What is your role in the union?
I was elected as a Steward for the local 70712 at our last Annual General Meeting in 2019. I started as a building contact for my local, and then became a building representative, and I am now a Steward. I see my role as being a point of contact for PSAC members, ensuring members in my building are up-to-date with PSAC and local activities, and representing them on first level grievances. As a worker, I am a full-time Chemistry Technologist at the National Wildlife Research Center at Carleton University
When did you first get involved in the union?
I first got involved in the union in 2012 when I was elected as a building contact for the local. That year, I took the Talking Union Basics course, which was the start of my union education. I learned about unions, organized labor, mobilization, workers’ rights, health and safety in the workplace, how to deal with bullies at work and more. I've also taken union training and participated in PSAC campaigns. One of the reasons that I decided to get more involved was because I realized that I can’t complain about an issue that I want to change if I don’t get involved, act or participate.
What are some of the victories and campaigns you've worked on?
I've been involved in the Phoenix and Bargaining campaign for Treasury Board members, attending rallies and demonstrations. I’ve participated in sit-ins and distributed union information to public servants. I recently helped phoning and door-to-door canvassing to encourage members to vote, in the federal election, for public services.
Additionally, the grievances that I’ve helped with have all been victories. My strategy has been: meet with the member and their employer, conduct a discussion and highlight each perspective on the issue, resulting in a win-win situation.
What would you say to others who are thinking about getting involved?
I would advise members to take the Talking Union Basics course offered by the PSAC. Don't be afraid to get involved with your union. If there is an issue you really feel strongly about and want to see it succeed, you must be willing to stand up for what you believe, but also be open to listening to others’ perspectives. By getting involved, you will meet interesting people and you'll be making a difference in your community and in your workplace for the better. It has a been great experience for me.