On Wednesday February 20, 2019 over 50 members of different Unifor locals, OPSEU and myself joined for a meeting with 57 MPP’s at Queen’s Park. The day started with Unifor President Jerry Dias and OPSEU President Smokey Thomas holding a press conference to explain our positions and goals before our busy day of meetings.
Afterwards, we were split into smaller groups of 4; two from OPSEU and two from Unifor, and given 2, 3 or 4 appointments with MPP’s. My group had our first two meetings with;
NDP MPP’s Kevin Yarde (Brampton North)
Sol Mamakwa – Kiiwetinoong –
Our third meeting was with PC MPP Nina Tangri (Mississauga-Streetsville)
During each meeting we explained to the MPPs what the issues are for both our members and Ontarians. Discussions were held on mental health, violence in the workplace, privatization, health care, WSIB, pharmacare and the Oshawa GM plant closure.
We were certain to express our concern over the government’s plans for privatizing our healthcare system. PC MPP Tangri stated they would not be privatizing the health care system. This is something we will need to pay close attention to in the future and hold the Ontario Government accountable. She also mentioned WSIB would be going through a major overhaul, and stated it was “much needed”. I am not sure what this could mean but most changes to the WSIB and its policies have not been good for the worker.
After leaving the meetings at Queen’s Park, I bumped into PC MPP for Mississauga-Lakeshore, and Unifor Local 707 member, Rudy Cuzzetto. We had a good discussion about the day’s events and the Ontario Governments stance on a few different issues. We did not agree on many issues but he did state he would be willing to come and have more discussions with us in the future.
This was my first chance to be given an opportunity to lobby. I look forward to my next chance but in the meantime, I will be following up with these three MPP’s to ensure they heard our message and follow through with their statements.
Local 707 Financial Secretary
The press conference can be watched at this link: https://www.facebook.com/UniforCanada/videos/410341813105973/
Unifor Press release:
The Ontario Government has since tabled a bill that will dissolve 20 health agencies to form one “super agency”.
We will need to keep an eye on what this will do to our health care system. My local MPP Parm Gill continues to state “Access to publicly funded health care is not open for debate by our government”.