TORONTO, Dec. 13, 2018 /CNW/ - OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is warning Premier Doug Ford that he must replenish the ranks of frontline workers in the Ontario Public Service (OPS), which have been cut to the bone under previous governments.
OPS management has grown over the years, while full-time frontline public service jobs have shrunk, said Thomas. The number of OPSEU members in the OPS has fallen to 35,000 from 67,000 in 1995. At the same time, Ontario's population has grown, putting more demand on services.
The Conservatives plan to reduce management positions through voluntary departures under similar programs available to OPSEU members, but any money saved must be reinvested in more frontline workers, Thomas said.
"It's time to toss the boss. We don't need a manager for every five people who do the work – it's ridiculous," he said. "What we do need are more employees on the front lines. They're at a breaking point, and this is Ford's chance to strengthen the vital public services we all depend on."
Ford promised during the election not to cut any frontline public service jobs, which have been decimated under premiers Rae, Harris, Eves, McGuinty and Wynne.
OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says the union will hold the Premier to that promise. "This is a great opportunity for this government to undo 15 years of Liberal policy and move resources back to the front lines where they belong and where Ontarians want them."
Frontline public service workers aren't to blame for the "fiscal challenges" the Tories claim they're trying to address, Almeida added. The government's own so-called "line-by-line review" revealed that direct government services required to operate the civil service have flat-lined for more than a decade, and have not contributed to deficit growth.
"Doug Ford says he is 'for the people', this is his chance to demonstrate which people," Thomas said. "The Premier should sit down with OPSEU to talk about government transformation, adding to frontline services and ensuring collective agreements are followed.
"I don't want the Premier making mistakes, because mistakes hurt people," Thomas said.
SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
For further information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931