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OPSEU ready for war after Ford launches attack on public sector workers’ wages

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas

Toronto – After the Ford government announced its plans to go after public sector workers’ wages, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says the union is ready to go to war for hard working Ontarians. 

After 25 years of austerity – from Rae’s Social Contract to McGuinty’s zeros and Wynne’s compensation freezes – public sector workers have already been hit too hard, for too long, said Thomas.

“Public sector wages didn’t cause Ontario’s financial crisis,” said Thomas. “Corporate tax cuts did that. It’s why balancing the books on the backs of public sector workers doesn’t work. Instead of repeating this failed experiment, Ford should focus on revenue solutions that actually work.”

Thomas also called the Ford government’s promise to consult with public sector unions a complete sham.

“It’s the ‘my way or the highway’ approach with Ford,” said Thomas. “From Sex Ed changes to autism funding and health care restructuring; they haven’t listened to anyone except their high-priced consultants and insider friends.

“OPSEU members are the frontline experts,” said Thomas. “We’ve been requesting a meeting since the election, so if Ford really cared he would have met with us by now. I don’t trust him and neither do most Ontarians.”

In a pre-budget address, Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board announced the possibility of legislating caps on public sector wage increases.

“They’re trying to finagle their way around the Charter,” said Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer. “They’re obligated to consult with unions, not impede their rights to negotiate freely. Thankfully, a large percentage of OPSEU members agreed to contract extensions last year, and they’ll be protected until 2022 from Ford’s destructive agenda.”   

“Ontarians already see through the nonsense,” said Thomas. “Ford thinks hard working public sector workers, who are supporting their families, should take a pay cut. But that’s pretty rich coming from a guy who’s been doling out high-paying jobs to his cronies and privatization consultants.

“The people of Ontario are fed up and ready to fight,” said Thomas. “Our movement is growing stronger, and we’re ready to go to war for hard working Ontarians.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931