Outgoing EBMs: well done, good and faithful servants!
On March 18, elections were held around the province for the 21 positions on OPSEU’s Executive Board: three from each of the union’s seven regions.
Thirteen Executive Board Members (EBMs) were re-elected to their positions, including President Warren (Smokey) Thomas in Region 4 and First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida in Region 2.
Eight new members were elected to the board, while 10 members left the board, either to pursue other endeavours or because they had not been re-elected.
On Saturday morning of Convention, Thomas presented the five outgoing members present with plaques of appreciation for their service to the members of OPSEU and their respective regions.
Jeff Arbus, Region 6
OPSEU’s President spoke not only of Arbus’s activism, but the friendship with Arbus he held dear – and looked forward to continuing.
In his address to the Convention floor, Arbus reflected on his 40 years as an OPSEU member and expressed his eternal gratitude to Region 6.
Arbus assured his fellow activists that he was not done working to advance the labour movement, and that his next campaign had already begun. He spoke of the importance of getting involved with the tougher jobs in the union and to grow in understanding of the mechanisms of the union.
He concluded by expressing sincere thanks to his family for their years of continuous support.
Felicia Fahey, Region 6
President Thomas described Felicia as a “dynamo.” He spoke glowingly of her energy, commitment, and passion. “She always spoke truth to power,” he said.
Fahey thanked Thomas for his commitment to making the board a place of open debate. Always the activist, and harnessing the passion Thomas had mentioned to describe her, she spoke to delegates of the important battle her division – the Liquor Board Employees Division – currently faces around bargaining, asking for their support.
Fahey closed with advice important members: always remember to be kind to each other, respect each other, and keep in mind that we are all in it for the same reasons.
Drew Finucane, Region 2
Thomas praised Finucane for his ability to pick up and learn quickly. “He is smart and thoughtful, and his vigour never wavered,” said OPSEU’s President.
For his part, Finucane thanked Region 2 for the honour of serving them. “I will never forget what I’ve learned in my time as an Executive Board Member,” he said. He impressed on delegates the importance of remembering that OPSEU is a family.
Glen Archer, Region 7
Thomas thanked Archer for his support, input, and direction regarding the union’s Corrections division. He recalled Archer’s inquisitive spirit in always wanting and pushing to learn more. Thomas paid tribute to Archer’s relentless pursuit of ever-greater equity within OPSEU.
The outgoing EBM reminisced about his dream of getting elected to the board, and of his six years of commitment and drive to achieve his goal. He warmly thanked Region 7 for their support and activism.
Archer also reminded delegates of the importance of education: “An educated member is not going to be screwed around by an idiot manager,” he said in his characteristically frank manner. He also strongly encouraged all members to grow in their knowledge of equity and to get involved in equity issues.
Gord Longhi, Region 3
Thomas introduced Longhi as an activist who had both been both friend and foe. He recognized Longhi’s intelligence and the important contributions he continues to make in his new position as Acting Supervisor in OPSEU’s equity area. The OPSEU President added that he had done a fantastic job since Longhi had moved from the membership to staff.
For his part, Longhi spoke passionately about the honour he felt in having given 30 years of service to the labour movement – service he will pursue as an OPSEU staff member. He told delegates that what helps make a union great is mentoring: passing on knowledge to the next generation of activists.
Other outgoing Executive Board Members
Five other EBMs who were unable to be present were honoured with plaques for their years of dedicated service:
Ibrahim Bozai, Region 5
Tammy Carson, Region 3
Sean Platt, Region 3
Edie Strachan, Region 5
Deb Tungatt, Region 2
Executive Board Members: 21
Committee members: 54
Resolutions and Constitutional Amendments
Correction from previous report:
Eb17 decision with 88 per cent support – to be sent back to the President’s Office for Executive Board review.
B1 was revised with 68 per cent support – “the funding for the Regional Hardship Funds be increased from $1.00 per member to $1.50” was changed to “the funding for the Regional Hardship Funds be increased from $1.00 per member to $1.25 per member.”
B1 was revised with 57 per cent support to divide B1 into two parts:
“that the Regional Hardship Funds currently calculated as per signed-member within a Region be updated to be calculated as per member within a Region which includes all members (all signed, all non-signed, and all retired members)”;
“that the funding for the Regional Hardship Funds be increased from $1.00 per member to $1.25 per member.”
B1 part 1 (see above) was accepted with 68 per cent support.
B1 part 2 (see above) was accepted with 85 per cent support.
J1 with 96 per cent support – a member requesting an advance who is purchasing an airline ticket be entitled to an advance from OPSEU within a week of the advance request.
EB10 with 96 per cent support – that OPSEU continue to fight to ensure that the provincial government moves off of real dollar cuts to hospitals and fund hospitals based on population need and proper health system planning; and as a matter of public and worker safety, OPSEU support the call for safe occupancy levels, including an 85 per cent maximum bed occupancy rate to improve patient experience and health outcomes during normal periods while providing a safe buffer during surge periods (pandemics etc.); and that OPSEU continue to demand that LHINs be accountable to patients, the public, and the health care workforce, through meaningful consultation processes and the creation of democratically elected LHIN boards of directors.
M5 with 96 per cent support – that OPSEU ensure that all communications indicate time zone.
L2 with 97.8 per cent support – that the Union hold the government accountable for not paying the Indigenous youth the pay that it mandates other employers by law to Non-Crown employees, respect Constitutional and treaty rights of Indigenous peoples of Canada, advise the bargaining team to bring the compensation standards for Indigenous youth employed under the Aboriginal Youth Work Exchange and other programs to that of Non-Crown employees under the Employment Standards Act, send correspondence to the Globe and Mail to reconsider awarding the Ontario Public Service the designation of being one of “Canada’s Top Employers for Young People” in light of the government’s hypocritical practice of setting lower employment standards for itself as it pertains to young workers, and for the Union to intensely lobby the government by any means necessary to reverse this morally questionable employment practice as it pertains to indigenous youth.