The day the middle class died!!

I have to share this story. It is so true and really hits home for me.

Here is the link  written by Michael Moore

And here is the story….

From time to time, someone under 30 will ask me, “When did this all begin, America’s downward slide?” They say they’ve heard of a time when working people could raise a family and send the kids to college on just one parent’s income (and that college in states like California and New York was almost free). That anyone who wanted a decent paying job could get one. That people only worked five days a week, eight hours a day, got the whole weekend off and had a paid vacation every summer. That many jobs were union jobs, from baggers at the grocery store to the guy painting your house, and this meant that no matter how “lowly” your job was you had guarantees of a pension, occasional raises, health insurance and someone to stick up for you if you were unfairly treated.On August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired every member of the air traffic controllers union (PATCO) who’d defied his order to return to work and declared their union illegal. They had been on strike for just two days.

Young people have heard of this mythical time — but it was no myth, it was real. And when they ask, “When did this all end?”, I say, “It ended on this day: August 5th, 1981.”

Beginning on this date, 30 years ago, Big Business and the Right Wing decided to “go for it” — to see if they could actually destroy the middle class so that they could become richer themselves.

And they’ve succeeded.

On August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired every member of the air traffic controllers union (PATCO) who’d defied his order to return to work and declared their union illegal. They had been on strike for just two days.

It was a bold and brash move. No one had ever tried it. What made it even bolder was that PATCO was one of only two unions that had endorsed Reagan for president! It sent a shock wave through workers across the country. If he would do this to the people who were with him, what would he do to us?

Reagan had been backed by Wall Street in his run for the White House and they, along with right-wing Christians, wanted to restructure America and turn back the tide that President Franklin D. Roosevelt started — a tide that was intended to make life better for the average working person. The rich hated paying better wages and providing benefits. They hated paying taxes even more. And they despised unions. The right-wing Christians hated anything that sounded like socialism or holding out a helping hand to minorities or women.

Reagan promised to end all that. So when the air traffic controllers went on strike, he seized the moment. In getting rid of every single last one of them and outlawing their union, he sent a clear and strong message: The days of everyone having a comfortable middle class life were over. America, from now on, would be run this way:

* The super-rich will make more, much much more, and the rest of you will scramble for the crumbs that are left.

* Everyone must work! Mom, Dad, the teenagers in the house! Dad, you work a second job! Kids, here’s your latch-key! Your parents might be home in time to put you to bed.

* 50 million of you must go without health insurance! And health insurance companies: you go ahead and decide who you want to help — or not.

* Unions are evil! You will not belong to a union! You do not need an advocate! Shut up and get back to work! No, you can’t leave now, we’re not done. Your kids can make their own dinner.

* You want to go to college? No problem — just sign here and be in hock to a bank for the next 20 years!

* What’s “a raise”? Get back to work and shut up!

And so it went. But Reagan could not have pulled this off by himself in 1981. He had some big help:

The AFL-CIO.

The biggest organization of unions in America told its members to cross the picket lines of the air traffic controllers and go to work. And that’s just what these union members did. Union pilots, flight attendants, delivery truck drivers, baggage handlers — they all crossed the line and helped to break the strike. And union members of all stripes crossed the picket lines and continued to fly.

Reagan and Wall Street could not believe their eyes! Hundreds of thousands of working people and union members endorsing the firing of fellow union members. It was Christmas in August for Corporate America.

And that was the beginning of the end. Reagan and the Republicans knew they could get away with anything — and they did. They slashed taxes on the rich. They made it harder for you to start a union at your workplace. They eliminated safety regulations on the job. They ignored the monopoly laws and allowed thousands of companies to merge or be bought out and closed down. Corporations froze wages and threatened to move overseas if the workers didn’t accept lower pay and less benefits. And when the workers agreed to work for less, they moved the jobs overseas anyway.

And at every step along the way, the majority of Americans went along with this. There was little opposition or fight-back. The “masses” did not rise up and protect their jobs, their homes, their schools (which used to be the best in the world). They just accepted their fate and took the beating.

I have often wondered what would have happened had we all just stopped flying, period, back in 1981. What if all the unions had said to Reagan, “Give those controllers their jobs back or we’re shutting the country down!”? You know what would have happened. The corporate elite and their boy Reagan would have buckled.

