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OPSEU & Unifor to Ford: ‘We’re ready to ramp up the fight’

Toronto – Workers represented by Ontario’s largest public and private sector unions have joined forces to deliver a message to the provincial government: if priorities don’t shift in the provincial budget, we’re ready to ramp up the fight. 

Unifor and OPSEU members from sectors and regions across Ontario are at Queen’s Park this week to meet with Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) and present a vision for well-funded public services and decent work in Ontario. 

“Despite all the rhetoric and slogans, Ford’s policies have been anti-democracy and anti-people,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “But political power comes from the people. It’s why we’ve joined forces; our unions know working people’s priorities, we understand that a strong economy depends on cooperation between the public and private sectors, and we support one another.”

In addition to presenting plans for much-needed investments, members of both unions are sounding the alarm about the PC’s dangerous secret plan to contract out public delivery of healthcare, threatening access and quality of care.

“We cannot afford one more step toward privatization of our public services or further erosion of workers’ rights,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Working people in Ontario are relying on their government to invest in strong public services, and to defend good jobs like those at GM’s Oshawa plant. We’re here to make sure Ford gets the message.”

The unions – that together represent more than 300,000 working Ontarians – are calling on all politicians to listen to the workers in time for the upcoming provincial budget.   

“Momentum is building,” said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director. “Unifor members know that building a more equitable province is possible, but it will require this government to finally recognize that Ontarians do not accept their deceptive plans and attacks on workers’ rights.” 

“Ford’s agenda is not what the people voted for, and our members, like most Ontarians, are deeply concerned,” said OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “The people are united, our members are united, and we’re determined to build stronger communities. Ford should know, we won’t back down. Ever.”

In December 2018, the unions formed a working alliance in response to attacks from the provincial Conservative government.  

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

OPSEU is the largest public sector union in Ontario, representing more than 155,000 frontline public sector workers who provide a vast range of public services and community supports that help keep Ontario safe, healthy, affordable and prosperous.  

For OPSEU:  Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President 613-329-1931

For Unifor: Sarah McCue, Unifor National Communications Representative at 416-458-3307 (cell) or sarah.mccue@unifor.org.