Times are not easy financially for anyone and I fully recognize that we need to have value for our dollars and we should receive value for our dollars.
As someone who has worked in both private industry and government, I would like to share a personal story with you. In my twenties, I chose to work in private industry, but in an industry that I believed had a vested interest in protecting the average person from financial loss if they were injured or if accidents occurred. I trained, accepted mentoring and became a success story in the endeavour, that is until I discovered that I was making thousands of dollars less than my male counterparts. When I complained to management, I was told that the difference in pay was because of my gender and that they would not change their policy – even though my value was recognized. It was hurtful and discouraging. Pay equity has been a battle for so many years, but it is an expensive undertaking and most small groups could not hope to achieve success. The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) took it on at a cost of millions…and they WON. It was a long, hard and expensive battle, but they won it for all of us and for Canadian society in general. It was a hard-won battle, and many organizations fought them to the Supreme Court, and caused delays even after that…but they won. Without a union, who would have fought this fight for workers everywhere?
I can tell you that it wouldn’t have been any Employer.
Accommodation for Families
Recently, the PSAC took the government to Federal Court in order to get a ruling on Accommodation for family status and they won. This means that families have the right to flexibility in leave and working hours and a multitude of other family-related issues. It cost a lot of money but the PSAC believes that it was worth it. Did the Employer offer the flexibility, even though the need for flexibility is crucial in these changing times and changes in family? No – they did not and the courts had to force them to do so. Your union dues made it possible for families everywhere in Canada to live with less stress and fear. (For the latest on this court ruling, visit: )
Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits for Government Employees who Alternate (Work Force Adjustment)
Unions were able to get the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada to change Records of Employment from QUIT to WORKFORCE REDUCTION. The employees who chose to leave during the work force adjustment, did not quit their jobs, they were part of a workforce reduction effort. In any other work environment, they would have been entitled to E benefits. Not so for government employees…that is until their union stepped in and intervened on their behalf.
Did the Employer offer this change because it was the right thing to do? No they did not.
There are so many benefits to having a representative in the workplace, particularly when you are harassed, or subjected to a bullying manager, or treated unfairly. But these are everyday occurrences in some work environments, and these types of situations happen more often than you think.
Local 70713’s record for resolving conflict quickly, informally, and with good results for both sides is second to none.
I invite all of our members to take advantage of the resources and information on our website as well as attend some of our meetings. Come on out to one of our lunch-hour drop in sessions…I would love to see you there.