SJYWC 2015 ANNUAL REPORT
On March 25th, 2015 the St. John’s Young Workers Committee (SJYWC) met for the first time and elected their executive. The Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer, each with their own roles and responsibilities, were the positions that were filled. To be honest I had no idea what I was getting involved with. I had no idea what I had signed up for. But accepting the Chair position of the SJYWC has turned out to be a great decision as it has been a rewarding experience.
Once the committee was formed all the “fun” began. At the first executive meeting we agreed that the committee needed to reach out, network and build our connections with other young workers within PSAC. To be successful we needed to increase our contacts and widen the spread of information to members 35 and under. To target the social media audience the committee created a Facebook and Twitter account and also have developed a distribution list. Although expansion remains a priority, together the committee worked towards our objective; staying focused we successfully increased our membership and committee attendance.
We have become leaders in our own workplaces, reaching out to other young workers, encouraging them to get involved, become active and join the young workers committee. We promote the committee and the information the young workers and the union have to share. There are a number of ways members can get involved; attending meetings, helping out with the committee’s events, simply joining our distribution channels (e-mail, facebook, twitter) and more.
Throughout the year a number of young workers and committee members have had the opportunity to take advantage of various educational opportunities offered though the union. PSAC offers a variety of training courses provided to educate members about the union, understanding your collective agreement and your rights and responsibilities as a worker. I, myself, have had the opportunity to attend Atlantic School in Antigonish, NS, where I had the opportunity to interact with other young workers in the Atlantic region.
This year the SJYWC has been represented at various community events including the St. John’s Pride Parade & Festival and the Labour Day Picnic organized by the St. John’s District Labour Council. Members of the SJYWC executive represented PSAC’s Young Workers at the National Day of Mourning. The SJYWC sent a young worker representative to the Newfoundland & Labrador Federation of Labour Convention 2015 – “Safe at Work – Affirming Our Rights & Dignity”.
Some things I have learned since joining the young workers committee include how to chair meetings, develop and interpret by laws, create and follow a budget, delegate tasks and allocate business. I also have learned how to seek support from PSAC, other committees and locals. Another major benefit of being a part of the young workers committee is that the committee provides you with the opportunity to build relationships with our fellow brothers and sisters. It allows you to network with other young workers, activists and other union members including PSAC representatives.
Personally, I feel the best part about working with the SJYWC is having the opportunity to interact with other young workers. The PSAC represents a large group of employees that come from a variety of workplaces. The committee allows young workers to share and compare our experiences with each other. This helps us explore the variety of challenges young workers face in their very own workplaces and propose solutions.
Over the course of 2015 another major accomplishment was that the young workers successfully increased the age in which a young worker is defined from 30 to 35 at the PSAC National Convention. The increase is beneficial to the young workers committee and it is justified as it better reflects our make up among members.
I am looking forward to more exciting opportunities in 2016 for the SJYWC.
Chair – SJYWC