Tag Archives: Warren “Smokey” Thomas

Kingston psychiatric hospital sheds about a fifth of its workforce to cope with $6 million cut

KINGSTON – Facing $6 million in budget cuts, Providence Care is telling staff today of one of the biggest job losses in the history of the former Kingston Psychiatric hospital.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union has been told the mental health facility will be shedding as many as 80-90 jobs to meet their target reduction of 60 full-time equivalent positions by next spring. This represents almost one in five jobs at the hospital.

The job reductions are part of restructuring of local health care, although the union says the planning it is based on is 20 years out-of-date.

“Providence is already under considerable stress,” says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “The situation is volatile as too few staff are trying to manage patients with increasing care needs. This raises questions of both safety and quality of care.”

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Summer election may be fought over sneaky clause in budget bill

Dalton McGuinty is threatening to pull the plug on his own government after the opposition parties amended his budget bill yesterday in the legislature’s finance committee.

Like the Harper government budget bill, the McGuinty government inserted a large number of legislative amendments to create a massive omnibus bill. Many of these the NDP and Conservative opposition stripped out yesterday with their 5-4 majority on the committee.

Among them is the controversial Schedule 28 which would give the government enhanced latitude to privatize public services without returning to the legislative assembly for debate and approval.

McGuinty claims the Schedule is to facilitate the complete privatization of ServiceOntario, itself a mistake. High-profile lawyer Paul Cavalluzzo accompanied OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas to the legislative committee last week to point out that such privatization potentially opens up serious privacy concerns given U.S. subsidiaries would be forced by American law to share sensitive information gathered by ServiceOntario with the American government.

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Video: Rally to save the Thunder Bay CBS Plasma Donation Centre

Politicians, donors, staff and union officials rallied outside Canadian Blood Services’ Thunder Bay Plasma Donation Centre on April 11, 2012.

CBS is plans on closing the centre April 12, placing 28 staff out of work.

While it claims it does not need the 10,800 annual units of plasma from donors in Thunder Bay, CBS notes in its last annual report that it is importing 20,000 units of “surplus” plasma from the United States.

To watch a video of today’s rally, click below.

April 11 rally at CBS Thunder Bay Plasma Donation Centre

Mayors, OPSEU President to speak at April 11 rally to save Thunder Bay plasma center

THUNDER BAY – Two mayors and the President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union will be among speakers at a rally next week intended to save the Thunder Bay Plasma Collection Centre.

Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs and former Mayor Ken Boshcoff will be joined by OPSEU’s Warren (Smokey) Thomas and other speakers at the April 11th rally in front of the Canadian Blood Services site slated for closure the next day.

The Thunder Bay plasma collection facility is the only one of its kind in Canada.

CBS says it doesn’t need the Thunder Bay facility given it has an excess supply of 10,000 units of plasma per year. However, their annual reports reveal that CBS has been increasing the volume of plasma it has been purchasing from the United States. In their 2010-11 report, CBS indicated they purchased more than 20,000 units of “surplus” American-sourced plasma.

When: Wednesday, April 11 / 12 Noon
Where: CBS Thunder Bay, 1165 Barton St.

“CBS is not only importing foreign-sourced plasma, it is exporting Canadian jobs,” says Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the 130,000-member Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

OPSEU warns that American “paid” blood donations are contrary to the World Health Organization’s 2010 recommendations to reduce transfusion-transmissible infections.

While CBS tells the public about excess supply, it has a different message for hospitals, indicating the demand for immunoglobulin (made from blood plasma) rose by 9 per cent last year and is expected to jump by a similar amount again this year. Immunoglobulin is used to boost the immune system of cancer patients and allows for more aggressive chemotherapy treatment.

New Video: Faces of Support – Making Ontario’s Hospitals run effectively

This new video looks behind the scenes at the contributions highly skilled support staff make to the daily running of a hospital. It is a big mistake to assume these individuals are expendable during times of austerity — experience tells us these workers are key to making hospitals both safe and efficient. Clearly from the stories they tell, what patients also value is a smile and someone who treats them with dignity. This video was shot last year at York Central Hospital in Richmond Hill and at the Kingston Hotel Dieu Hospital as a project of OPSEU’s Hospital Support Division.

Faces of Support (2012) 14 minutes – Featuring Jill McIlwraith (Chair, OPSEU Hospital Support Division), Warren “Smokey” Thomas (President, OPSEU).

Click here to watch the movie:


Video: After the Storm – Occupy Toronto Day 6

OPSEU President Warren “Smokey” Thomas arrives at Occupy Toronto with Indian take-out for 400. The day after a violent thunderstorm and heavy rains, the tent city continues to expand despite the mud and damp. Solar generators have arrived with the promise of making the camp even more self-sufficient. Christmas lights are found in the logistics tent, suggesting this is going to be a long stay.