The following is a joint statement issued by OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas and First Vice-President/Treasurer Eddy Almeida for International Women’s Day.
Two third of OPSEU members are women.
That’s not surprising: we are a public sector union, and the public sector is the most female sector of the entire economy. A lot of work in the public sector is about helping and caring, in one way or another, and this kind of work – our work – has traditionally been seen as “women’s work.” OPSEU members work as health care professionals, legal aid clerks, caregivers, counsellors, nurses, personal support workers, and educators, and in far too many other jobs to mention here.
Women’s labour is crucial to the well-being of this province and our union.
Women who happen to be OPSEU activists often work a triple shift: doing their jobs, caring for children and other family members, and fighting for the rights of workers, all at the same time. This is a heavy workload that involves a lot of labour, including tons of emotional labour. One of these jobs doesn’t pay enough, and two of them don’t pay a dime.
OPSEU women pay their dues.
This International Women’s Day, we salute women everywhere and the work they do.
We especially salute the women of OPSEU. On behalf of all OPSEU members, regardless of their gender, we thank you. Thank you for your work. Thank you for your commitment to our communities, our families, and our union.
Everywhere you look, systemic sexism remains a reality. It’s there in the gender wage gap. It’s there in the harassment, discrimination, and violence that women experience.
Our union has been working to change that since we started in 1975. You have our word that OPSEU will continue being at the forefront of the fight for a more equitable society. Let’s keep up the fight, together.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President, OPSEU
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, First Vice-President/Treasurer, OPSEU