'If any government wants to kick working people when they’re down, they will have a fight on their hands the likes of which they have never seen before.' - Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
Toronto (26 April 2009) - Warren (Smokey) Thomas has been re-elected president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) while Patty Rout has been returned as first vice-president and treasurer of the union.
Both leaders were acclaimed for further two-year terms at the 34th annual OPSEU convention which ended over the weekend in Toronto. It is the first time in OPSEU history that both positions have been acclaimed in the same election year.
In his acceptance speech, Thomas, 56, an employee of the Providence Continuing Care Centre in Kingston, said he was honoured and humbled by the support of the members.
“This is a great union, and it is the members who make us great,” he told delegates. “I thank you for your confidence.”
He said the fight for good jobs and for working people will continue, and he vowed to defy any moves to weaken the public sector contracts.
“If any government wants to kick working people when they’re down, they will have a fight on their hands the likes of which they have never seen before," he said.
Rout, 57, an employee at Lakeridge Health Centre in Oshawa, thanked delegates, saying it is a great honour to be acclaimed. She acknowledged the support of her family and supporters, especially thanking Thomas for his ongoing support and assistance.
“As a union, we come together as one, and that’s where we get our strength,” Rout said. “Our prize is good collective agreements, good pensions and good jobs. The prize now is to keep our collective agreements and the pensions that allow our members to retire in dignity.”
OPSEU represents 130,000 members across Ontario, including members working for the provincial government, colleges for applied arts and technologies, hospital professionals and workers at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).
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