The Clock is Ticking
October 9, 2012
Itís that time again. Itís time to review the past year. Itís time to
plan. We must strategize and prepare so we can meet upcoming challenges.
Yes, itís time to develop the 2013 OPSEU budget. What is the right
course for 2013?
many cases it is steady as we go. The attack on working people,
anticipated last year, continues. We are now feeling the right-wing
assault on our core democratic values. Their attack is directed at our
constitutional collective bargaining rights. They are coming with a
Not only does their aggression affect the daily lives of our members,
who sustain OPSEUís existence Ė it makes budget development very
Given that government can change laws governing collective bargaining
(subject to constitutional challenges) I will approach this yearís OPSEU
budget with extreme caution. After all, we know the Liberals want to
freeze and claw back the wages, pensions and benefits.
There is unlikely to be any dues growth if member wages may be flat
lined or even clawed back. It would also be naÔve to assume that
membership numbers will continue to grow when two of Ontarioís political
parties are demanding layoffs. This challenge requires both inspiration
Our targets are just as clear. We must continue to be a powerful force.
We will keep bargaining hard. We will continue to aggressively represent
members. We will educate, agitate and organize. We will call for a fair
wage Ontario. We will work towards societal change.
Our collective demand is for a change to policy; a change to attitudes
and a change to government.
Last week, after watching the first American Presidential election
debate, the right-wing response to the financial mess was finally
presented. Mitt Romney set out a key part of his strategy by promising
to cut that countryís public broadcasting service (PBS), putting an end
to the loved (and award-winning) childrenís show - Sesame Street. Who
knew that the 2008 financial meltdown was caused by Big Bird, not
the minds of McGuinty, Hudak and Romney, Sesame Street, rather than Bay
or Wall Street, was responsible for the biggest financial collapse since
the Great Depression. Yep, it was the Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Miss Piggy,
and Kermit that brought us all to the brink of bankruptcy.
Yes folks. Thatís how ridiculous itís become. The sad part is that some
people believe it.
need to be clear. Just as with Sesame Street, unions have been demonized
by bankers and their pals. Thatís because like Sesame Street, unions
represent an opposing voice the right wants to silence.
After all, we educate others. We explain our position in clear terms. We
hold firm to our commitments. We believe compassion, fairness and that
love for our neighbour is a good thing. The right knows that these
community values will keep them from their goals.
They also know that we have a better way forward called ďThe Pathway to
ProsperityĒ. In our approach everyone gets a fair shake and a fair
The people on Wall Street and Bay Street put us where we are today. They
arenít interested in helping those who are now suffering as a result.
That is not to their advantage. They have no answers.
The answers are here, with those of us on the corner of Union and Main
Streets. We are the middle class. This is where we live.
This is the thinking Iíll use for the 2013 OPSEU budget. Together, we
will build a budget that will help to overcome the challenges ahead.
That is why, together, we are OPSEU Ė Ontarioís Union!
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
First Vice-President/Treasurer, OPSEU