‘Member-driven union’ is more than a mantra

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You have likely heard the words “member-driven union” to describe OPSEU/SEFPO. It is not a slogan – it is a model of governance and a matter of principle: members come first.

In practice, it means that our union is run by local members but funded centrally for bargaining, contract defence and education. It means that locals have autonomy and financial stability as well. We are fiercely proud of the work our locals do, and honoured to support them.

That is why I am so pleased to announce a brand new Additional Local Rebate for 2021.

OPSEU/SEFPO’s Executive Board has passed a motion to provide a new, one-time rebate to all locals; to provide additional funds for member engagement activities and new technological costs accrued due to the COVID-19 crisis.

It is our way of saying we hear you, and we thank you.

Throughout the pandemic we have been in frequent contact with our local presidents, who have identified the challenges and changing dynamics in their locals and the need for additional funds to support their efforts.

Thrust into a new reality and forced to find new ways to communicate, engage and gather, local leaders have shown extraordinary strength, resilience and creativity too.

As you know, there has been substantially less member activity both centrally and regionally in 2021 due to COVID-19. And while we very much look forward to the day when we can all be back together in person, we are thrilled, once again, to take some of the funds we have saved and invest them back into our membership, and back into our union.

Recognizing that locals are the cornerstone of the union, the board unanimously agreed that a portion of this year’s savings should be dispersed among locals as an additional local rebate to continue building on the investments we’ve been making to strengthen our union for the road ahead. This additional rebate will be 50 per cent of the regular quarterly rebate.

Many will recall that earlier this year, the board voted in favour of establishing a $500 Communications Rebate to help every local improve their communications with members during these difficult and unprecedented times.

Both of this year’s brand new rebates are in addition to the quarterly rebates, Area and Labour Council rebates and the Communications Incentive Fund, which locals already qualify for. And once again, this rebate is hassle-free with no strings attached.

The funds will be sent out automatically to all locals that are up-to-date with their Trustee Audit Reports (TARS), and for those that aren’t, the funds will be held in trust until the end of the year, giving them a chance to catch up.

We also doubled the hardship funds this past year and increased the central union’s contributions to the 80/20 Fund for booking off members locally. We are currently funding it at 100 per cent and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Our locals have worked flat-out to support our members, and we will continue to do the same; to uphold the values and principles of a member-driven union – it’s what gives us our strength.

When I first ran as First Vice-President/Treasurer I promised I would always put members first; to listen and to always represent your interests and priorities. This past year and a half has been full of changes and new challenges, but my promise holds true.

A person is only as good as their word, and I will continue to listen and represent your interests as we face the changes and challenges of the year ahead – together.

In Solidarity,

Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer

@OPSEUEddy
facebook.com/OPSEUEddy 

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