This morning, a small street in Campbellford was packed with people as OPSEU members came from far and wide to join striking Local 316 members for a massive rally. It was a sea of picket signs and OPSEU swag, as music blared from a loudspeaker and passing cars honked in support. The solidarity of the crowd was strong – just as strong as Local 316 members’ determination to get a fair deal and get back to work at Community Living Campbellford/Brighton (CLCB).
The workers at CLCB have been on strike since March 22, and are headed back to the bargaining table Tuesday.
“When you pick a fight with one of us, you pick a fight with all 130,000 of us,” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas told the rally.
“I’ve been around for a while. We bargain 200 to 300 contracts a year. Rarely do we have a strike. We’re able to mobilize, get the employer to the table, and get a reasonable deal.”
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas called on CLCB Executive Director Nancy Brown to give his members a fair deal.
Sometimes, an employer needs a little encouragement to see reason, and that’s what the President hopes today’s rally will do.
Thomas criticized management of CLCB for crying poor at the bargaining table while paying 21 managers – at an agency with 93 frontline staff.
“That’s a boss for every four and a half workers!” he pointed out. “And they want to hire more? What business do they have having that many bosses?”
President Thomas stands with Region 3 vice-president Sara Labelle (right of Thomas), with members of Local 316.
Leslie Coles, Local 316 vice-president, was “overwhelmed by the support from the other locals.
“I have heard about OPSEU solidarity in the past, but I have never had a chance to experience it like today,” she said.
As Sara Labelle, Region 3 Regional Vice-President, pointed out, “This kind of solidarity means the difference between a long strike and a short strike.”
Sara Labelle (left) dances to the music with rally-goers.
In his remarks, First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida had some advice for CLCB management: “Get to the table, pay our people what they deserve, show them the respect they deserve, so we can all get back to doing what we love to do, and that’s helping people.”
For more pictures from the rally, see below.
Members from other locals in developmental services pose with their signs at the rally.
First Vice-President Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida writes his own sign for the rally.
Developmental Services sector chair, Erin Smith-Rice delivered words of solidarity. With her (right to left) First Vice-President.Treasurer Almeida, President Thomas, and Region 3 Vice-President Sara Labelle.
President Thomas talks to media. With him: Local 316 vice-president Leslie Coles and local 316 communications coordinator Ryan Yarrow.
Region 5 Vice-President Myles Magner (left) talks with Marilou Martin (centre), Divisional Executive chair for CAAT-support, and We Own It mobilizer Marjorie Nelson.