Every week, OPSEU's We Own It campaign publishes a newsletter called The We Own It Weekly. It's a round-up of news and information about the growing movement to protect communities from privatization.
And here's the latest issue:
Small community, big win
Congratulations to Orono, a village east of Oshawa that just chalked up a huge win, saving its public LCBO outlet from being closed!
“Orono may be small, but they’ve sent a big message to all of Ontario: when you come together as a community, you can win,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
We Own It activists made sure that people in Orono knew about the LCBO's plans to close their local store. And the people in Orono weren't shy about letting their municipal councillors and their MPP know how they felt about those plans, flooding them with phone calls and emails.
All those phone calls and emails worked. Last week, the LCBO announced it wasn't closing the Orono outlet after all.
It was exactly the same thing that happened in communities like Ignace, Atikoken, Terrace Bay and Kemptville — We Own It helped support community organizing that saved the local ServiceOntario outlets from being closed.
“It’s worth fighting for quality public services in towns and villages like Orono because they’re the heart and soul of this province,” said Thomas. “I couldn’t be more impressed by the people here, or of our OPSEU members, for what they’ve accomplished together.”
In the news
The Saskatchewan Party has privatized the cleaning services of government buildings, laying off nearly 160 people and triggering nearly $2 million in severance pay.
The opposition critic for Saskatchewan's Public Service Commission called the scheme “penny wise and pound foolish.”
“If they wanted to fire some of the least-paid, hardest-working people in the public service so that they could hire people for even less money to do some of the cleaning jobs in government … it speaks volumes to the values of this government,” said Warren McCall.
The people who provide affordable electricity in Jacksonville, Florida, are speaking out against a scheme to privatize the city's electicity utility.
"Privatization of JAE (Jacksonville Electric Authority) would have severe, harmful and long-term detrimental economic impacts on all stakeholders," wrote a coalition of labour leaders in the Florida Times-Union.
"This is not like selling your house for a premium and walking away with no further commitment to that house. The customers of JEA will still be on the hook for the premium paid in the initial purchase price, as well as the interest or earnings above and beyond that premium paid to the city."