Kevin Hanson, Co-Chair Young Workers’ Committee
My name is Kevin Hanson and I currently work within PSPC. I am also the GSU local 70055 union president under PSAC and newly elected co-chair for the PSAC-NCR’s young workers committee. My inspiration for getting involved with the union and young workers issues is constantly feeling discriminated against within the workplace due to what I perceive as systemic discrimination because of my age. I also realized that the demographic of young workers was weak within the union, and I decided to provide a youthful voice throughout the many platforms I represent. The Phoenix crises also made me fearful that nothing is for granted in the workplace, and that young workers need to become curious and get involved to stand up for their rights. I decided that it was time that I stood up for my rights and for the rights of young workers.
The biggest issues facing young workers within the public service today is as follows;
1) The two-tier pension plan, which violates equitable contribution to pension plans for young workers who now must face the challenges of retiring later but contributing the same amount towards their pension as average workers who can retire earlier.
2) Lack of accessible child care and equitable wages for young workers, who are the primary demographic facing financial hardship with schooling and housing debt, along with starting a family, which leads to unsustainable child care costs.
3) Young workers are also faced with a lack of career opportunities and job security as many young workers believe they are entitled to things like permanency, pensions, insurance coverage, benefits etc. when these options are not set in stone. They are only options because of the past success of unions, and these rights can be taken away without support and solidarity. The lack of support by young workers and the sense of entitlement is a barrier that we must overcome.
4) Automation and Artificial Intelligence are leading to jobs being cut and employers outsourcing positions which effects things like pension contributions for future pension sustainability. This impacts young workers who are trying to plan families and their personal life, along with sustaining our economy. We must continue to stand up against ageism, and our rights as workers to maintain national sustainability and services.
The goals of the young workers committee for 2019 are as follows;
1) Increase participation and recruitment for the young workers committee
2) Help destroy the barriers of ageism through our outreach campaign
3) Rebuild the fight for equal pensions and accessible child care for young workers
To the young workers and young workers at heart, I challenge you to be curious and educate yourselves on the success and failures of the past and present labour movements. Don’t neglect the success of the past unions. Being complacent and entitled will hurt labour rights and our future. We are the future of the union, and the future of the union are the youth of tomorrow.
Ayrin Proulx, Co-Chair Young Workers’ Committee
My name is Ayrin Proulx and I’m 28 years old. I graduated with Bachelor or Commerce in concentration of International business from Carleton University and professional certification in Human Resource Management and Risk Management. I’m a public worker as of March 2018, and I’m working for Pay Administrative Branch in Ottawa as Senior Pay & Integrity Officer. I’m the co-chair of YWC, and Shop Steward and acting Treasurer at my local 70013. I’m running for Chief Shop Steward in coming AGM for my local.
I actually wasn’t involved with union activities, as I had never worked in a unionized environment, until I started my employment with the Government of Canada in March 2018. I had learned the importance of having a union during my studies in Human Resource Management where I took a course about Labour Relations. I received a job offer from the Government of Canada a couple months after and have been working closely with my union since then.
I believe the world can be a better place to live if we could all work together towards a common goal. The union gives us this opportunity to accomplish these goals faster and stronger because of the power of all brothers and sisters. I believe as a young worker, our demands may differ from other groups because of our age group difference and beliefs. I found YWC is where I can relate with other members over the same feelings, demands, issues and struggles we are having.
There are several issues young workers face and some of them include:
-the high cost of living
-difficultly entering the housing market.
-low earnings -if you are new to job market.
-larger student debts: we are the most educated generation, but with the highest debt
-there’s a growing wealth gap between seniors and typical millennials that has more than doubled since 1984.
-two-tier pension system which penalizes younger workers for joining unionized work environment later than their older co-workers, and they are more at risk of losing guaranteed pension plan.
-jobs are contract based and it’s harder to secure stability
-the cost of daycare: further, to afford the cost, both parents have to work
-the lack of work life balance at our unionized work environment making it hard to take family time or reach life goals.
-first-time mothers are up to 30 years old vs 26 years old in the early 1990s.
-discrimination, sexism, harassment at work just because Young Workers are new to the work environment and they may not know their right.
Goals of the Young Worker’s Committee for 2019:
First, our goal for YWC is to increase member involvement and with their local union.This will grow our active member base and educate members on the benefits of being part of a union. We want to show the power of the union, and it’s victories we take for granted.
We want our young workers to feel empowered and know they can make a difference with their union. They need to understand the changes happening today will affect them for years ahead.
Young Workers are being told to expect less from our workplace, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We want them to take control (or stand up for) of their wages, benefits, working conditions, and to make a safer and better work environment for everyone.
Come, join us, and get involved to take control of your future. And make a better and safer work environment for all.