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OPSEU Convention 2014

posted Oct 19, 2009, 1:40 PM by V.P. Outreach   [ updated May 21, 2014, 7:07 AM ]
May 8, 9, 10, 2014 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Local 596 sent the following delegates:
Melanie Loiselle
Kella Loschiavo
Deborah McKay

James McKay
Gowry Sivapathasundaram

The key issue that cast a shadow over Convention 2014 was, of course, the recently announced Provincial Election and it's possible impact on Public Sector Workers, OPSEU and on our next Bargaining round.  As you'll recall, our last round of Bargaining in 2010 was delayed by the announcement by the Government of the day of possible wage freezes.  I personally found it gratifying that Smokey Thomas, our OPSEU President, did not endorse any single party, but instead chose to exhort all OPSEU members to educate themselves on the platforms of the parties and then make an informed decision. I truly suggest that we all follow this advice and educate not only ourselves, but also our neighbours, friends and everyone who has a vested interest in this Province.

James J. McKay

President, OPSEU Local 596

 End of Day 2 of the OPSEU 2014 Convention. I am staring at a stack of 'convention papers' (and an OPSEU headlamp, which I can't wait to use this summer camping) taking up room on my coffee table. Words like: In Favour, Down, Opposed, Resolution, Committee, Shame!, Therefore be it resolved, Wheras, Privilege!, ... to name (-just-) a few, are running through my head.

This was my first time at Convention and for anyone who has never gone, I urge you to get involved. The next time the opportunity arises, which will be next year, toss your name into the hat, because it's an experience not worth missing. You get to make decisions about the future of OPSEU, which affects all of us, and get a peek into the inner workings.

Even if you do not want to sit on the convention floor as a Delegate you can attend as an Observer or an Alternate. And who knows, you may meet someone famous. I did. Well, if you consider Tom Cochrane to be famous. (Andrea Horwath was also there but she hasn't won eight Juno Awards)

Tom Cochrane received the Stanley Knowles Humanitarian Award, (The Stanley Knowles Award is presented by OPSEU to the individual or groups who exemplify the spirit, dedication and ideals of Mr. Knowles. Stanley Knowles was an opposition MP dedicated to social justice.)

Tom Cochrane spoke to his aid work, and divulged where the inspiration to write Life is a Highway originated from. He also may or may not have sung a few words to the song. But only those who were at Convention know the answer to that question. What happens at Convention stays at Convention.

The keynote address on Day 1 was from one of the 'stars' of OPSEU's Made in the USA video. (If you haven't seen the video, you can do so here.

You can also watch Hudak's Plan B video here. State Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter, a Democrat from South Carolina - a state which has been struggling with 'right-to-work' legislation for the past 59 years. 'Language', 'Tenacity', 'Power in numbers', and to fight a 'divide and conquer' mentality were the main highlights of her speech.

Day 3 was short, only three hours rather than the 9-5 on the two previous days. We broke out into Regions for one hour and discussed the ways we can get information out to our Locals about the upcoming Election. A few Resolutions were passed, and we were finally dismissed. Off we went to enjoy the 18 degree weather. As I sit inside writing this I'll end here and get outdoors since I spent the last 2 and a bit days sitting in a room with 1,486 people. I need sunshine on my face.

Was I entertained? Yes. Was I bored? No. Did I learn something? Yes. Will I go again? Defiantly.

If you want to know more about what goes on over the course of two and a bit days I'd be happy to answer them. My email can be found on the Executive contact page.


Melanie Loiselle

V.P. Outreach

Tom Cochrane received  the Stanley Knowles Humanitarian Award from Opseu.  The President of Opseu Warren Smokey Thomas noted at the opening of the convention  that Ontario workers are in very dangerous times, but that in dangerous times com opportunities - hug opportunities.  Currently, OPSEU members are in a position to make a huge difference and to implement change  Never in the history of our union have we been so ready to influence the outcome of the upcoming Provincial election. The message coming from OPSEU Convention is the importance for OPSEU members to go and vote on Election day June 12, 2014.

 We had a guest appearance for NDP candidate Andrea Horwath.