'We're a 130,000 member union and we are also working together with other unions to make sure our message is heard.'
Toronto (5 Nov. 2010) - More than 60 mobilizers, staff and executive board members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) met this week in Toronto for three days of important training for its Invest in Ontario campaign.
OPSEU is fighting back against a provincial austerity program that favours tax cuts for corporations over adequate funding for public services.
The union is taking direct aim at the proposed wage freeze of the Liberal government of Premier Dalton McGuinty, which it says will funnel all the money it saves "straight into corporate profits."
"How many activists does it take to change this province's future?" asked facilitator Pam Doig, a local services division supervisor. "That's us!"
Mobilizers introduced themselves by their job function and explained what they do for the people of Ontario.
Some examples were: I save lives; I protect children from abuse; I teach English to newcomers; I prevent offenders from re-offending; I make sure vital events such as death, marriage, birth are properly recorded; I ensure people have access to the justice system; I support individuals with learning disabilities to ensure they live the best possible life.
OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas addressed the enthusiastic crowd.
"Funding formulas for services such as the colleges, developmental services, the justice system and health care are outdated," Thomas said, adding that McGuinty has made some bad decisions.
"OPSEU is a leader in lobbying for the funding our services need," Thomas told the gathering. "We're a 130,000 member union and we are also working together with other unions to make sure our message is heard."
Mobilizers will go back to locals in their regions and make presentations about the proposed wage freeze and the government's $2.4 billion in tax cuts. They will also lobby MPPs, support units going into bargaining and build campaign support in the community and among allies.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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