Monthly Member Profile, October 2019: Robbie Henderson

-What is your role (s) in the union?

I’ve had several roles in the union including Local Shop Steward, Local Secretary Treasurer and I currently serve as the President of Local 70603.

As part of my work on the NCR Regional Council and Committees, I was elected to the Finance Committee from 2018 to 2019. I have also participated in the Ottawa Area Council (OAC) as a delegate throughout the past 5 years and I am currently serving my second year as an elected director to the OAC. I additionally sit on the PSAC-NCR Health and Safety Committee as a delegate.

-When did you first get involved and why?

I was first introduced to unions in 2000 when I worked for General Motors Canada. When I left the private sector to work for the federal government in 2008, I became a Shop Steward at the Mapping and Charting Establishment in 2010. In 2012, I was asked to attend an AGM for my local and I volunteered as Shop Steward. Because I have a financial background, I was also asked to volunteer as the auditor for my Local. I was eventually elected Secretary Treasurer and now I serve as the President.

I got involved initially to fulfill my life and because I was curious. I quickly learned that getting involved is like voting: if you don’t get involved or vote you really can’t complain and shortly after, I found myself extremely active within my Local and most recently very active with the political action for the OAC. I helped with outreach during the Ontario Provincial election and now the Federal Election this year which I found extremely rewarding. It was great being able to meet PSAC members first hand with diverse backgrounds and varying political opinions. I enjoyed talking to members about the importance of voting and asking members to support candidates that value and protect Public Service Employees across our amazing country.

-What are some of the victories and campaigns you’ve worked on?

Not so much victories but more so I’ve experienced gratification helping members with many grievances and being able to say: “I have made a difference in UNDE’s work (my component). I have fought to improve work/ life balance for employees at DND. I have made their work places safer and more productive.”

My other milestones include developing a Taxi Chit Policy (to ensure responsible use of committee funds) as part of the PSAC-NCR’s Finance Committee and assisting successful events working with OAC.

I participated in several OAC’s events which included: Centertown Movie Night where we raised money for the local community, several Labor Day Parades (promoting our Burnt by Phoenix campaign), the Climate Strike in Ottawa, and the Federal Election Sub-Committee. Having chaired the Sub-Committee, I participated in the Carleton and Orleans riding canvasses to PSAC members.

-What would you say to others who are thinking about getting involved?

Just Do It!

It is self-rewarding and gives you the feeling of making a difference, whether it be in Finance or Health and Safety or many other committees, campaigns, bargaining, and political action. By getting involved You Can Make a Difference in your work place, communities, province and country.