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Ford makes ‘rookie mistake’ with hiring freeze announcement: OPSEU President Thomas

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas
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Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is calling today’s announced government-wide hiring freeze by Doug Ford a ‘rookie mistake’ that will ‘only harm the little guy.’

“Ford’s not off to a great start,” said Thomas. “As the union representing 155,000 workers across the Ontario Public Service and Broader Public Service, we’d customarily be consulted or notified before this type of announcement – but since Ford’s new to the job, I’ll chalk it up to a rookie move on his part.”

“This is more than a friendly gesture we’re talking about,” said Thomas. “We represent 34,000 members in the Ontario Public Service alone, and we’ve got real concerns about the future of the public sector under Ford. Our frontline services have been cut to the bone. For years we’ve heard the Liberals brag about their frugal spending, and how it’s the lowest per person of all the provinces; we can’t go any lower.”

“We live in a growing province, with a growing economy,” said OPSEU First Vice-President Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “So, when Ford says ‘hiring freeze,’ he means full-out cuts; this is reckless behaviour. When we stop hiring staff to provide public services and fill real job vacancies that too is a cut – it’s a growth-killer.”

Prior to today’s announcement, OPSEU had requested a meeting with the new premier-designate, but has not yet received a response. Despite Ford’s error in judgement today, OPSEU’s leadership remains open to dialogue and the opportunity to sit down with the premier-designate. 

“We’ve got practical ideas to save tax dollars, while protecting our precious public services,” said Thomas. “For starters, we could save billions of dollars by ending costly privatization schemes. For a quarter century, governments have been falling on the sword of privatization; Harris privatized the 407, and Wynne privatized Hydro One, and look how those turned out.

“Ford says he’s looking out for the little guy, but is he really?” Thomas asked. “With 155,000 members to represent, the gateway to the frontline worker is the union and the union leadership; that’s me. If Ford is serious, then he’ll agree to sit down for a serious conversation with us. He may be surprised at the results.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931