Union School: Highlights of Larry Rousseau’s closing speech on life under the new Liberal government

summary by Franck Binard
On Sunday morning, on the last day of the Union School, I had the privilege of hearing Larry Rousseau speak. He spoke candidly about many of the important issues that affect us. It’s impossible to describe the kind of positive energy that flowed from that room, but I’ve highlighted five themes that touched me the most:
You know, the thing about respect, is that even though it’s free it still needs to be earned. This new government, so far, deserves our respect, but we, in turn, expect it to respect us as partners, and to treat us as such. The old days are over, and this is a new time. This day is the day in which we expect to finally receive the respect we already earned yesterday. From now on, some things are no longer acceptable, and will no longer be accepted, so that’s it: no more workplace violence. From now on, if you’re struggling with an issue of harassment, of workplace discrimination, of intimidation, and the president of your local is not ready to take on your issue, then email me.
Our responsibility
…But brothers and sisters, please remember that respect is earned. That means that I will not be able to defend you if there’s nothing to defend. Today, we finally get to talk the talk, but our collective responsibility is to walk the walk, and that means that we can’t abuse our benefits, that we must be competent, and that we have to keep on doing the work that will keep on bringing us the respect of our colleagues, and of this new government. I’m going into these negotiations with the attitude that we are asking for what we deserve, and that means that we have to do the hard work of deserving it.
Performance Evaluations
When I attended a National Joint Council seminar this week, I told them that we should be ashamed of the performance assessment guidelines. We have people in our workplaces walking around with labels on their heads. Some are 1s, others are 2s and then, over there, in some dark corners, there are the 3s. Nobody’s supposed to know who is labeled what, but everyone knows, and everyone knows that everyone knows. This is shameful. We got rid of Harper, but there are a lot of “Harper people” tucked away in the dark folds of our government, sitting in those meeting rooms, and making decisions in the same spirit in which the Harper regime governed.
The week in Montebello
This week has been amazing, we have a great venue, we had great activities, and I want to especially thank Johanne Labine (standing ovation). This is Johanne’s last union school. She expressed her desire to retire after this year, but we have some great people here that can ensure that there will be a proper follow-up. We have a great staff, and I’m incredibly lucky to have the privilege to work with these great people, day after day. They provide excellent services, and I’d like to thank them so much for the work they’ve been doing, with a special shout-out to our technicians as well as our interpreters, Nick and Louise, in the booth.
Je vous aime.