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15
DECEMBER 2016
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The Canadian Business Journal
in a sector where they have no direct represen-
tation. Thomas sums it up this way. “I tell people
to think about this – 82% of people in Ontario
oppose selling off Hydro One – and yet they’re
doing it. If we lose the hydro fight, where do
you suppose any other public service will stack
up in terms of trying to garner public support?
Thankfully, I think we’re making headway.”
Thomas and OPSEU can take a lion’s share
of the credit for bringing this contentious matter
to the public forefront, which ultimately resulted
in Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s admis-
sion that she made a colossal mistake regarding
hydro, which has led to Ontarians paying much
higher rates.
The future at OPSEU looks bright. Thomas
and his union just finished the largest organizing
drive in Canada’s history, for college support staff
part-timers. It’s somewhere between 12,000 and
16,000 depending on whether you use OPSEU’s
numbers or management’s. Additionally, OPSEU
has just launched faculty academic in the col-
leges, which will be at least as large.
“I would love to see those two drives come
to a successful conclusion where we get to
organize those part-time workers and start the
process of making their working lives better. I
would like to expand even more into fighting
for social justice and equality and want to see
more in work on poverty reduction strategies,”
says Thomas. “We don’t want to pick fights. We’d
much rather solve problems.”
CBJ
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