Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, First Vice-President/Treasurer
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida knows what hard work is all about. He grew up on a farm and learned from his parents that there are no short cuts in life. It is a motto he has carried with him. Members always see him with his sleeves rolled up, taking on the hardest tasks and supporting their campaigns.
Eddy was a union activist from the time of his teens, when he was elected chief steward for his Labourers union local, and continued as a leader when elected steward in the Operating Engineers. Cutting his teeth in the construction trade unions taught Eddy that standing up for workers was a calling for him. His strength and integrity helped build his membership into a force, demanding and winning better wages and working conditions on the job sites.
Like many OPSEU members, Eddy started in a contract position but didn’t let that slow down his commitment to the members. In 1996, he led a flying picket squad in the Ontario Public Service strike and supported lines across OPSEU Region 2 (even sometime wandering outside where help was needed). He was also a leader in health and safety, becoming chair in his Local (248) and eventually Health and Safety Representative for the Corrections Division.
In 2006, Eddy was elected to the Corrections Ministry Employee Relations Committee (MERC) and served one term as chair. Eddy was a leader in many of OPSEU’s campaigns and whether it was a public demo, picket line, or meeting with the employer, he was always in the forefront. Elected by Region 2 to the Executive Board in 2005, he put the region on a renewed course of activism. No job was too big or too small.
In 2011, Eddy was elected First Vice-President/Treasurer and as a consensus builder formed a strong team with President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. They were able to bring OPSEU spending under control without stooping to the austerity agenda of the right wing. Eddy has brought down OPSEU's liabilities while increasing assets. He has upgraded many of the union's facilities and assists President Thomas in the day-to-day functioning of the union. He has taken seriously not only the role of Treasurer but also the role of First Vice-President.
Eduardo Almeida is known across the trade union movement as a proud OPSEU leader and a friend who can be called on when the going is the toughest -- a good friend to have.