Dear friends –
We know you’re worried.
We know your anxiety is soaring.
We know you are watching closely over family, friends and neighbours.
But let me reassure you of one very important fact: OPSEU is here for its members, its staff, and its communities – we are a family. And as a family we will face this crisis together.
The COVID -19 virus is without a doubt one of the most challenging times of our generation. It’s an invisible enemy.
We can’t see it but we know that it is there. But so are we. Always.
Our leadership is working around the clock to fight back. And we will prevail.
We have learned from past battles with SARS and H1N1.
We have battled back from ice storms and natural disasters. And we did it together.
The key to our success, perhaps even to our ultimate survival, is cooperation, not confrontation.
Where there is opportunity to help – we will. Where there is opportunity to become a caregiver – we will. When there is a need for a meal, a kind word or a re-assuring gesture we will provide those things too. And where there is opportunity to flatten the curve of the coronavirus virus – we absolutely have and will lead the way on that too.
We are a resilient and creative.
We are proud to be one of the first organizations to shut down our offices in order to practice social distancing and allow our employees to work from home with full pay.
We have led the way and modelled what needed to happen in this province. It is our responsibility to lead by example and advocate on behalf of our members. We deserve the same forward-thinking and action from their employers.
Our dedicated staff and leadership are working around the clock, working with government and employers to demand they follow our lead.
Our communications – press releases, statements, public appearances and press conferences all are aimed to influence a positive outcome.
When OPSEU talks, people listen. We have the government’s ear.
We have an open line of communication to the Premier and his senior Ministers. And while not all of our recommendations have been actioned, I commend the government and the Premier for their work under enormously difficult circumstances.
Being in charge is tough work. It isn’t easy. Mistakes will be made, but the important thing is to have open lines of communications with the experts and that means our members.
From the front lines of health care to public safety to academia to retail to front line customer service our members are putting it all on the line, risking their own safety to preserve the safety of all Ontarians. And for that we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Internally, we are developing a province-wide triage system to identify the challenge areas across the province whether it be OPS, BPS or CAAT.
Today’s announcement declaring a state of emergency marks unprecedented times in our province. We commend the Premier’s decision.
Many of you have questions and we are committed to providing answers.
An FAQ document will follow shortly and will be updated regularly as the situation with the COVID-19 crisis develops.
We will get through this, but it will take all of us doing our part. Stay safe, listen to reports, and follow public safety protocols. OPSEU will continue to provide updates, lead by example and fight for the safety of all Ontarians.
This is what we do, and we do it well! And most of all, thank you. Together, we are changing history.
President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas
First Vice-President/Treasurer, Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida