Response to Ontario Budget 2010: OPSEU At Liberal Events
Publication DateFriday, January 1, 2010 (All day)
OPSEU members are showing up at Liberal fundraisers to tell the McGuinty government that working people are not the problem. Services are being reduced and public employees are being told to take a four-per cent wage cut. Meanwhile, public sector managers rake in fat bonuses and profitable corporations get tax cuts.
Demo at Bond Head, July 29
Liberal duffers hit rough at OPSEU demo
July 29, 2010 Tee off times were delayed for hundreds of well-heeled Liberal party members today when more than 80 OPSEU demonstrators blocked the entrance to a golf club north of Toronto to protest the government’s proposed wage freeze, under-funding of public services and corporate tax giveaways.
The occasion was the Liberal party’s annual fundraising golf tournament at The Club at Bond Head where party supporters paid $750 per round and the opportunity to hear the Premier speak later in the day.
OPSEU’s message to the early-morning golfers was blunt: ‘Working people are not the problem’ and they shouldn’t be made to pay, through their wages and public services, for reducing the province’s deficit which was triggered by the Great Recession and caused by the greed and incompetence of international money markets.
First vice president / treasurer Patty Routt told demonstrators that “Premier McGuinty is targeting low income earners in the broader public service. These workers provide important services including care for the elderly, treatment of the mentally ill and the operation of programs for vulnerable children and youth and they’re being told they’re part of the problem. Well they aren’t!”
Demonstrators prepared breakfast on BBQs and proceeds from the meal – more than $700 – went to the Community Living Association for South Simcoe, one of the many social service agencies that are struggling because of the government failure to adequately fund their programs.
“The amount of support received by the attendees is overwhelming. People are getting our message that ‘public services are important services and cutting these services only hurts vulnerable individuals in our community,’” said OPSEU executive board member for Region 3, Claire Rowett.
Today’s successful demonstration, which attracted considerable media attention, was organized on short notice thanks in large measure to the hard work of Region 3 mobilizers Denise Davis, Ken Hord and Stacey Tomblin, with support of EBMs Pete Wright and Claire Rowett.
Demo in Sault Ste. Marie, June 15
Fundraiser to fill the hole in health care
June 15, 2010 OPSEU Executive Board Members Sue Brown, Peter Wall, and Jen Giroux held a last minute fundraiser for the Ministry of Health outside of MPP David Orazietti's office in Sault Ste. Marie.
Asking to help fill the hole in health care, donations were taken in return for a donut and coffee. The loud honks of support gradually drew Mr. Orazietti from his office for some entertaining conversation in which he attempted to defend the Liberals’ record on healthcare spending.
A grand total of $17.87 was raised for the Ministry of Health, which David Orazietti initially accepted, but then returned. David did accept messages from members in L620 with regards to healthcare and also took with him an OPSEU travel mug. Keep watch for David and his mug at Queen's Park!
Arkona Rally, June 5
Public sector workers protest McGuinty government’s priorities at Liberal fundraiser
June 7, 2010 OPSEU members in southwestern Ontario held an information picket outside a golf fundraiser for Maria Van Bommel, MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, on Saturday, June 5. Bringing their concerns directly to the attention of MPP Maria Van Bommel, over 20 protesters turned up for this event. Van Bommel came out to discuss issues with the picket members, who let her know that corporations need to take their share of the responsibility for Ontario’s deficit.
Demo at fundraiser, Belleville, May 31
Preparing for the Belleville rally
Fundraiser for Leona Dombrowsky, MPP, Prince Edward-Hastings
6:00 PM (Plan to arrive one hour prior as guests arrive!)
Belleville Ramada Inn Park Room
11 Baybridge Road
Special Guest: Dwight Duncan, Minister of Finance
Demo at fundraiser, London, May 20
Demo of Ramal fundraiser, May 20
Liberal party supporters attending a fundraiser for London-Fanshawe MPP Khalil Ramal were greeted by an enthusiastic contingent of OPSEU members. Activists came from all over Region 1 and beyond, and stopped the cars of Liberal party supporters in order to communicate the union’s concerns. While public sector managers continue to get fat bonuses, public sector workers, some earning as little as $20,000 to $30,000 a year, are getting a pay cut. Finance Minister Dwight Duncan didn’t want to engage with OPSEU members. He had to walk across three soccer pitches in order to get into the venue through the backdoor.
