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The Canadian Business Journal
Medicare. He had the foresight and determina-
tion to go for something he believed in, so that
always impressed me. And, I’m one of seven kids
and my mother always taught me to work hard.
She worked two jobs and set an excellent exam-
ple for us. She just turned 90 this past summer
and is still doing very well. My father died when
I was in my 20s so she struggled on for many
years without him. She was always the glue that
held the family together.”
With 21 offices and a staff of 350, OPSEU
has a solid reputation of providing excellent ser-
vice to its members. The activist base within the
union is thoroughly engaged in social issues and
they are staunch advocates for social justice,
including income equality, tackling the scourge
of racism and providing opportunities to people
who can’t take care of themselves.
“Nothing in life is perfect, including unions,
but my first responsibility is to the membership;
they pay the bills. I take the job very seriously.
If you give good service to the members they’ll
afford you the luxury to get into other causes,”
says Thomas.
Upon taking the president’s chair a decade
ago Thomas says there were a few things that
took him by surprise, including the incredibly high
volume of work that makes its way through the
office. “My executive assistant had a great deal
of experience in a number of areas and he knew
how to build tracking systems, and that helped
cut the manual workload down considerably.”
In creating a unified team to work closely
with on matters of critical importance it became
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