TORONTO, April 25, 2019 /CNW/ - OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says Premier Doug Ford has insulted frontline workers by setting up a series of sham consultation sessions in which his government isn't even taking part.
Thomas attended the first OPSEU consultation session on Wednesday and no members of the Conservative caucus bothered to attend, instead the government hired high priced Toronto lawyer Richard Charney to be its representative.
"This truly was a Doug and Pony show," Thomas said. "Except Doug didn't show and we got a Toronto lawyer shovelling hooey from the back end of the pony."
"We came in good faith to listen but the government has treated frontline public sector workers with contempt and not having the courtesy to send a single cabinet minister, this is unacceptable."
Charney's biography indicates he's a long time labour lawyer who bargains on behalf of employers, the government has at least one other law firm handling consultations with another public sector union.
Wednesday's session was about the Ford government's cuts to the education system. Full day kindergarten is one service that's on the chopping block.
OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says it speaks volumes that frontline workers are being steamrolled in light of the fact that the wife of Ford Chief of Staff Dean French runs a Montessori school in northwest Toronto.
"Maybe they don't want to bother listening to front line workers because they're preoccupied with pushing parents of children in kindergarten to sign up their kids for the Dean French Montessori academy," Almeida said.
"Come to think of it Dean French was an insurance salesman, so maybe that's why the Tories are delisting services covered by OHIP."
OPSEU has a consultation session with the government scheduled for Friday, but Thomas says he holds little hope of any meaningful discussions.
"Governing 'for the people' has to be more than catering to a handful of Conservative elites and developers located in his Toronto stomping grounds," said Thomas.
"We're going to the Friday session in good faith, but we have little faith in the Doug and Pony show. Ontario's public sector workers deserve better than this sneering contempt from a tin pot dictator who isn't fit to be premier and a failed insurance salesman turned chief of staff."
SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
For further information: OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas: 613-329-1931