I’ve got a short, simple message for our new premier: you might have come to power through Ford Nation, but you’re in OPSEU Country now.
Here in OPSEU Country, we believe in taking care of each other. That’s what good public services do: they help us take care of each other. And when somebody or something threatens those public services, we don’t think twice. We stand up and fight for them.
So Mr. Premier, here’s fair warning. Here are some of the many things we are ready, willing and able to fight for.
After years of flawed and failed privatization schemes, public opinion has shifted dramatically. More and more Ontarians know that privatization is all about siphoning public money into private hands, and they aren’t happy about it. We’ve been fleeced out of billions of dollars because of the sell-offs, schemes and scandals of privatization; people are tired of this nonsense.
A responsible politician would recognize that privatization is a waste of public money – it’s become pretty obvious. We are all healthier and better off when our public services are thriving, and we should be investing in the public services that make us all better off – not just the elite few.
In OPSEU Country, we’ll never stop fighting for better public services.
Our public health and safety also depends on a strong public sector. A publicly-operated Ontario Cannabis Store, and LCBO are part of that story – and they make financial sense to boot. That’s because the money our province brings in through alcohol sales helps to pay for public services and harm reduction programs.
Galen Weston doesn’t need our help, so why sell-out to his advantage?
At OPSEU, we strongly believe that no worker – no matter their workplace – should be afraid to go to work. But exposure to aggression and violence is on the rise across sectors. Our members working in Mental Health and Corrections have done great work campaigning for improved staffing levels and staff training, but we need a premier who will also take these issues seriously; a premier who will stand up for the people working on the frontlines, rather than the top dogs sitting around the boardroom table.
In OPSEU Country people matter. Frontline workers matter.
Mr. Ford, you campaigned on the message that you are “for the people.” I’m here to tell you that in order to stand up for the people, you’ve got to stand up for workers. That means standing up for workers’ constitutional right to bargain collectively; it means respecting their right to strike, and championing fairness for all workers.
Stripping away that right doesn’t help the people – it only helps the big bosses who’ll count on the government to step in and order workers back to work.
In OPSEU Country, we will continue to fight with vigour to protect workers’ rights.
At OPSEU, we’ve worked hard for a better Ontario. If there’s one thing I can say about the reputation we’ve built, it’s that we don’t back down, and we fight for what’s right.
You can be sure that we’ll stick to our word. When it comes to working for the people, can we count on you to stick to yours, Mr. Ford?
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
First Vice-President / Treasurer
Ontario Public Service Employees Union