Summer Round Up: Building Our Union and Protecting Our Public Services

Over the course of a summer where public services are even more threatened by the federal government, the Halifax office of PSAC was working hard to bring together its members and educate the public on the important work being done by the public sector.

The summer kicked off when the PSAC brought its Save Our Farms campaign to a garden fair hosted by Halifax MP Megan Leslie. Attendees were very supportive, and surprised to learn that such an amazing program was on the chopping block. Well over a hundred people signed the petition to save the prison farm program.

PSAC then brought its Think Public campaign to Halifax Jazz Festival. Music enthusiasts, including a few current and former members, expressed their support for the public service. Many took literature explaining how our tax dollars define our society by paying for critical programs and defining the threats posed to them.

Getting out of the metro for awhile, the Antigonish Highland Games played host to PSAC’s message about the importance of public services. It was especially relevant, because of the fightback campaign going on in the area to protect the National Philatelic Centre, which has been targeted by the Harper government as part of its mission to privatize Canada Post. A barbecue was held in support of those workers who could be unemployed if the Conservative government gets its way.

In perhaps its brightest event of the summer, the Public Service Alliance took part in the annual Pride Parade in Halifax. Joined by about a dozen public service workers and some of their children, the PSAC marched with the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union, Halifax-Dartmouth Labour Council, Service Employees International Union and the Canadian Autoworkers Union. Marchers handed our rainbow buttons, pins and flags.

Not yet marched-out, PSAC climbed aboard an antique fire truck to celebrate Halifax’s birthday. Thousands of Haligonians lined the streets to celebrate. Our members passed out ‘Public Service Are Cool!’ fans, which spectators were happy to use on such a hot day.

Next up was the first of PSAC’s ‘building our workplace’ barbecues. Held for the Service Canada and HRDC Income Security offices, the barbecue was a huge hit. Members proved that there is such a thing as a free lunch and read up on some of the PSAC’s current campaigns.

PSAC travelled to the other end of the province, to Cape Breton Island, for a couple of days to participate in the Sydney pride parade. Definitely the largest and most vibrant pride week on the island yet, the Public Service Alliance once again joined the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour to march alongside the parade’s first-ever real float. Decorated with various union flags, the flat-bed truck that blasted music onto the hundreds of spectators on Charlotte street certainly made an impression.

Before returning back to Halifax, PSAC hosted a barbecue for the downtown government offices on Dorchester street in Sydney. Hundreds of employees turned out to support their union and eat some hotdogs and hamburgers.

by: Justin Ling