TORONTO — Unifor and the Canadian Labour Congress both say they’re optimistic that peacemaking efforts from Ontario’s largest public sector union can help them end their war over the rights of workers to choose which union should represent them.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, said he stepped up Monday to attempt to repair the rift, which was exacerbated when Unifor left the national lobby group for Canada’s labour movement in mid-December.
He said if it continues for much longer, he believes it will “rip apart the labour movement at all levels” and push more unions to raid each other’s members.
“I don’t want to see the house of labour fall apart,” Thomas said in an interview. “I am not going to sit around and not try.”
His efforts to unite the two manifested itself in a letter he released urging Unifor national president Jerry Dias and Congress president Hassan Yussuff “to park their grievances, table their differences and figure out a way to reach consensus.”
Dias said he applauds Thomas for the attempt to repair the relationship.
“I think this bodes well,” Dias said in an interview. “It is a step in the right direction.”