But we didn’t do it. And so, bit by bit, piece by piece, in the ensuing 30 years, those in power have destroyed the middle class of our country and, in turn, have wrecked the future for our young people. Wages have remained stagnant for 30 years. Take a look at the statistics and you can see that every decline we’re now suffering with had it’s beginning in 1981 (here’s a little scene to illustrate that from my last movie).

It all began on this day, 30 years ago. One of the darkest days in American history. And we let it happen to us. Yes, they had the money, and the media and the cops. But we had 200 million of us. Ever wonder what it would look like if 200 million got truly upset and wanted their country, their life, their job, their weekend, their time with their kids back?

Have we all just given up? What are we waiting for? Forget about the 20% who support the Tea Party — we are the other 80%! This decline will only end when we demand it. And not through an online petition or a tweet. We are going to have to turn the TV and the computer and the video games off and get out in the streets (like they’ve done in Wisconsin). Some of you need to run for local office next year. We need to demand that the Democrats either get a spine and stop taking corporate money — or step aside.

When is enough, enough? The middle class dream will not just magically reappear. Wall Street’s plan is clear: America is to be a nation of Haves and Have Nothings. Is that OK for you?

Why not use today to pause and think about the little steps you can take to turn this around in your neighborhood, at your workplace, in your school? Is there any better day to start than today?

P.S. Here are a few places you can connect with to get the ball rolling:

Regional Picnic 2016 – Saturday June 11, 2016

Region 3 will be holding their annual Family Picnic. All members and their families are welcome to attend.

We will be having a Barbecue,  games, bouncy toys, races and prizes for the kids.

Saturday June 11, 2016 from 12 noon until 4 pm.

BASS LAKE PROVINCIAL PARK, 2540 Bass Lake Sideroad East, Oro-Medonte.

Link for DIRECTIONS

Printable Flyer

Scholarships 2016

Scholarships

NEW OPSEU CAAT – Support Staff Scholarship Fund

OPSEU Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT) Support Staff workers are pleased to announce the “OPSEU CAAT Support Staff Scholarship.” This is an annual scholarship given to a full-time student in one of the 24 Colleges of Applied Arts & Technology.

Who can apply:

In this debut year, we will offer four (4) x $1,000 scholarships. The scholarship is open to all students enrolled full-time at any of the 24 recognized public Ontario colleges.

Eligibility:  All applicants must be residents of Ontario and registered in one of the following  Ontario Colleges: Fanshawe, Lambton, St.Clair, Niagara, Conestoga, Mohawk, Sheridan, Durham, Fleming, Georgian, Algonquin, St.Lawrence, Loyalist, La Cite, George Brown, Seneca, Centennial, Humber, Boreal, Cambrian, Sault, Canadore, Northern, Confederation.

How to apply:

The CAAT Support Divisional Executive has chosen the topic of “Precarious Work” for this year’s scholarship theme. The awards will go to four submissions that best addresses the topic of risks and remedies associated with precarious work.

Applications can be in any of the following forms:

  • Poem
  • Song
  • 500-word written essay
  • Video (2 minutes in length)

Click here to download application. Application Deadline for OPSEU CAAT – Support Staff Scholarship Fund is January 31, 2016.

Submit application to:
Marilou Martin, Chair OPSEU CAAT Support Divisional Executive
100 Lesmill Road Toronto ON M3B 3P8 or by email to opseucaatsscholarships2016@gmail.com

The Larry Cripps Scholarship Fund

The OPSEU Executive Board unanimously approved an annual bursary/scholarship of $1,000 to be awarded in the memory of Brother Larry Cripps, a Correctional Officer and longtime union activist who died in 2004.

Who can apply:

The scholarship is open to dependents of OPSEU members in good standing who are confirmed as enrolled in either a Police Foundations course or a Law and Security/Corrections course at a publicly-funded, publicly-run post-secondary institution in Ontario.  Please submit your relationship to an OPSEU member and the number of his/her Local on your application form.

How to apply:

The following items must be submitted with your application and received by OPSEU by email or mail on or before the application deadline (see application form for mailing and email addresses):

  • The application form, completed fully
  • Personal statement about why you have chosen to study corrections, and what your future goals are as a result of your studies
  • 2000 (max) word essay responding to both of the following questions:

    What are the major issues facing correctional workers in the Ontario correctional system today, and how does their union, OPSEU, help workers deal with these issues? What are the strengths of a publicly-funded, publicly-run, correctional services system for Ontario?

