In November 2021, OPSEU/SEFPO’s Member Education Unit held two consecutive virtual sessions of the Local Presidents Orientation (LPO). More than twenty local presidents, from all across Ontario and representing all seven regions, participated.
OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas greeted the local presidents with welcoming remarks at the beginning of each session. He thanked them for stepping up to the plate and taking on the role, which he described as one of the most important jobs in any union and the foundation of everything we do at OPSEU/SEFPO.
President Thomas also shared insights from his many years of experience – as an activist and former local president too. He encouraged the local presidents to hone their relationships with their Staff Representatives, as they are the first point of contact when it comes to getting advice and all the help that local presidents may need.
During both sessions, OPSEU/SEFPO staff from all departments throughout the organization shared their expertise and spoke to the participants about the processes and supports available to them as local presidents, and all OPSEU/SEFPO members. There were also various group activities planned, which allowed the local presidents to learn about their role in the bargaining cycle, to identify steps for building solidarity in their locals, and for communicating effectively with members. They also discussed some of the challenging situations they have dealt with in their workplaces, like addressing racism, physical assault, harassment, and many others.
To all the new Local Presidents – thank you! We wish you the very best in your new role, and please know that OPSEU/SEFPO is here to support you every step of the way.
The next LPO will be held in Spring 2022. The dates will be posted on the OPSEU/SEFPO website, once they are confirmed.