The following is a message from OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas:
We are aware that CSN continues to disregard the advice of public health experts and is holding meetings trying to get you to sign a card by hook or by crook.
Some of you have asked what OPSEU/SEFPO is doing. The answer is simple, we’re being responsible, we’re not playing union politics.
As you know, OPSEU/SEFPO’s leadership and your MERC, PJOHSC and DHS teams worked very hard this Spring to ensure measures were put in place to ensure you could do your jobs as safely as possible. We aren’t going to undermine that work by putting people’s lives at risk by holding public gatherings against the advice of public health.
Most of the CSN representatives and their small number of organizers are from COVID-19 hotspots, either from out of province or from Ontario cities where public health has imposed new restrictions. If one of them becomes infected they could spread the virus in areas where the case numbers are low. If they’re prepared to be that irresponsible and gamble with your lives, why would you trust them to represent you?
There is something else we’re doing at OPSEU/SEFPO. We’re doing our jobs. We’re continuing to have discussions with government remotely every day. They’re the same kind of discussions that produced PPE and protocols for Correctional Institutions to keep you as safe as possible. They’re the same kind of discussions that led to the government announcing 500 new Corrections staff this year. They’re the same kind of discussions that resulted in the government announcing new infrastructure and upgrades to Corrections facilities around the province.
We’re also working on safeguarding our union’s financial health so we can continue to provide the lowest dues of any major union in Canada and also to ensure we are able to maintain the resources to provide the services that you want, like the ability to own your own grievances. We’re also constantly in contact with our pension arm OPTrust, so we’re up to speed on the fantastic work the folks there are doing to make sure your pension plan remains fully funded and is able to weather the global economic turmoil that this pandemic has caused.
The Correctional Bargaining Unit has enriched OPSEU/SEFPO and you’re a valuable part of our family. I’m excited about the future, and you should be too. OPSEU/SEFPO is growing every day and the reason for that is thousands of workers this year alone have approached us because they want to be part of a team always puts the interests of front-line members first. I suggest that everyone in Corrections tune out the background noise you’ve been hearing recently and stay tuned with OPSEU/SEFPO for more positive developments down the road that will make your jobs better.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President, OPSEU/SEFPO