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Thomas: OPSEU is stronger than ever this Labour Day and ready for storm clouds ahead

Toronto – In a Labour Day message to union members and the public, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says the union is bigger and stronger than it’s ever been and is prepared to challenge the new Conservative government and some of its reckless decisions.

“It’s Economics 101: the stronger the working and middle classes, the stronger the economy as a whole,” said Thomas. “That’s why strong unions like OPSEU are so important. We don’t just help make life better for our members, we help make life better for everybody in the province.”

Thomas said protecting jobs and fighting for quality public services will be OPSEU’s major priorities in the coming months, along with fighting the Ford government’s irresponsible plan to allow cannabis to be sold by private stores.

“It’s bad for our youth, it’s bad for communities, and the only people who will benefit are a few Conservatives who have ties to would-be cannabis retailers,” said Thomas. “Selling cannabis in publicly run stores is the most rational plan for Ontario, we should just say No to Doug’s.”

OPSEU First Vice-President / Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida warned Ford he’ll be in for a rough ride if he continues putting the rich ahead of the rest of us,

“Look at what happened with the minimum wage. The wealthy few moaned and groaned that raising it to $14 would lead to lost jobs and economic ruin,” said Almeida. “But the numbers tell a much different story. After the minimum wage went up, unemployment dropped and our economy boomed.

“Ford says he’s helping workers more by cutting their taxes. But again, the numbers tell a different story,” said Almeida. “Bumping the minimum wage to $15 an hour would put twice as much money into workers’ pockets. And that’s money they’d turn around and spend with small businesses right in their own communities.”

Thomas also said that if Ford really intends to govern for “the little guy,” he should crack down on bosses who try to break workers who are forced to go on strike to fight for their rights.

“Health workers in Owen Sound are on strike right now to fight low wages and toxic working conditions,” said Thomas. “But the millionaire doctors profiting from those low wages are dodging responsibility and dragging out the strike by bringing in scab workers.  That is an abuse of the public money they receive.”

For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931