled the issue "Understanding Austerity."

June 22-23 were reserved for sector and divisional meetings, including elections for 2013-2015 divisional executives. A full list of election results will be posted shortly to the OPSEU website.