Kingston – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said today that he would do everything possible to help health care workers at Kingston Health Sciences Centre make an informed decision about the union they want to represent them.
Hotel Dieu and Kingston General Hospital merged last year and legislation requires the workers currently represented by OPSEU and CUPE to pick one union as their representative. Kingston’s health care workers will begin voting on May 16th.
“Change is always intimidating,” said Thomas. “I’ve always found the toughest part of change is to decide whether to walk through that door, but things will work out for the best once these members choose OPSEU.”
Thomas said with the prospect of Doug Ford as premier, it’s even more crucial that the union movement stand together and stop fighting each other.
“CUPE is a union I respect,” said Thomas. “However its local leadership in Kingston does not inspire any confidence.”
“While the local CUPE head Mike Rodrigues is bragging about strutting up and down Princess Street with a placard, I am representing our members in the corridors of power at Queen’s Park where the decisions are made.”
Thomas also stressed OPSEU’s longstanding tradition of accountability to its members in terms of the leadership and finances.
“Dynasties are great if they’re the defending Stanley Cup champions, but the trade union movement thrives and grows on democracy, something we at OPSEU deeply believe in,” Thomas said. “Every dollar OPSEU spends is closely scrutinized. With a Vice President/Treasurer like Eddy Almeida you know your dues are well looked after.”
Thomas, a Registered Practical Nurse, who has lived in Kingston all his life, said he’s willing to sit down with any member from either union to talk about the tremendous benefits of being an OPSEU member.
“If you’re a health care worker in Kingston represented by OPSEU, you have a union that looks out for you. Because I’ve been a health care provider in Kingston, I intimately understand the workplace challenges you face,” said Thomas.
“For our members who work in Kingston, OPSEU’s got your back and you have your president’s ear.”
For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931