On World Day of Social Justice, justice for gig and remote workers

Parents look at a cellphone and paper while caring for two children.

The COVID pandemic has shown us how unjust our world remains, dividing us more each day between the haves and have-nots.

With a long and proud history as a social justice union, OPSEU/SEFPO has always been dedicated to reducing these divides.

On February 20, the World Day of Social Justice, we stand with the United Nations as it focuses attention on social justice in the digital economy.

While many OPSEU/SEFPO members have heroically risked their own health and safety to continue offering vital services on the physical, in-person front lines of the pandemic, many others have been able to marshal technology to continue their work from home.

But what about those workers who’d like to work from home but don’t have access to computers or reliable internet? Or those whose work is controlled by multinational corporate platforms? What about the thousands that work under precarious, unstable conditions that don’t have a union to support them or keep them employed?

Now that the digital economy is fully with us, it’s time for labour standards, regulations, and taxation to catch up. Workers and the small businesses in their communities need real protection against the large and powerful monopolies that have sprung up in these early “wild west” days of the digital economy.

Our governments need to legislate effective laws to bring the lawlessness to an end.

As leaders of a union, we call on governments across Canada and around the world to ensure that all digital economy workers have the power and the means to exercise their right to join a union.

And as leaders of a public sector union, we call also call on our governments to ensure that those earning great wealth from the digital economy are asked to invest their fair share the vital public services that keep us all healthy and safe.

Technology can be a wonder. It’s time it benefits us all.

In solidarity,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, OPSEU/SEFPO

Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
First Vice-President/Treasurer, OPSEU/SEFPO