Demo at Kingston Liberal AGM, May 20
Demo of Kingston Liberal AGM, May 20
OPSEU members demonstrated outside the Annual General Meeting of the Liberal party association of Kingston and the Islands. Regional vice-president Dave Lundy lobbied John Gerretsen, Minister of Environment.
Inspectors rally, London, May 20
Ministry of Labour inspectors rally, May 20
About 150 Ministry of Labour inspectors, supported by members of other unions, held a lunch-time rally outside the Ministry of Labour office, 217 York St., to tell the McGuinty government to not private health and safety enforcement. OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas spoke at the rally. The government has appointed an expert panel to look at workplace safety but no front-line Ministry of Labour staff are on it.
View photos of the rally
Read the London Free Press article: Job Danger alert sounded, by Norman De Bono, May 20
Ottawa and Alfred fundraisers, May 19
OPSEU at Ottawa and Alfred fundraisers, May 19
OPSEU members, including regional vice-president Dave Lundy, lobbied Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Transportation, outside a fundraiser at the Rideau Club in Ottawa for Ottawa-Vanier MPP Madeleine Meilleur, the Minister of Community and Social Services
OPSEU members, including Executive Board Member, Lynn Orzel, lobbied Laurel Broten, Minister of Children and Youth Services, at a fundraiser in Alfred for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MPP Jean-Marc Lalonde.
Collingwood rally, May 14
OPSEU Members rally in Collingwood, May 14
More than 350 OPSEU members from Regions 1, 2, 3 and 5 bussed to Collingwood to tell the Liberals their priorities are upside down. Waving OPSEU flags and chanting we won’t back down, members handed out hundreds of flyers to delegates entering the Liberals; “Thinkers” conference at the Blue Mountain Ski Resort.
View the images
Shake Up the Liberals rally, May 5
OPSEU members marched to the Scotia Bank Plaza, in the heart of Toronto’s business district, to picket a Liberal fundraiser on May 5, the eve of Convention. The “Shake Up the Liberals” rally was so-named because Liberal supporters were inside the building at a $375 per ticket cocktail reception for Community and Social Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur. The pouring rain did not dampen the enthusiasm of members. They heard from their elected leaders, including Vice-President/Treasurer Patty Rout and Regional vice-president Nancy Pridham. And they had fun performing street theatre. Powerful investment bank Goldman Sachs was arrested for pushing the sell-off of valuable government assets, such as the LCBO.
OPSEU Demo at Dwight Duncan Fundraiser in Toronto, April 19
$400-a-plate fundraiser for Finance Minister Dwight Duncan
The Bay Street bankers attending a $400-a-plate fundraiser for Finance Minister Dwight Duncan in downtown Toronto yesterday were greeted with this message from an enthusiastic group of OPSEU members: Working people are not the problem. Stop the corporate giveaways!
The irony is that Toronto’s corporate elite are raising funds for Duncan’s re-election in Windsor next year. Windsor has an unemployment rate of 12.2 per cent, the highest in Ontario. It’s fair to assume not many people there can afford to lay down $400 for dinner.
The spirited OPSEU contingent, lead by Region 5 Executive Board Members Nancy Pridham, Derek Miller and Ted Montgomery, handed out flyers to the hundreds of transit commuters streaming into the subway at the end of the work day, and to the expensively-suited Bay Street types heading into the venue called the Grand Banking Hall.
“Last night was a great turnout of members,” said Region 5 vice-president Nancy Pridham. “The people who went into the dinner got the message loud and clear from us. We said: here’s your menu, you’re going to be seeing a lot of us!”
Members had fun with the union’s message, telling the business people hurrying into the fundraiser: “You’ll be having frozen dinners in honour of the public sector salary freeze at Dwight’s dinner.”
Pridham said the union’s message is resonating with members. “Members are upset that they’re expected to take the hit for something they didn’t cause. They see managers continuing to get performance bonuses for laying off workers and keeping people down.”
At a special Executive Board meeting held recently, a number of strategies were developed to address the recent provincial budget and the public sector wage controls it contains.
OPSEU is calling on the Liberal government to cancel upcoming corporate tax cuts, cancel the pay-for-performance bonuses of top public sector managers, create a new high income tax bracket so the privileged few at the top can do their share for Ontario, and create a low-income cut-off that exempts the lowest-paid workers from the wage freeze.