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In open letter, OPSEU President tells Ford and Fedeli their public service job promise ‘must be kept’


Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas has sent an open letter to Premier Doug Ford and Finance Minister Vic Fedeli, reminding them of their frequent campaign promise that they wouldn’t cut any frontline public service jobs.

Here is the complete text of the open letter:

September 24, 2018

Ontario Premier Doug Ford
Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli

Dear Premier Ford and Finance Minister Fedeli,

I am writing this open letter to inject some common sense into the upcoming debate about our province’s finances.

I attended the September 21 Economic Club Breakfast in which you released your financial audit report. The sausages were OK, but the political strategy you served and the underlying threat to public services were unappetizing to most Ontarians.

When I hear Mr. Fedeli say that everyone will have to make sacrifices, I worry your approach will be the same as the American military officer in Vietnam who said: “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.”

Sacrifices are nothing new to frontline public sector workers. They’ve made sacrifices under Rae, Harris, Eves, McGuinty and Wynne. They’re all sacrificed out. We have been cut to the bone. Our members have never been part of the problem, but they can be part of the solution.

A knee-jerk approach will not successfully reduce the deficit or protect frontline services. You’ve got several months before your first budget, now is the time to step back and think before you act. It’s time to listen to the representatives of the front lines. It’s time to talk.

You repeatedly promised during the election campaign that no frontline workers would lose their jobs. It’s a promise that must be kept. Real people depend on quality public services. You also spoke of efficiencies and waste. We can point you in the right direction.

One example is the previous Liberal government’s disastrous public-private partnerships, which ended up being an $8-billion black eye to taxpayers. The sheer stupidity has been confirmed by the Auditor-General, the same A.G. who you quoted at length this past Friday. Premier, privatization is the vehicle that moves public money into private pockets. However, behind the veil of privatization, cronyism and scandal are lurking.

Another area where we can help you find efficiencies is middle management. Frontline workers are all grownups, they don’t need babysitters. We have roughly one manager to every five people who do the work. Some of those management jobs could be eliminated and some of the people affected could become frontline workers who keep the wheels turning.

Premier, I again invite you to sit down with me to work together for a better Ontario with quality public services that will be there for generations to come.

Sincerely yours,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union

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