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Equity conference tackles precarious work

OPSEU’s 15th annual Joint Leadership Day was held on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at the Hilton Meadowvale in Mississauga.

The Joint Leadership Day brought together Executive Board Members, members of OPSEU equity committees and caucuses, plus sector and ministry chairs from the Ontario Public Services, the Broader Public Service, and community colleges. Many OPSEU senior staff attended as well.

The Joint Leadership Day is part of OPSEU’s commitment to integrate equity issues into all aspects of its work. This year’s theme was “equity in a precarious world” and participants examined the crucial role of equity groups in successful union campaigns, organizing and bargaining. The event was facilitated by Karl Flecker, former National Director of the CLC Anti-Racism and Human Rights Department.  It also included an inspiring performance from Mohammad Ali, hip hop artist and former Director of Education and Equity at George Brown College Student Association.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, who opened the meeting, pointed to the day’s top news story as an example of what unions can do to fight back against the precarious work trend.

“The negotiations between Unifor and General Motors ended with a collective agreement that will convert something like 700 temporary jobs into permanent jobs,” he said. “Those are 700 union jobs with good wages and benefits that will allow people to live decently, bring their kids up, and retire with dignity. So don’t let anyone tell you we can’t make headway against precarious work. We can.”

Through case studies and facilitated discussion, participants identified the crucial role that equity groups play in resisting attacks on jobs and public services.


OPSEU Region 2 Regional Vice-President Deb Tungatt was honoured by the chairs of the union’s equity committees and caucuses for her work as a champion of equity in the labour movement. Tungatt steps down from the OPSEU Executive Board September 25.