Click here to download application Application Deadline for the Larry Cripps Scholarship: June 15, 2016. Applications received after this date will not be considered.

OPSEU Global Solidarity Scholarships

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union offers ten scholarships annually of $1,000 each to support our goals of social justice and global solidarity.

OPSEU has made the fight against HIV/AIDS a top priority in our work towards a healthier international community by adopting the Live and Let Live Fund as part of our responsibility as a trade union.

HIV/AIDS activism and international worker solidarity across borders are the foundation of the OPSEU scholarships. We will ask our applicants to tell us about them in essay format, along with a summary of their personal involvement in helping to build our communities.

Who can apply:

Applicants must be children, foster children or wards of OPSEU members in good standing who are studying at a publicly-funded, publicly-run Canadian university or college. Please submit your relationship to an OPSEU member and the number of his/her Local on your application form.

At least five of the 10 scholarships will be awarded to students who identify as representing equity-seeking groups: racialized workers, Aboriginal workers, workers with disabilities; LGBTTIQQ2S (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, transsexual, intersexed, queer, questioning, and two-spirited) workers, francophone workers and women workers.  Applicants should acknowledge their eligibility for this equity qualification on their application form, if applicable.

How to apply:

The following items must be submitted with your application, and received by OPSEU by email or mail on or before the application deadline date (see application form for email and mailing addresses):

  • The application form, completed fully
  • 1,500 word essay responding to one of the following questions:

    1. Why is HIV/AIDS an issue for all people and how can you contribute to making a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS?

    2. Why is worker solidarity across borders so important?

  • Summary of your recent community, union, or other volunteer work, which helps to build healthy communities in Ontario

Click here to download application Application Deadline for the Global Solidarity Scholarship: June 15, 2016. Applications received after this date will not be considered.

Curt Bishop Scholarship Fund

OPSEU offers an annual scholarship up to $1,000, in part or whole, in the memory of Curt Bishop, a long-time union health and safety activist who passed away on June 30, 2008.

As a member of the Corrections division, Local 678 (Algoma Treatment and Remand Centre), Curt understood that improvements in workplace health and safety come only through worker action and effort.  For more than two decades, Curt dedicated himself at both the local and provincial levels to the struggles of OPSEU members to achieve safer and healthier workplaces.

Who can apply:

Open to dependents of OPSEU members in good standing who are studying at a publicly-funded, publicly-run post-secondary institution in Ontario.

How to apply:

The following items must be submitted with your application, and received by OPSEU by email or mail on or before the application deadline date (see application form for email and mailing addresses):

  • Application form, completed fully
  • 1,500 word essay responding to the following question:

    Why is worker activism and union involvement important to make meaningful health and safety improvements in a workplace?

  • Summary of your recent community, union, or other volunteer work, which helps to build awareness of workplace, community, or environmental health and safety

Click here to download application Application Deadline for the Curt Bishop Scholarship: July 29, 2016. Applications received after this date will not be considered.

HPD Scholarship Fund

The Hospital Professionals Division offers seven scholarships (one per region) of $750 each annually to students who are entering professions within the HPD. (For more information about the HPD, and a list of professions included, click here.)

Who can apply:

The scholarship is open to OPSEU members or their dependents who are confirmed as enrolled in a Hospital Professionals program at a publicly-funded, publicly-run Canadian university or college.  If you are a dependent of an OPSEU member, please submit the member’s name, your relationship him or her, and the number of his or her Local on your application form.

How to apply:

The following items must be submitted with your application, and received by OPSEU by email or mail on or before the application deadline date (see application form for email and mailing addresses):

  • Application form, completed fully
  • Personal statement about why you have chosen a hospital profession, and what your future goals are.
  • 1,500 (max) word essay responding to both of the following questions:

    What are the major issues facing Hospital Professionals today, and how does OPSEU help workers deal with these issues? In your opinion, what are the strengths of a publicly-funded health care system?

Click here to download application Application Deadline for the HPD Scholarship: September 1, 2016. Applications received after this date will not be considered.

The Carol McGregor Scholarship

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union offers an annual scholarship of $1,500 in the memory of Carol McGregor, a longtime union activist on disability rights issues, who died in 2006.

