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Urban Worker Project gets backing from OPSEU

We the North
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Toronto – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union is stepping up its fight against precarious work with a donation to the Urban Worker Project. OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida met Wednesday morning with Project co-founders Andrew Cash and Stephanie Nakitsas to present a $30,000 cheque from the union.

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Almeida, Nakitsas, Martin and Cash pose together after Almeida presents Cash with OPSEU's donation

Almeida spoke about the changing face of work in Ontario. “Nowadays, we are seeing more and more unpaid ‘internships’ that are really just another way of saying ‘free labour.’ At the same time, more and more jobs are part-time, temporary, insecure jobs with low wages and no benefits.

“We are delighted to be able to support the Urban Worker Project as one more way to tackle the problem of precarious work.”

The Urban Worker Project is part of a grassroots fight against precarious employment, and aims to give voice to the growing number of independent workers across Canada.

“We want to move this community [of precarious workers] to political advocacy,” said Cash, “so that we can make political, legislative, and policy changes that benefit all workers.”

The group met in front of George Brown College on the second-last day of a province-wide certification vote for part-time college support staff.

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Nakitsas discusses the plans of the Urban Worker Project with Almeida and Martin

The organizing drive for college support staff is part of the fight against precarious work, said Marilou Martin, president of OPSEU Local 557, which represents full-time support staff at George Brown.

“Our union is fighting for good jobs for all, and that includes our students, who come to college specifically because they hope to get a good job,” she said. “We can’t have decent working conditions for the next generation if we don’t fix the problem of precarity.”

“At heart, this conversation is all about what kind of province we want to live in,” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said. “We don’t want a province where the majority of people work in jobs that don’t meet their needs. We want a province where people can live decently, bring their children up the way they want to, and retire with dignity.

“That’s why we’re proud to support the Urban Worker Project.”

For more information: Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, 1-855-390-2135