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inSol Daily Update: Welcome to Convention 2024!

OPSEU/SEFPO InSolidarity Daily Updates

The InSolidarity Committee welcomes all members and guests to our union’s highest ranking authority, Convention, where delegates debate and vote on policy and constitutions motions.

Whether this is your first Convention or 50th, we hope the next few days are productive, filled with learning and most importantly, fun for all!

While Convention officially starts on Thursday at 9am, there have already been a number of events held Wednesday evening, including the Indigenous Circle Smudging, New Delegates Orientation and the Budget Q&A.

The InSol Committee is proud to report on Convention 2024, and we hope you enjoy reading our coverage as much as we enjoy writing it.

Craig Hadley, L5109, Chair
Christina Chrysler, L417
Michael Hamilton, L376
Marilyn Ott, L110
Lorinda Seward, L351
Tara Maszczakiewicz, Executive Board Liaison
Andy Pedersen, Staff Liaison

Indigenous Circle Smudge heals mind, heart, and body before Convention Commencement.

Craig Hadley, InSol

A large group of 100+ OPSEU/SEFPO members gathered on the convention floor Wednesday afternoon to participate in the Indigenous Circle smudging ceremony. An open ceremony, all OPSEU/SEFPO members are encouraged to participate in this deeply spiritual ritual of Indigenous people.

Indigenous smudging ceremonies are used to purify and cleanse a person or space of negative thoughts using the smoke produced by burning dried sage. Those being smudged use their hands to direct the smoke to their eyes, mouth, ears, heart, and earth. This sacred act helps participants to “see the truth, hear the truth, and speak the truth”, explained Krista Maracle (Indigenous Circle Chair), who guided participants through the smudging process.

OPSEU/SEFPO members were asked to form a large circle which allowed each person to be smudged. Maracle, assisted by other members of the Indigenous Circle, individually smudged each participant before embarking on the larger task of smudging the entire Convention space, including the perimeter, microphones and speakers.

If you would like to participate in an Indigenous Circle smudging ceremony, another will be held Saturday morning at 7am in Simcoe Park (directly across the street from the MTCC North Building). All members are invited to participate.

Biggest Convention ever

Check out our pre-convention social video:

With more than 2,000 delegates, plus hundreds of alternates and observers, there has never been an OPSEU/SEFPO convention as big as the one starting today.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the Convention 2024 by the numbers:

  • 2,309 expected to attend the main Convention Event, including:
  • 2,088 delegates and alternates currently registered for Convention
    • 1925 in-person (last year, for comparison, there were 1,672 in-person delegates and alternates)
      • 1048 in-person delegates
      • 616 in-person alternates
      •  261 in-person observers
    • 163 virtual
        • 47 virtual delegates
        • 63 virtual alternates
        • 53 virtual observers
  • 192 children registered in Childcare
  • 75 meeting rooms booked throughout the event
  • 1900+ hotel rooms
  • 150+ staff

How to take care of yourself during Convention 2024

Marilyn Ott, InSol

Convention 2024 offers services and amenities to help members focus and stay grounded, including a wellness room and a prayer / observance room, as well as a full marketplace.

The Wellness Room is back by popular demand. Complete with a lounge and a private area to rest, it is available to all who find themselves needing a break or wishing to de-stress. Additionally, there are personnel available to welcome attendees and to talk, and a quiet space to relax. The wellness room is located in Room 203 C D from 9-5, during Convention.

The prayer / observance room welcomes persons of all faiths and traditions. All are encouraged to utilize the room, located in 201A from 9-5 during Convention.

The marketplace provides the opportunity to purchase something, or browse and to talk to various vendors. We encourage everyone to visit Hall C between the hours of 8am to 6pm during Convention. There are many great items for purchase, including OPSEU/SEFPO branded items from the OPSEU/SEFPO Shop and also lots of promotional items being given away.

Also, be sure to check out the raffles and silent auction!

LCBO Workers Gear up for Epic Battle with Ford Government: Our fight is your fight, and you can join on Friday at 12:30pm!

Craig Hadley, InSolLes travailleuses et travailleurs de la LCBO ripostent! Mise à jour sur les négociations

If you’ve been watching the news, listening to the radio or talking to union siblings, you know there’s a lot at stake for LBED members and OPSEU/SEFPO members as a whole. You’re aware that Ford’s announcement to expand alcohol sales to 8500 private retailers is reckless, socially irresponsible and geared to benefit large corporations like Loblaws, 7-Eleven and Walmart.

The LCBO generates $2.4 billion annually for the Ontario treasury. These funds help support Ontario Public Services, Colleges, Corrections, Healthcare, and any provincial public service without the ability to generate income. Simply put, if the $2.4 billion in revenue is reduced or eliminated, the treasury shortfall will result in public service cuts and/or increases to personal income tax. This is why our fight is your fight!

Using the organizing model called “Organizing for Power,” LBED members have embarked on a mobilizing campaign that focuses on engaging organic leaders in the workplace. The idea of the organizing method is simple: map the workplace, identify organic leaders, and recruit hundreds of non-steward members forming a massive grassroots movement across the province. Progress of the campaign is tracked using software called “Action Builder” which applies real-time progress using various metrics and tools to maximize campaign effectiveness.

LBED Is the first sector in OPSEU/SEFPO to adopt and implement “Organizing for Power” while fusing an open bargaining style that ensures all employer and union proposals are shared with LBED’s 9,000 members. The proposals are presented to members via Zoom meetings shortly after the bargaining team meets with the employer.

On behalf of myself and the LBED bargaining team we would like to extend a warm welcome to all OPSEU/SEFPO members and allies to join our rally Friday at 12:30pm during lunch to show your support.

For more information about LBED bargaining please swing by the LBED Bargaining table located in the vendor area just outside the main convention hall.

Candidates Outline Vision and Priorities at OPSEU/SEFPO All Candidate Forum

Lorinda Seward, InSol

On April 17, roughly 300 OPSEU/SEFPO members flocked to Zoom for the eagerly awaited President and First Vice-President/Treasurer All Candidate Forum. Hosted by the Greater Toronto Area Council, the gathering provided a forum for the candidates to discuss their visions and priorities. Candidates fielded questions ranging from their motivations for running to their strategic priorities. Their responses reflected a shared dedication to advancing the interests of OPSEU/SEFPO members and the broader labour community.

JP Hornick, a candidate for President, addressed the members. “We’re starting to see the benefits of organizing to win,” they said, emphasizing the pivotal role of effective organization in securing victories for our members. Hornick said OPSEU/SEFPO’s strength lies not only in numbers but also in our capacity to serve members diligently. Hornick underscored the interconnectedness of OPSEU/SEFPO within the broader labour movement, signalling a forthcoming provincial battle. “We can’t exist as an island separate from the labour movement,” they said, emphasizing the need for solidarity in facing impending challenges.

Sara Labelle, also a candidate for president, expressed commitment to empowering workers and fortifying OPSEU/SEFPO’s foundation. “I want to see this union thrive,” she said, emphasizing the importance of resource allocation and relationship-building within the board. Labelle said her vision extends beyond the confines of OPSEU/SEFPO, as she pledged to combat governmental policies detrimental to workers’ rights. “My goal is to advance the situation of workers across the province,” she said, highlighting her dedication to upholding bargaining rights and fighting privatization.

Laurie Nancekivell, seeking re-election as First Vice-President/Treasurer, emphasized the principles of transparency and accountability in financial matters. “Leaders don’t do anything on their own,” she said, underlining the collective responsibility of leadership. Nancekivell said her emphasis on transparency underscores a commitment to fostering trust and integrity within OPSEU/SEFPO’s financial operations.

After the lively exchanges of ideas and aspirations, the focus now shifts to Convention, where the future of OPSEU/SEFPO’s leadership will be decided during elections on Friday, Apr 26. The candidates’ commitment to our members and the broader labour movement embodies the spirit of collective empowerment and advocacy that defines OPSEU/SEFPO.

More information about candidates