Who can apply:

This scholarship is open to children of OPSEU members in good standing who have a visible or invisible disability and are pursuing post-secondary education at a university, community college or trades program. Extra consideration will be given to students who have participated in a collective action or community organizing on disability or human rights issues.

How to apply:

The following items must be submitted with your application, and received by OPSEU by email or mail on or before the application deadline date (see application form for email and mailing addresses):

  • Application form, completed fully
  • Short essay (no more than 1,000 words) on a topic related to disability issues
  • A brief resume indicating your disability, accomplishments, field of study, and your relationship to an OPSEU member in good standing

Click here to download application Application Deadline for the Carol McGregor Scholarship: September 15, 2016. Applications received after this date will not be considered.

External Scholarships

NUPGE Scholarship

Our national affiliate, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), offers scholarships for students who are children of OPSEU members. For further information, visit NUPGE Scholarship Program 2016.

Publication Date:

Thursday, December 24, 2015 (All day)

Young Workers Conference

2016 Young Workers Conference

Event Date

Friday, August 5, 2016 – 5:00pm to Sunday, August 7, 2016 – 12:00pm

The Provincial Young Workers Committee (PYC) is accepting applications to attend this year’s Young Workers Conference!  The event will take place from August 5-7, 2016 at the Chelsea Hotel in downtown Toronto.  All OPSEU young workers, 35 years old and under, are encouraged to apply!

This year’s conference, “The Precarious Generation,” will build on the discussions, committments and skills introduced at last year’s event.  The goal will be to provide participants with an understanding of activism and the need for young workers to take a role in shaping their future.  A series of interactive activities and workshops are being planned.  In addition, a roster of dynamic speakers has been invited to share their experiences on issues that greatly impact young workers today.

Participants will also be equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to build on their leadership potential within OPSEU.  The objective will be to leave the event with solid ideas which they can take back to locals, workplaces and communities for immediate action.

Space is limited so don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of this event!  Applications will be accepted until midnight, Tuesday May 31, 2016.  Please e-mail the completed form toyoungworkersconference@opseu.org or fax it to the Equity Unit at 416-448-7419.

 

Download the Conference Call Package

en_young_worker_conference_call_web_revised.pdf

 

Contact your PYC Representative

https://opseu.org/information/about-provincial-young-workers-committee

Health and Safety Awards

When I started with this company over 10 years ago, the health and safety standards in our workplaces were lacking.

The company did not have lift tables and employees were breaking down skids of product from the ground. This caused many long term employees injuries that have caused life long effects. Since the injuries were due to the long term effects of musculoskeletal injuries, many have been denied claims of WSIB and long term disability. I have even seen 25 year plus employees forced into early retirement due to their injuries losing thousands of dollars from their pensions.

The pallets from the warehouse were stacked so precariously that when you cut the rope, the boxes would fall causing damage to the product and sometimes injuring employees. Once injured, they also have been denied claims of injury at work.

Steel toed shoes were not necessary, causing many foot injuries to employees.

The workers health and safety representatives were chosen by management and work inspections were just filled out as being compliant without ever fixing what was unsafe. This went on until an order was made by the Ministry of Labour in 2009.

Through diligence of many employees that were active in our Union and through our unions health and safety training, these employees pushed the employer to do the right thing. The knowledge given to us by our union made us aware of our rights. There were many workers that the employer tried to hush but we all pushed forward even though we were singled out and sometimes punished by the employer.

Recently, I couldn’t help but notice on the portal at work, that the management team won awards for health and safety.

The awards should go to the workers, that have pushed and pursued health and safety in the workplace, forcing the employer to make things easier, better and safer in our workplaces.

Kudos to all the workers who are diligent in assuring our workplaces are safer for all workers. Keep up the good work!

In Solidarity,

Maria Bauer

 

 

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In Solidarity

Maria Bauer

Congratulations!

I just wanted to thank everyone for taking time on their Sunday to attend the General Membership meeting. We had record numbers in attendance.

The local has a whole new executive and 10 stewards.

It has been an honor and privilege to be your local president for the past four years.

I am still a steward and will continue to represent members. You may still contact me on my cell phone and via email anytime.

This website will be going through some revisions and some pages may not be available until the revisions are completed. Andew Scholarship 2016

In Solidarity,

Maria Bauer

Union Busting

Even though we already have a union,  many of the tactics below are being used daily. Please read the article below carefully and recognize what is going on in your workplace and union functions. They put the workers against each other with the old theory of

” divide and conquer”.

