Collectivity, Community, Balance and Fairness
June 12, 2012
It seems that not a day goes
by without the union movement being under some kind of attack by the
corporate elite and their media shills.
As the last line of defense
for working people, we are convenient targets. The Globe and Mail could
hardly contain itself. For that shameless rag and all the other right
wingers who want to rid the world of pesky advocates, unions are more
than a nuisance. We are the blight on the corporate bottom line. Who
needs democratic checks and balances when all you need is blank cheques
and bloated bank balances?
For this crowd, Wisconsin
Governor Scott Walker is the new Messiah. Although Walker just narrowly
survived the recent recall vote, they conclude that the end of greedy,
unreasonable public service unions is clearly on the horizon. What they
fail to mention are the tens of millions of dollars that corporate
America poured into Walker’s campaign. Even with that the margin was
tight and the people almost prevailed.
Back in Ontario, we are aware
of the attack. We know austerity and prosperity have no relationship,
unless you are already rich. And OPSEU members aren’t.
As we prepare to bargain on
numerous fronts, I want to congratulate and commend all members who have
put their name forward to take up a role in negotiations. Your selfless
act to take on the giants in hostile territory is the epitome of
courage. Collectivity, community, balance and fairness are signposts
people believe in. They will make us strong.
We believe in public services.
We believe in each other.
Over the coming period we will
hear that we are asking for too much. Headlines in newspapers that have
now been reduced to corporate newsletters will portray us as
self-serving, entitled, unreasonable, greedy and part of the problem.
Just last week I heard on a
right-wing radio talk show that it was the union’s fault that the City
of Toronto had to give raises to its managers. After all, all those
union wage demands produced “wage compression” by closing the gap with
managers. What could the politicians possibly do but to raise the wages
of those who made decisions like the ones that ended thousands of
front-line positions and sent these workers to the unemployment line?
Makes you wonder what the pay for performance bonuses provided to
managers look like.
I believe that the union
movement is experiencing a renaissance. We are reinventing ourselves to
fight smarter. Folks are getting our message that as union density
shrinks, income disparity rises.
As a result, OPSEU continues
to grow as Ontario ’s union. I take great pride in that and all of the
people that are working to make this happen. That’s right! I applaud
each and every one of you who take time from your family; put in long
hours of volunteer time and travel the province’s back roads while
family and neighbours sleep; simply because you believe in the important
work of the union.
You believe that together we
are stronger. You believe that we do important work. And you believe in
And make no mistake. I believe
in you. Together we are changing the world ….. one contract at a time.
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
First Vice-President/Treasurer, OPSEU