This has been a hot labour summer, continuing on through the fall. Workers across Canada and the US have been flexing our muscles against bosses and governments who want us to accept working conditions, wages, and benefits well below what we deserve, and well below record-high inflation.
And workers are winning.
So how do workers win meaningful victories in the face of big challenges? By actively engaging all members. A handful of members can make a difference. But when the vast majority of workers collectively demand change, they become an unstoppable force.
Wins are the direct result of workers organizing together, of building our power within our locals, our unions, and our communities. This organizing work is something that we haven’t always encouraged in OPSEU/SEFPO. But our members have said loud and clear that we need to build these skills, and exercise our collective strength. We don’t want to leave any of our power on the bargaining table: we want to work together to fight and win.
That’s what we are committed to doing in OPSEU/SEFPO: organizing to win. At our Executive Board, we passed changes that allow teams to build bargaining power, to communicate openly and regularly with members, to train teams and staff in strategies and tactics that work. All this so that all bargaining teams know they have the full support of the 180,000 members of OPSEU/SEFPO, and that their voices—worker voices—are what matter most at the bargaining table. Employers must listen to workers; we know best what we need to do our work, and we know our worth. We are committed to ensuring that bargaining teams are supported in their fight for better contracts for all.
Workers collectively bargain to make real improvements in our lives. The challenges facing public sector workers are growing every day. The Ford Government has shamefully underfunded public services, leaving communities vulnerable and OPSEU/SEFPO members stressed out, overworked, and underpaid. Small wage gains, especially when they do not keep up with the rising cost of living, just aren’t enough anymore. We need to fight for real change.
Together, we are making that change. Keep your eye on this space for updates on bargaining: specific bargaining news and updates, as well as word on changes to our structures and processes to help build bargaining power. As the Provincial Young Workers Committee reminded us in their recent educational, Solidarity is a Verb! It is the source of our power. Every action we take, every decision we make, is with the goal of building that solidarity.
JP Hornick and Laurie Nancekivell