OPSEU/SEFPO Board to add seven Equity seats!

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In an historic moment for OPSEU/SEFPO and the broader labour movement, a constitutional amendment was passed on Saturday, April 22 at the OPSEU/SEFPO Convention resulting in the addition of seven Equity seats on the union’s Executive Board.

This constitutional amendment came out of years of hard work and the understanding that equity needs to be at the centre of OPSEU/SEFPO. It is a significant step forward toward representing members’ voices in a meaningful way, and the path toward building a powerful labour movement that wins for working people.

Approval by 2/3 of the voting delegates was required for this constitutional change to be passed at Convention – the union’s highest governing body. After being defeated on a first vote, OPSEU/SEFPO Convention attendees continued a heated, heartfelt discussion on the Convention floor.

OPSEU/SEFPO members – many who came to the microphone for the first time – bravely shared their personal experiences as members of minority, marginalized groups. The debate was a difficult, necessary process, which ultimately highlighted the transformative impact that Equity seats at OPSEU/SEFPO’s Board would have for full representation of the union’s members.

Shortly before the Convention concluded, the motion on Equity seats was then called for reconsideration, and passed.

The next steps for the Constitutional change will see a Board Equity Committee being formed, out of which seven Equity representatives will be elected and join OPSEU/SEFPO’s Executive Board.

“The Equity seats expand our Board in a positive way because it allows us to bring more voices in. It makes sure the Equity Committees are reflected on the Board itself. It means we’re getting lived experiences and perspective. And I understand that it is challenging for folks to think through changes in governance, but there is no perfect governance system. What we can do now is build up.”

JP Hornick, OPSEU/SEFPO President

“So many times, we are allies to other groups, but it’s a huge difference to actually put yourself out there and have some kind of action take place. We look at things and say well ‘that’s not how we’ve ever done it’ or ‘I don’t fully understand or know how this is going to work’… This was one of those times that we had to get out of our comfort zone and think differently to do the right thing. And I think the Convention floor did that.”

Laurie Nancekivell, OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer