The tentative agreement OPSEU has reached with the LCBO is a reminder of what solidarity can produce. It is the stuff that puts our union front and centre in the Canadian labour movement.
Solidarity is about standing shoulder to shoulder as our LBED membership has just done, achieving a landmark tentative deal with a tough, wealthy employer in the middle of an economic crisis.
OPSEU entered into a perfect storm back in 2008 – two years of round after round of bargaining in tough times. We set out ready to strike if necessary but always with the plan to negotiate improvements.
Our CAAT Support bargaining unit got a deal in the fall of 2008, as did the Ontario Public Service later that year, both after fantastic member mobilizing and negotiating efforts. Our Health Professionals Division is standing strong as their arbitration continues. Our Broader Public Sector Locals are producing powerful strike mandates. Our CAAT Academic team has started bargaining and we will be there for them.
Remarkable solidarity is what gets rank and file members, local executives, elected teams, staff and your Executive Board from demands setting through to significant gains and collective agreements that provide us with good jobs through the next few years.
Are there some tensions along the way? Sure. But that’s what gets the creative union juices flowing. Our diversity makes it work. From entry level clerk to college professor, OPSEU members repeatedly demonstrate the kind of province-wide solidarity that gets the job done for working people.
Along the way our bargaining strength helps young families to buy homes and older members to stay healthy. And our union wages help build local economies across the province.
It’s time to give ourselves a collective pat on the back, recognizing what our solidarity produces.
Have a great summer. And by the way, here’s a great old song for ‘round the campfire.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas