Ontario Public Service (OPS) workers, members of OPSEU, have said enough to Wynne’s attempt to cut wages, jobs and push through concessions on public sector workers.
Wynne has vowed to enact austerity measures for public sector workers and public services. Following in the footsteps of her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, she has kept the door open to privatizing public services—most recently IT services—and continuing public private partnerships.
Wynne has also promised to continue to play hardball in public sector bargaining, maintaining wages freezes and pushing concessions. Her current contract offer to OPS workers includes two-tier wages, starting new hires at 5 per cent below the current rate, cuts to health benefits, and changes to working conditions. This, along with zero wage increases on top of two years of wage freezes, means public sector workers are rapidly losing ground and public services are being eroded.
OPS workers voted 90 per cent for a strike mandate in December 2014 and are currently mobilizing for potential strike action. In a series of pickets and rallies, OPSEU members, have targeted Liberal MPPs and dogged Wynne at recent public appearances, especially in Toronto. They are calling out Wynne for continuing corporate tax breaks and for blaming the public sector workers and unions for budget deficits.
Wynne, Harper and Trudeau
Wynne’s majority victory last June was precipitated by the thumping of anti-worker, anti-union PC candidate Tim Hudak. It was Wynne, sadly, not the NDP who was able to strategically tack left, with support for an increased minimum wage for example. Wynne has been able to project a left face through progressive positions on some social issues. She has been publicly challenging Harper and it is no secret that her progressive profile will bolster Justin Trudeau’s current leftward lean going into a federal election campaign. OPSEU workers are challenging her real agenda and exposing her hypocrisy.