I don’t want to say good-bye to summer just yet, but it’s a fact: Labour Day is just around the corner.
Every year at this time, as nights grow cooler and the back-to-school countdown starts, trade unionists take stock of where our movement is at.
We live in tough times for workers, for sure. Here in Ontario, we’ve just lived through eight years of government cuts. Before that, we had a major recession that knocked our economy flat.
After 10 years of tough times, you’d think unions would be on the ropes, too. And some unions, in some industries, may be seeing their strength fade.
Not OPSEU. As I said in my last blog, the number of Ontarians in our union is at record levels this summer – around 138,000. That’s about how many people live in Barrie. Put another way, it’s one per cent of the population of Ontario – and just shy of two per cent of the total workforce.
With 2.6 people in the average Ontario household, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that five per cent of Ontarians benefit from the better wages and working conditions that come with OPSEU membership.
We’re making a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of families from one end of this province to the other. That’s why we’re strong. That’s why we’re growing.
In the workplace, we never stop fighting for fairer, healthier, safer jobs for all our members. We never stop fighting for better benefits, better vacations, better pensions.
But our influence doesn’t stop there.
We don’t only use our clout to look after our members’ interests; we work for a better society as a whole. We stand up for the quality public services everybody needs. We stand up for a fairer, more inclusive province. Because unlike corporate interests, who look out only for themselves, we believe that when one person is better off, we’re all better off.
And that’s something every member of OPSEU can be proud of.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
First Vice-President/Treasurer, Ontario Public Service Employees Union