A large number of OPSEU delegates participated in the Ontario Federation of Labour’s “Day of Action” rally on April 21, 2012. The Queen‘s Park rally gave voice to key principles promoted by OPSEU and many progressive groups. Quality public services; an end to income inequality; prosperity not austerity; strong pensions and a comprehensive industrial policy were rally themes.
The rally contributed to the work of NDP leader Andrea Horwath, whose commitments to uphold OPSEU’s position on the tax fairness debate produced results in reshaping the proposed Ontario budget.
The results were clear. Together with union support, her steadfastness gave way to a buckling in the Liberals’ budget stronghold points. Added support was outlined in the budget for specific groups receiving social assistance, a 2% surtax was applied to Ontario’s richest citizens, and a commitment was added to create “good jobs for all”.
Paving the way for this success, however, was the hard work of our members and other union members, community organizations, and OFL affiliates. The rally on April 21, 2012 exemplified this hard work, seeing thousands of demonstrators descend upon Queen’s Park to voice their discontent. Several local news outlets were present to report on the happenings, as music, chanting, and speeches filled the afternoon air.
Amid the lineup of speakers that day, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas lent his voice to the cause. Smokey’s presence, mere hours after adjournment of the OPSEU Convention, spoke to his commitment to OPSEU’s new “Action Plan”: to collaborate with fellow unions and community groups in order to achieve our shared goals and remain politically active. With this kind of dedication the threat of growing income inequality, the enduring importance of quality public services, and the preservation of pensions and meaningful employment will remain at the forefront in public discussion and the government agenda.
Congratulations go to all people who attended last Saturday’s “Day of Action” rally. This effort has clearly made a meaningful impact on the budget. It sets the stage for coordinated actions that will promote progressive public policies in coming months.
Proof positive — United We Win!