 

What to Expect from your Employer when you Organize

What will my Employer do?

Most employers don’t want their employees to be in a union. Think about it: employers go from having total control to having to share power with workers who stand together. From their perspective, organized workers will cost more money and require that they follow a legally-binding contract, when before they could do it however they wanted.

Usually when employees show interest in organizing a Union, the company responds with an anti-union program. They may begin group meetings to try to scare workers out of signing authorization cards or talking to union representatives. They may also start a “nice” campaign and suddenly become interested in workplace problems and even offer “quick fix” solutions, like raises or improved benefits. Where does their new found concern come from? Their only hope is to discourage you from Union representation.

Prepare yourself!
If you and your co-workers know WHAT TO EXPECT, the employer’s tactics will shine through as what they really are: desperate attempts to keep things the way they are by trying to crush the power of workers unified in the workplace.

Employers will often hire union-busting firms who specialize in scaring workers with misinformation and fear tactics. Here’s what they’ll tell your employer to do. If you anticipate these actions and talk with your co-workers about them before they happen, the employer’s power to scare workers is significantly less.

Union-busting: What’s Legal and What’s Not 
Employers can legally run anti-union campaigns, but there are some things they CANNOT do (see Illegal Employer Behaviors). If your employer takes part in these activities, the union can file an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

Most employers rely on union-busting consultants to run a campaign to convince you not to form a union. These consultants have a standard “playbook” of tactics they pull out and run time and again. These include:

LETTERS, LETTERS AND MORE LETTERS: The “Union Busters” will write lots of letters during the campaign. Only, they will be signed not by the “Union busters,” but by the company president, facility/company administrators and some well-liked managers and supervisors.

LOVE LETTERSSome letters will say how much the management/administration really appreciates the work employees have done for the facility/company. Some might even admit past mistakes.

THE UGLY UNION LETTERS: Most of the letters will paint an ugly picture of the Union. They want you to think the Union has a lot to hide. They will never give the Union credit for anything it has achieved at other facilities.

SUPERVISOR PRESSURE: The “Union busters” will use supervisors as the front line troops against the Union — delivering letters, informal chats and even speeches prepared by the “Union busters.”

LOVE OFFERINGS: The “Union busters” will tell management to hand out larger than expected wage increases and/or improved benefits. They might even restore lost health insurance benefits, wages, differentials, etc. They might establish or revise employee participation committees. They want to show you that you don’t need a Union to get things done. The point is to convince you that the boss is really a good guy who can be trusted in the future.

A HELPING HAND: The “Union busters” will tell the facility to start correcting problems: Big things and nagging little things will now be fixed. Management will solicit and settle grievances.

LET’S BE PALS: Administrators/Supervisors will be everywhere, walking the floors day and night, setting up spur-of-the-moment meetings so that they can fix what’s on your mind. You might even be invited to lunch!

ONE-ON-ONES: The “Union busters” will have supervisors call employees in for face-to-face discussions about the Union. The supervisors will have been told exactly what to say by the “Union busters.”

MANDATORY MEETINGS: Employees will be required – on paid time while your normal work is piling up – to attend meetings where the administrators/Managers will deliver a speech prepared by the “Union busters.” These meetings will not be intended to be a free and open debate.

DIVIDE AND CONQUER: The “Union busters” will try to play one group of employees against another – “disloyal” Union supporters against “loyal pro-company” Union opponents. One department against another, men versus women, etc.

“VOTE NO” COMMITTEE: A committee of concerned employees might be set up to “stand up for” the facility and “against the bullying” tactics of the Union. The committee members will want to save the facility/company from the Union and give management another chance.

SO LONG, IT’S BEEN GOOD TO KNOW YOU: If all else fails, the administrators, personnel director or some other big management type will be forced to resign or be fired. Then, the facility will try to persuade you to give the new administrator/Manager “another chance” to make things better.

Don’t be fooled by these “Union Busting” tactics.
Having a Union at work is YOUR RIGHT!

The definition of “divide and conquer”

Also, divide and govern or rule. Win by getting one’s opponents to fight among themselves. For example, Divide and conquer was once a very successful policy in sub-Saharan Africa. This expression is a translation of the Latin maxim, Divide et impera (“divide and rule”), and began to appear in English about 1600.