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Standing together in 2012

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Let’s take a few minutes to reflect on our good fortune. At the same time we must be mindful of the problems and threats ahead.

OPSEU members have worked hard to provide the very best in services to thousands of Ontarians. From post-secondary education to government services; from nursing and liquor stores to community care; from corrections and probation to blood services, OPSEU members have made the lives of many better.

OPSEU members have continued to do this with fewer resources and a continual stream of threatening talk from commentators, politicians and experts. Yet, through it all, they have provided outstanding services while “under fire”.

In addition to this effort, OPSEU members went out in record numbers to vote during provincial and federal elections. The result, a minority government at Queen’s Park, is a signal of the concern many have with where Ontario is headed. The table is set for 2012 including the report of Don Drummond and the tabling of the provincial budget.

Many surplus positions have been identified already, and funding restrictions continue to undermine the lives of many OPSEU members. Together, in true union solidarity, we are opposing these measures. Our opposition will take the form of not just a series of opposing comments. After all we have more to contribute than criticism.

This is why OPSEU is participating in hearings on Quality Public Services and Tax Fairness. The report from this process can provide options that Don Drummond can’t even look at due to his limited mandate and “big banker” view of Ontario’s economy.

This report will provide the government with a second option for resolving the province’s financial situation. Instead of an attack on working people, their job security, wages and pensions; other measures can be considered including ending corporate tax breaks, greater tax fairness and an end to privatization. After all, if you or I pay tax on every dollar we earn, why shouldn’t the corporations and wealthy? In today’s Ontario and Canada, they don’t!

These issues lurk in the future; right now, my wish is for you to take time to enjoy the season while celebrating safely with family and friends. Your union will stand with you through 2012, no matter what. That is the solidarity every OPSEU member can expect from the other 130,000 OPSEU members, the staff and the elected leadership, from Local Presidents and Stewards to the Executive Board and President.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

As we spend time with family and friends in the coming days we cannot ignore the conditions in our community and workplace. The economy and government seem to work against us. We are surrounded by those (politicians and media) who blame working people and unions for many of the world's problems, especially if the working people are employed in the public sector. For a few thoughts about this situation, take the time to read this article.

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