“She lost her first job because of privatization.” — OPSEU member
Toronto (30 Sept. 2016) — It is one of the most ambitious campaigns the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) has ever undertaken, and it’s getting under way this week.
OPSEU./NUPGE building a movement against privatization
More than 50 members of OPSEU/NUPGE from across the province, including a number of Executive Board Members, gathered north of Orillia to begin laying the foundations for We Own It!
Approved unanimously during the union's convention in April, We Own It! is a community organizing campaign meant to push all political parties to abandon privatization altogether.
Face-to-face conversations best way to garner support
Unlike other campaigns the union has mounted, We Own It! is designed around the idea that individual, face-to-face conversations are the most effective way to garner strong and long-lasting public support.
An unprecedented 28 members have been booked off from their regular jobs to work on the campaign full-time for at least the next 4 months.
After the intensive training, the members will be back in their communities canvassing, lobbying, and recruiting. Their goal will be to talk to as many people as possible about the dangers of privatization and, on the flip side, the benefits of strong public services.
Members involved have direct experience with privatization
During a get-to-know-you session, the campaigners were asked to pair off and find out why the other had become involved in the campaign. It became quickly clear that for most, the fight against privatization is as urgent as it is personal. Here are some of the things that members have to say:
“She worries about what kind of world we’re leaving for her son and for future generations.”
“She lost her first job because of privatization.”
“There’s more corruption with privatization.”
“Ontarians aren’t able to afford their hydro because of privatization.”
“She wants her grandkids to enjoy the same services that her parents fought for.”
“Privatization means less health and safety training and less safety oversight.”
“She works with incredibly vulnerable families. Without front-line workers, those families wouldn’t have a voice.”
“Privatization hurts the poorest people.”
“Privatization only benefits the rich.”
“He’s seen so much waste and unnecessary costs because of privatization.”
“Corporations make money while our pay drops and our jobs get less secure.”
“She had a terrible accident that was caused because privatized snow-clearing left the highways more dangerous.”
Through the rest of the week, the 28 members will be working to hone their messages and to draw up individual plans to spread that message throughout their communities.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE