The Conservative Government continues to try to break unions and attack the middle class. With announcements on Pay in Arrears, Sick Leave, continuing to attack our pensions, trying to tie up and bog down the union with bills such as C-377 and C-585, we continue to rise up, organize and fight. I would like to thank the leadership of our union from Robyn Benson down to the Shop Stewards, for taking up arms and banding together as a collective to build our union. It is a busy time indeed to be a union activist.
I have been extremely busy within my component over the past year. Work Force Adjustment is still a huge portfolio for me where I directly support the remaining surplus members who have not yet found work since receiving the news April 2012 that their worksite was closing. Through this process, I have met weekly with the department to discuss each individual surplus member and explore all possibilities for employment and education; I have had daily contact with each of the employees. Now with 6 members and one month left of their surplus period, Mental Health is a huge factor and time is limited. We have identified numerous barriers in Public Service Employment Act and Priority Administration Act over the past year, and I am working with others to create recommendations to send up through my component to the National Joint Council to consider changing, also there will be some bargaining demands we send through our Local to try to address some of these barriers.
Also within my component and local I have been assisting with an increase of discipline, harassment and accommodation complaints. I have been involved with several formal mediation sessions this year and have been providing support to our TC Group members. We are still in the process of finding our Shared Services Canada members and mapping them to our locals and providing them support.
Mental Health has been a huge topic for us within our component and in our region. There is an increase of mental health issues amongst our members and I have been pushing for implementation of the CHMA’s First Responders Training for all supervisors/managers and union representatives. What to do in between first contact with us and re-direction to the professionals.
Within PSAC specifically I have attended the Health and Safety Conference in Montreal, Leadership Meetings regarding the RAND formula and the “We are All Affected Campaign”, recognized Internal Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Participated in the PSAC Pride Parade, Attended the PSAS Halifax Human Rights Committee and participated in the sub-committee on Education Promotion of the Atlantic Councils Education Committee.
On a personal note, this past year has been particularly challenging with my wife going on disability and struggling with her health, my union workload and my ‘paid’ workload, I have struggled with keeping it all together and I only have to look to one of my union coll_agues for that extra push of support and strength to carry me through. For that I am thankful. To my Brothers and Sisters on council keep on speaking up and out for those who cannot.
In Solidarity and Respectfully Submitted,
Lori Walton, PSAC Atlantic Director (NS)