Toronto – Ontario’s most prominent public and private sector unions are teaming up to block Premier Doug Ford’s destructive agenda.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas and Unifor National President Jerry Dias say the solidarity of their members is a powerful force against Ford’s anti-people, pro-corporate and pro-privatization agenda.
Thomas says he is incensed with Ford’s cavalier attitude toward General Motors’ decision to close down its Oshawa plant at the end of next year.
“The Premier needs to put his tongue in neutral and his mind in gear and start listening to front line workers, whether they’re in the public service or on an auto assembly line,” said Thomas.
“Flip comments like the ‘ship has left the dock’ are not good enough for Ontarians.”
Thomas and Dias announced the alliance against Ford during Unifor’s Ontario Regional Council meeting in Toronto over the weekend.
The two leaders also talked about the close ties they have developed over the years.
“There is no other labour leader I would rather go into battle with than Smokey Thomas,” Dias said. “Unifor members are in solidarity with OPSEU in the fight against Ford with more than words. We’re rolling up our sleeves and we’re ready to coordinate on the front lines of this fight to defend all Ontario workers.”
Thomas pointed out the loss of good paying, full time jobs in the auto sector means a shrinking tax base and less money for vital public services, which will be bad for everyone in Ontario.
“Unifor’s fight is OPSEU’s fight and the fight of every Ontarian,” said Thomas.
The two unions have already worked together this year when they both faced similar strikes at medical clinics in Owen Sound and Thunder Bay, Thomas pointed out. The two presidents held a joint news conference at Queen’s Park to denounce the employers while members from the two unions helped bolster picket lines in both communities throughout the summer.
Thomas said this kind of joint-activism at the community level is the key to push back Ford.
“It won’t be easy because the Premier is backed by a corporate agenda with hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Thomas. “But the solidarity of the members of our two great unions will prevail and together we’ll find “Ford’s ‘off switch’.”
For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931