TORONTO – PC Leader Tim Hudak has finally shown his true colours by disparaging union support for social justice causes that have been endorsed by the union’s membership, says the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas responded to Hudak’s latest media release where he singled out OPSEU for a solidarity trip to Southern Africa this September.
“Was Tim Hudak in favour of the racist Apartheid regime in South Africa?” asks Thomas. “Is he against our union’s support for Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress? It seems so from his recent rant against unions on the PC Party Website.”
Thomas says that Hudak is deliberately distorting facts to prop up his platform to destroy unions in Ontario. Hudak says that union members have no control over the use of their dues money, and for that reason members should be allowed to individually opt out of unions yet still enjoy the benefits of a union contract.
“OPSEU took a democratic decision in 2004 to set aside a small amount of funds to support Southern African projects, including community based organizations fighting HIV/AIDS,” Thomas said.” The decision has been confirmed unanimously every year thereafter. Member-elected OPSEU delegates meet annually and speak for the union’s 130,000 members.”
This September, OPSEU is sending a delegation to Southern Africa to experience what international solidarity means. Thomas is proud of these members and knows they will be great ambassadors for their workplaces, union and communities. They will learn about the humility of village life and the need for international development, Ontario values now under attack by the Harper federal government.
“Our members are raising their own funds to go on this tour,” Thomas said. “Mr. Hudak should talk to the First Nations women from Kenora and Sudbury who have organized bake sales, dinners, and other events to raise money for their trip. Or contact the woman working at Casey House HIV/AIDS Hospice in Toronto who keenly wants to visit the Stephen Lewis Foundation projects our union supports in Southern Africa. Maybe the PC Leader would want to meet two young health care workers, mothers themselves, who can’t wait to visit the village in Malawi where they will help to build a new health clinic. Ultimately, Tim Hudak should maybe have a conversation with member from Windsor, who he references in his statement, who has gathered the uniforms and shoes needed to equip a soccer team at the same Makupo village.”
Thomas says that by blindly demonizing unions, Hudak is doing nothing but proving he wants the gap between the rich and poor to continue to widen. “We go to bed at night knowing we’ve contributed to the fight against poverty and injustice in Ontario and elsewhere in the world,” Thomas said. “By joining with others we build social justice and global solidarity. Hudak would happily side against people like Nelson Mandela and Stephen Lewis as long as it supports his anti-worker platform.”
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931