Your Chief Steward’s Report for the Southwest Conference:
Hello members! I recently attended the Southwest conference for the CEIU November 25 to 27, 2022. It was three days of non-stop learning. On the Friday, the PSAC regional representative, Morgan Oddie, gave some excellent information about a potential strike. One of the key points was members who have to strike would have their net pay covered by the PSAC ($75) and the CEIU ($50) and possibly – the local union. This is great news for anyone who might have to be on the picket line. The Union is looking out for us!
In terms of who would have to be on the picket line, it seems that 75% of workers would be labeled essential and have to attend the workplace (in person or virtually). 25% of workers would be on the picket lines. Members will receive a letter with their designation. Obviously, a lot more information will be communicated if we get to this point. It would likely be early Spring 2023 if a strike occurs.
Charito Humphries was there by Zoom to give an update about the bargaining team. It’s no secret that the employer is not willing to provide fair wage increases that keep pace with inflation and the cost of living. We all feel the pinch, at the grocery store (lettuce, anyone?!?), the gas pumps and in paying for housing. We worked hard during the pandemic years to look after Canadians, we continue to serve the Canadian public, and the employer needs to recognise it and compensate us fairly for the work we do.
I learned some great information about the duty to accommodate from Leslie McGee, a National Union Representative. The teaching and discussion is so helpful for your union executive as we represent our members. The more we learn, the better we can advocate for you.
One of the great things about a conference like this is the opportunity to meet some of our union leaders and other executive members. They have so much experience and knowledge to share. Various leaders such as our national vice-president for Ontario, Phil Matheson, and the National President, Eddy Bourque spoke and gave updates about union activities in the region and across Canada.
There was a lot of discussion about involving members in union activities and making sure members know what is happening with bargaining. The workplace has changed dramatically and so we are not able to meet people in the lunchroom or by the Keurig machine to have those chats. The local union is working to provide a safe, fair, and just workplace for everyone. We want you to know we are learning how to represent members and their concerns better every time we attend a conference like this.
As we face a potential strike, it is important for all of us as members to understand the issues and if it comes to a vote, to send a strong message to the employer that we are united in our desire for fair treatment! We are part of a strong, active union working for the Treasury Board and when we are united, we can change things for the better.