The Fairness Express Tour – Week 1
The first week of the Fairness Express tour was a fantastic success. The tour kicked off on May 1 with the annual May Day march in Ottawa. OPSEU and NUPGE joined a thousand other activists and marched through the streets of downtown Ottawa ending at the doorsteps of the Prime Minister’s office.
The following morning, OPSEU Fairness Express activists from across Ontario met for a NUPGE led training session. After a full day of orientation, OPSEU members expressed their excitement about getting out into the community to hear people’s stories of how they are dealing with growing income inequality and discussing possible solutions with them.
On May 3, the Fairness Express crew hit the road for their first stop in scenic Merrickville. The local residents were incredibly receptive and excited to be engaging the team on the issues facing their community. In the afternoon the big green bus relocated to neighboring Brockville for the small community’s annual multicultural festival.
Early the next morning, the bus rolled into Smiths Falls for the Home Living Expo. This event proved to be a highlight for all involved. The Fairness Express was a huge hit, drawing crowds of local residents concerned with the growing income inequality in their community.
On May 5, the Fairness Express returned to Ottawa to engage the public in the nation’s capital. Memorable moments included Local 454 President Chrisy Tremblay handing leaflets to the security guards in Prime Minister Harper’s motorcade, a visit from two NDP Members of Parliament (Guy Caron and Ruth Ellen Brousseau), and Executive Board Member Dave Lundy and Local 443 President Bard De Roche securing their spot in the lobby of the CBC until they were able to speak to a story editor.
The following morning, the bus rolled into Confederation Park in Kingston. The area was bustling with activity and the team was engrossed in meaningful conversations with the local residents about growing income inequality in the area. Later, the Fairness Express team headed over to the K-Rock Centre to chat about income inequality and tax fairness with a bunch of excited Back Street Boys fans.
On May 7, the Fairness Express joined over a hundred students, parents, community members and OPSEU activists for a solidarity event hosted by OPSEU Local 456 at Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf in Belleville, Ontario. The event was organized to raise awareness of provincial government funding cuts for students who are deaf, blind, deaf-blind and learning disabled.
The Fairness Express concluded its first week with two days at OPSEU’s annual convention.
Beginning May 12, the big green bus will begin its tour through Region 2. If you are in the area, please be sure to come down and join the bus!
May 12 – Hamilton, Pier 4
9 am to 2 pm
May 13 – St. Catherines, Farmer’s Market
6 am to Noon
May 14 – Niagara Falls, Parkway Blvd
9 am to 2 pm
May 15 – Owen Sound, Harrison Park
2 pm to 4pm
May 15 – Owen Sound, Library area
6 pm to 8 pm
May 16 – Sauble Beach
2 pm to 7 pm
Meet the Activists
Hervé Cavanagh is President of Local 466 and Chair of the Rideau/Ottawa Area Council. He is also responsible for education and communication for the Hospital Professionals Division, and Chair of the Lanark District Labour Council. Hervé is a physiotherapist at the Pert and Smiths Falls District Hospitals and has been a dedicated labour activist for 14 years.
Chris Cormier is an Executive Board Member and Regional Vice-president for Region 4. He is also a Student Support Counsellor at Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf in Belleville, and has been a passionate labour activist for 14 years.
Barb De Roche is President of Local 443 and Chair of the Hospital Support Division. She is also Chair of the Kingston/Ottawa Area Council. Barb is a Surgical Booking Clerk for Hotel Dieu Hospital in Kingston, and has been a committed labour activist for 14 years.
John Hanson is President of Local 416 and a member of the Ottawa District Labour Council. He is a married father of two and a Stationary Engineer at Algonquin College in Ottawa. John has been a dedicated OPSEU activist for 7 years.
Dave Lundy is an Executive Board Member from Region 4. Along with Chris, Dave is well-loved by members of the region for his strong leadership and commitment.
Ben Treidlinger is President of Local 449 and a member of the Ottawa Area Council. He is also Sargeant at Arms for the Renfrew and District Labour Council. Ben is an ODSP Caseworker for the Ministry of Community and Social Services and has been a dedicated labour activist for 30 years.
Chrisy Tremblay is President of Local 454 and Region 4 representative for the Provincial Women’s Committee (PWC). She is also Chair of the Ottawa Area Council and President of the Ottawa Children’s Aid Society. Chrisy is a Family Support Worker at the Ottawa Children’s Aid Society.
Morgen Veres is President of Local 487, Chair of the Community Health Care Professional Division and a member of the Rainbow Alliance. Morgen is also a health inspector and has been an OPSEU activist for 3 years.