The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to most of Ontario. And just as the second wave hits and we prepare for next steps, it’s nice to have a good-news story to report on. Yes, OPSEU/SEFPO continues to hum along in ways you might not expect. OPSEU/SEFPO members continue to do their vital work of providing public services to Ontario, OPSEU/SEFPO staff continue to serve the union’s 170,000 members, ensuring job security and safety from the virus. But there are some other workers that have been quietly going about their business through the pandemic, OPSEU/SEFPO’s bees.
The bees have spent their second summer on the roof of OPSEU/SEFPO’s headquarters at 100 Lesmill Road in Toronto and everything is going well.
“The bees continue to thrive, they had a really good summer,” said First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, “The bees continue to work, almost as hard as OPSEU/SEFPO members continue to work.”
Almeida was the driving force in bringing beehives to the roof of OPSEU/SEFPO’s headquarters at 100 Lesmill Road last year. As Almeida points out, OPSEU/SEFPO members realize the importance of a thriving environment and they know that bees play a vital role in ensuring our environment is protected. The reaction from OPSEU/SEFPO members to having beehives has been very positive, Almeida said.
“Our members are positive human beings, they like seeing that their union is not only doing important work that we do in regards to collective agreements, grievances, organizing and growing as an organization but that we give something back,” said Almeida, “Giving something back is important for OPSEU/SEFPO members.”
The bee population at the 100 Lesmill office in Toronto is roughly 300,000. There are also hives at OPSEU/SEFPO’s Regional Office in Niagara. Almeida says plans are in the works to put some hives at both a second building on Lesmill Road that OPSEU/SEFPO recently acquired and at the Kingston Regional Office.
Now, what about that honey Eddy?
“It’s coming,” Almeida said with a chuckle. “These are fairly new hives, so the harvesting didn’t start occurring until last summer, but it tastes great!”