On March 18, members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union met in seven regional assemblies across the province to elect members of the union’s executive board, as well as to fill equity seeking committees and send delegates to affiliated labour bodies.
A campaign for “class struggle and union democracy”, launched in Toronto, succeeded in electing socialist Julius Arscott to one of three executive board seats in the Toronto region. The 188 delegates also elected militants Myles Magner, who is the Regional Vice President, and Jessica Sikora. Seven candidates contested the election, offering a spectrum of views from left to right. The successful candidates, all on the left, won on the first ballot, each garnering over 50% of the votes cast.
Myles Magner received a strong 76.5% after declaring that, if elected, he would run for President of OPSEU against incumbent Smokey Thomas who is mired in controversy over concessions bargaining, bad relations with staff, and possible collusion with a community college boss to have a union activist fired.
A clear mandate for change emerged from the Toronto Region 5 meeting of OPSEU. There are indications of this sentiment across the province. Elected are eight new Executive Board Members, some 40% of the top executive. This result comes at a volatile time, rife with intimidation tactics directed against union activists. One case is currently before the Ontario Labour Relations Board.