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ASSOCIATIONS
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OPSEU
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was hired to work in the psychiatric ward in
the mornings while taking afternoon classes to
become a registered nursing assistant.
“I really enjoyed the work,” Thomas recalls.
“I liked working with patients and being involved
with mental health.”
By 1984 Thomas became an OPSEU union
steward and sat on a committee that was intro-
ducing an employee assistance program. Soon
thereafter he found himself in the position act-
ing vice president and then president of his local
union. In 1993 Thomas successfully ran for a
position on OPSEU’s executive board. He also
served as Treasurer of the organization for six
years, which afforded him the opportunity to
learn the nuts and bolts on the money side.
As an individual who was raised from humble
beginnings, Thomas makes it a point to never
forget his roots and it is no doubt one of the
primary reasons why he is widely regarded by
colleagues as a members’ president. He lists his
mother and former politician Tommy Douglas as
two of his greatest inspirations.
“Tommy Douglas really is the father of
Warren ‘Smokey’ Thomas, OPSEU President
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