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Hudak cuts could cost city 2,700 jobs: OPSEU

Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak's plan to cut 100,000 public service jobs if he is elected could put more than 2,700 people in Sudbury out of work, said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OP
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Ontario Public Service Employees Union president Warren (Smokey) Thomas toured Sudbury on Thursday to encourage his members to vote in the provincial election. His union is officially non-partisan, but has taken a strong stance against a proposal for public sector job cuts from the Progressive Conservatives. Photo by Jonathan Migneault.
Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak's plan to cut 100,000 public service jobs if he is elected could put more than 2,700 people in Sudbury out of work, said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).

The numbers were echoed by a study by the Canadian Union of Public Employees' senior economist, Toby Sanger, which determined 2,785 people in Greater Sudbury would lose their jobs if Hudak had the opportunity to enact his platform.

Thomas, who toured Sudbury on Thursday to encourage his members to get out and vote, said around 1,700 of the estimated job cuts in Sudbury would be provincial government employees, and another 1,100 would be from spinoff industries that rely on government contracts.

He said the number was determined by looking at Sudbury's share of public service employees while taking the 100,000 cuts into account.

But the number is only a loose estimate, said Thomas, and the true impact of any proposed cuts would depend on which ministries are targeted most.

“You might get lucky and lose 1,000 or you might get unlucky and lose 3,000,” he said.

The Progressive Conservatives have said the 100,000 public sector job cuts would come from cutting government spending from $119.4 billion to $111.8 billion over four years.

The job cuts, the party has said, would result from attrition, early retirement, layoffs and contracting out work.
Thomas and his union have taken particular issue with that last point.

OPSEU has campaigned against the privatization of government services. Thomas cited the Ornge air ambulance service, highway maintenance and eHealth Ontario has examples of failed privatization efforts.

“They've all just been big boondoggles where the private sector has gotten rich and the taxpayers have gotten hosed,” he said.

Jonathan Migneault

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