Another election has come and gone, and with it, some of our highest hopes and deepest fears have been amplified. In my conversations among family, friends and members, I’m finding that people are anxious about the changes to come; they are afraid of the unknown.
I get it – change is scary. I won’t tell you how you should feel, but I will tell you that I’m not afraid of Doug Ford.
Why not? Because our past shows us everything we need to prepare for our future.
I could tell you that we’ve got to stay hopeful; I could tell you that we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us – but I think you already know that.
The truth is, I don’t have an easy fix for the fear of Ford. What I do have is many years of experience under my belt, and plenty of positive takeaways that I can share with you.
So instead of focusing on all the scary unknowns to come, let’s take a moment and reflect on how far we’ve come, what we’ve built, and how we’ve grown stronger. Perhaps a trip down memory lane is the medicine we need right now.
Over the past 10 years our union has grown immensely, and we continue to grow every day. We’ve organized like no other union in this province or country, and we’ve worked to make life better, not only for those who’ve joined our union family, but for all Ontarians.
We should all be proud. I know I am.
Our track record speaks for itself. It may have taken more than a decade of strategizing, mobilizing, and card signing – it may have taken the blood, sweat, and tears of thousands of members, volunteers, staff and our union leadership, but our hard work and dedication paid off when we certified more than 20,000 college part-time support workers this past year.
That’s the largest organizing drive in the history of the Canadian labour movement – that’s a big deal!
We’ve been hard at work, organizing new members across the post-secondary sector, in our community hospitals, and in community health care, in developmental services, community agencies, Boards of Education and cultural institutions, in the mental health sector, BPS Corrections, and paramedics too.
Year after year, we outdo even ourselves! And part of the reason we should all be proud, is that we’ve grown while guided by the principles of social justice, inclusion, diversity, and respect for one another. We’ve remained agile and responsive to our members’ needs in changing times, and we’ve worked in solidarity to lay a solid foundation for our future, and the future of our province.
Recently, while talking about Ford’s win, Smokey summed it up perfectly when he said, “The Fords of the world come and go. The important thing is, we’ve always been here; they’re new, we’re not.”
I think no matter what we’re feeling right now, that’s the most important takeaway. When it comes to public services, we’re the experts, we’ve been here, we’ve accomplished great things together, and we’ll continue to build on that legacy.
To prepare for our future, we need only look to our past.
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
First Vice-President / Treasurer
Ontario Public Service Employees Union