OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas issued the following statement today to mark National Pink Shirt Day, February 27.
National Pink Shirt Day was started by a group of teenage boys in Nova Scotia in support of another boy who was the victim of bullying. OPSEU members have stood in solidarity with the National Pink Shirt Day Campaign since it began.
On February 27, OPSEU members who work with children in youth justice, mental health, child protection, child care, and developmental services, will mark Pink Shirt Day in an effort to raise awareness about bullying in schools, workplaces, homes, and on the Internet. The impacts of bullying and harassment are serious, and can lead to wide-ranging health and mental health problems that cost us all. In Ontario, all workers are entitled to workplaces free from harassment and bullying.
The most powerful remedy against bullying is fostering a culture of caring and empathy, and this takes courage in a culture which rewards competition and individualism above cooperation. Solidarity is in our DNA. We know it makes us stronger and more successful as a group. We know that societies that invest in universal social programs have better health outcomes and report higher levels of well-being. We do better when we look out for each other.
OPSEU members proudly wear pink today to collectively challenge bullying and harassment and invite employers to be part of the solution in the workplace and beyond.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union