TORONTO, June 20, 2014 /CNW/ - Today Jerry Dias, Unifor National
President, reiterated his belief that the union's decision to support
strategic voting was in the best interest of working people and
communities in Ontario.
Responding to OPSEU leader Smokey Thomas's allegations that union
leaders who backed Liberals had been "played" and "sold their souls",
Dias said: "There is no question that our members' decision to do
everything possible to prevent the election of Conservative Tim Hudak
was the smart and responsible thing to do. As a result of our decision,
we protected 100 000 public service jobs and workers' rights that Hudak
was bent on destroying."
"Frankly, it is because of Unifor and other labour organizations that
thousands of OPSEU members still have jobs," said Dias. "No wonder, so
many public service workers have thanked Unifor for our leadership."
Dias also expressed his concern that prior to the election Thomas had
proposed to the Wynne Liberals that the government sell the LCBO to
OPSEU's pension plan and its private sector partner. "Privatization of
the LCBO would mean thousands of OPSEU members would be out of a job -
and the people of Ontario would lose a valuable public asset. What in
the world is going on when the head of OPSEU is secretly calling for
privatization?" challenged Dias.
Dias noted that Premier Kathleen Wynne announced earlier in the week
that she would not be legislating wage restraint in the public service
or broader public service. "The Premier reiterated her commitment to
the collective bargaining process. Hopefully, when Thomas gets to the
table he will have the vision, leadership and skill to represent his
members well," said Dias. "But it's no surprise his members are feeling
worried about whether he has savvy and commitment to do that."
Unifor stressed that it is determined to push the Wynne government to
ensure its healthcare workers get the wage and benefit increases they
desperately need and deserve.
"We are under no illusion that we will have to work very hard to ensure
the Wynne government does what is in the best interest of working
people and Ontario communities," said Dias. "But we feel confident that
we can do that - and we know for certain, that we are all far better
off negotiating with Kathleen Wynne than Tim Hudak," stressed Dias.
Unifor was founded Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto
Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.
Unifor has more than 305,000 members.
For further information:
Please contact Sarah Blackstock, Unifor Communications Director, at 416-949-1072.