A message to OPSEU/SEFPO members: Thank You

Smokey Thomas
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It’s hard to believe I’ll be retiring in a week, and I’ve been thinking a lot lately about all the help, support and mentorship that you, the members of OPSEU/SEFPO, have given to me during my 35 years as a union activist.

I’m looking forward to seeing you at Convention but first, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss the opportunity to thank you for all your love, friendship and support over these many years.

Hard work and teamwork are the most important ingredients to making a successful union, and pretty much anything else for that matter. I could never have been President for nearly 15 years without a lot of help from you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I learned so much from all of you. I have always been inspired by your dedication and professionalism.  When I occasionally stumbled, you picked me up and we continued together down the road to improving our vital public services.

You invited me into your workplaces, your Local meetings and, often, your homes.   One of the greatest perks of this job was to see first-hand the work that you do, whether it was on the front lines fighting forest fires in Northern Ontario or getting to see the care and compassion that you showed patients in a hospital ward.

There were two things that always jumped out at me no matter what workplace I visited: it was always fascinating, and I was always in awe of the work you do for Ontario.

You patiently taught me about your work and without your mentorship, I could not have represented your interests in the corridors of power.

And your warmth and friendship is something I’ll forever cherish, whether it was meeting at the annual picnic in Region 7, attending a Local meeting in London or just having a chat in the stands at a Frontenacs’ game in Kingston.

An OPSEU/SEFPO staff member once told me that the best thing about working for the union is the people, whether they are members or those on staff. I couldn’t agree more.

Some of you are fiery and passionate, others quiet and low key but you all are decent, hardworking and dedicated.  You have been an inspiration to me, and I have no doubt future Presidents will say exactly the same thing.

OPSEU/SEFPO is more than a union, it’s a movement and perhaps even a way of life. It’s a movement with an incredibly bright future. Yes, there will be tough moments, but always remember — governments come and go but OPSEU/SEFPO lasts forever.

I look forward to seeing you at Convention, but I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all your love, friendship and support these many years.

In Solidarity,

Smokey

@OPSEUSmokey
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