Convention 2009: achievements and challenges
April 20, 2009
As we prepare to gather this week for our annual convention
I am reminded of the rhythm that often accompanies union work.
Our convention marks the end of elected service for some
board members and the start of new executive responsibilities for others who
are joining the board for a first time. More broadly, our annual
get-together gives us the opportunity to look back on one year of
achievements, and a look ahead to another year of challenges we face
About the only thing we can say with any certainty is that
nothing ever stays the same for very long. We will always face unexpected
triumphs, opportunities and occasional setbacks. To my way of thinking
thatís what makes working in a union like OPSEU so rewarding Ė both
personally and professionally.
Convention is a timely occasion to acknowledge the enormous
contributions made to our collective strength by activists. It is also a
reminder that without the dedicated and skilled support of our staff we
would not be nearly the respected and influential union that we have become.
I neednít remind anyone that activists are the backbone of
our union. You are the ones who keep our spirits up when the challenges
sometimes seem overwhelming. Your job is frequently thankless that involves
considerable time away from work and family. You are not motivated by
financial or material rewards because there are none.
Instead, your commitment is found in a calling that is
rooted in a fight for equity, fairness and justice on behalf of our brothers
and sisters. You are, in short, the glue that holds our union together and
OPSEU would be a shadow of itself were it not for your selfless involvement.
Our staff across Ontario, in offices large and small, are
simply head-and-shoulders above any others found in organized labour in this
province or elsewhere in Canada. After so many years of involvement in our
union I still find myself amazed at the consistency of services our staff
provide on behalf of more than 130,000 members Ė and growing!
The world grows more complex and complicated with each
passing day and still our staff manage to stay on top of these changes with
skills and commitment that are the envy of other unions.
We have much to celebrate this week and I encourage you to
do so with spirit, humour and a re-commitment to making our union stronger
and more responsive than ever. Try as we might we canít change the world
overnight, but the annual OPSEU convention is always a good first step in
First Vice-President / Treasurer