"Grey County has just shown us that we can fight for our public services and win.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Owen Sound (25 Jan. 2019) — Hailing it as a “huge victory” for quality public services, Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE), is congratulating his members and their community allies for successfully fighting back against a scheme to privatize long-term care in Grey County.
Community comes together to defeat privatization
“I want to thank the hundreds of OPSEU/NUPGE members and concerned citizens who fought so hard to win this huge victory,” said Thomas. “It’s a victory for the residents of Grey Gables. It’s a victory for the citizens of Grey County. And it’s a victory for all the people of Ontario."
“Doug Ford should be paying attention. 60 per cent of Ontarians already say he is moving in the wrong direction. And this victory in Grey County is a clear sign that politicians who support privatization are politicians who don’t get re-elected.”
The privatization scheme, which involved selling off the Grey Gables long-term care facility and replacing it with a privately managed facility, was officially killed yesterday by Grey County’s new batch of councillors. The scheme was a major issue during last October’s municipal elections. Many of the politicians who had backed the scheme, including Kevin Eccles, the then mayor of West Grey, lost their seats.
Most privatization schemes hide details from public
As with many privatizations, the proponents of the Grey Gables sell-off refused to release many of the key financial details.
“You wouldn’t buy a car without knowing how much it costs. But that’s exactly what privatizers ask us to do each and every time they try to sell us on one of their harebrained schemes,” said Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer. “If they were so confident that privatization is a good deal for citizens, why are they always hiding the numbers?"
“So to all the OPSEU/NUPGE members and community activists who stood firm together for almost 2 years against this nonsense: great work! You’ve won one for us all," said Almeida.
OPSEU/NUPGE campaigned to raise awareness
Moblizers and volunteers from OPSEU/NUPGE's We Own It campaign played a major role in this victory by organizing rallies, packing public meetings, leafleting street corners, and going door-to-door to raise awareness about the scheme. OPSEU/NUPGE also bought a number of newspaper and radio ads promoting publicly owned and managed long-term care.
“90 per cent of Ontarians understand that public service cuts and privatizations will hurt them personally,” said Thomas. “Grey County has just shown us that we can fight for our public services and win.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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