On May 23-25, 2014, twenty members age 30 and under from the four Atlantic Provinces came to Halifax to attend the PSAC Atlantic Young Workers Symposium. This was the third event geared specifically to young workers to take place in the region since 2009, and the biggest yet.
The Symposium provided a forum for members to discuss critical issues facing young workers in their union, in their workplaces and in society. And the truth is, things aren’t easy for them. Young workers today are the first generation to be worse off than their parents. Faced with chronic unemployment and underemployment, increased casualization of work and rampant two-tiering, there has never been a greater need for strong unions for young workers.
At the symposium, we explored the divisions neo-liberalism creates between workers and generations of workers, within communities and in the labour movement as a whole. And we talked about ways of strengthening our union and fighting back. Ways like:
- Daring to imagine that another world is possible
- Resisting any efforts to pit worker against worker
- Expanding our union work to include other unions, the unorganized and our communities
- Building worker power through labour councils
- Using a worker-centered perspective
- And mobilizing with all our might against austerity
Participants learned more about the labour movement and how to access PSAC’s political and administrative structures. They also gained skills to support young worker issues and to engage other young members in their union.
The symposium was an excellent opportunity for young union members to network with each other and to work together towards building a union for current and future generations of workers.