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“We Own It!” kicks off with intensive training

OPSEU We Own It mobilizers sit at round tables during training.

It is one of the most ambitious campaigns OPSEU has ever undertaken, and it’s getting under way this week.

More than 50 members of OPSEU from across the province, including a number of Executive Board Members, have gathered north of Orillia to begin laying the foundations for We Own It!

Approved unanimously during the convention in April, We Own It! is a community organizing campaign meant to push all political parties to abandon privatization altogether.

Unlike other campaigns the union has mounted, We Own It! is designed around the idea that individual, face-to-face conversations are the most effective way to garner strong and long-lasting public support.

An unprecedented 28 members have been booked off from their regular jobs to work on the campaign full-time for at least the next four months.

After this week’s intensive training, those members will be back in their own communities canvassing, lobbying, and recruiting. Their goal will be to talk to as many people as possible about the dangers of privatization and, on the flip side, the benefits of strong public services.

During a get-to-know-you session last night, the 28 were asked to pair off and find out why the other had become involved in the campaign. It became quickly clear that for most, the fight against privatization is as urgent as it is personal:

“She worries about what kind of world we’re leaving for her son and for future generations.”

“She lost her first job because of privatization.”

“There’s more corruption with privatization.”

“Ontarians aren’t able to afford their hydro because of privatization.”

“She wants her grandkids to enjoy the same services that her parents fought for.”

“Privatization means less health and safety training and less safety oversight.”

“She works with incredibly vulnerable families. Without frontline workers, those families wouldn’t have a voice.”

“Privatization hurts the poorest people.”

“Privatization only benefits the rich.”

“He’s seen so much waste and unnecessary costs because of privatization.”

“Corporations make money while our pay drops and our jobs get less secure.”

“She had a terrible accident that was caused because privatized snow-clearing left the highways more dangerous.”

Through the rest of the week, the 28 will be working to hone their messages and to draw up individual plans to spread that message throughout their communities. Stay tuned!