Our Work and Struggle Will Never End
As we start a
new year, let’s review what we have accomplished and what
still needs to be done. The more we do, the more we need to
do. Our work and struggle will never end.
continue to bargain collective agreements that support
quality public services, one contract at a time. While
zero-wage increases have become part of the collective
bargaining landscape, the world-wide move towards an
austerity agenda has been momentarily stalled.
message calling for tax fairness and income redistribution
is now part of the public debate. Polls show our defense of
quality public services against the perils of privatization
has hit the mark. Ontarians are getting it.
have no place in the services provided by government.
Government is not a business.
hurt that corporate greed helps to prove our point. The
efforts of organizations such as OPSEU have ensured that
public anger is directed at the proper target. In the
economy, the target is not the 99 percent; it is the 1
percent. Soon the “1 percenters” at the top of the income
ladder will have to take their own advice and “do more with
time. Over the past two decades the right wing has used the
media to convince people that only if they were more
productive, worked harder, took individual responsibility,
forfeited entitlements, and worshipped at the altar of big
business, these “job creators” would set us on the path to
strategy of the powerfully rich was brilliant. Lower
existing wages, reduced demand for future wages and create
artificial inflation of the economy through cheap
credit. Think about it. All of those corporate profits and
CEO six-figure salaries came out of our pockets, our equity
and our future. That’s why banks and large corporations are
making record profits. That’s why taxpayer bailouts covered
the possible Armageddon caused by an economy financed by
credit instead of real wages.
But all is
not lost. We have fought back and the narrative is changing.
There is so much more to do.
with a provincial election coming soon.
provincial Liberals are steeped in mismanagement. The scent
of corruption is all around them. They are set to select our
first female Premier. It is clear the Liberal right wing is
pushing hard for Sandra Pupatello. She will talk about her
labour allies but will, in the end, do whatever her
colleagues in the financial community tell her to.
Tory leader Tim Hudak is rebuilding his base with right wing
nonsense that just hurts those already victimized. They are
an easy target, given they would never vote for him anyway.
His program is simple. Destroy unions, marginalize and
stigmatize the poor and give big business everything.
undeniable proof that trickle-down economics does nothing
but make the rich richer, Hudak is determined to reduce
government revenues and put money into the hands of
corporations – all too eager to shift those dollars into the
pockets of shareholders and CEOs rather than growth. With
this, community infrastructure and public services are
starved for funds. To Hudak and his Conservatives this
means: mission accomplished.
and the rich aren’t job creators – workers are. Wages,
benefits and job security influence consumer spending. To
block other options, individual credit has also now hit its
limits. Poor workers do not make eager consumers.
reason for hope. Big business will eventually give in to the
needs of people. They have to as their individual wealth and
growth depends on it. The days of racing to the bottom to
spur business support is coming to an end. It was a good run
for them, but times are changing.
OPSEU is a
key part of these changing times.
with democracy: our votes and our support. If a spring
election is called, we will be there, standing for all our
members and the good of our communities. The choice will be
On one side,
the Conservatives, a party with a rudderless, ruthless
leader tied to a bygone right wing era that the majority of
Ontarians would rather forget. Or the Liberals, an equally
rudderless party who would do or say anything to hang on to
power so that they continue their reign of mismanagement?
another choice – a party and leader that understands that
while our challenges are huge, nobody should be left behind
in a civil society. That party is the NDP.
It’s going to
be an exciting time. I look forward to working with each and
every one of you to create an Ontario we can all be proud
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
First Vice-President/Treasurer, OPSEU