The 7th Prairie Region Triennial Convention was held in Winnipeg, Manitoba from April 21–23, 2017 with a registered total of 336 in attendance, including 296 delegates, 7 guests, 4 NBoD, and 29 Observers.
Marianne Hladun opened Convention with an energizing address to delegates about the past three years of activism, activities and successes. Reflecting on the 50th Anniversary of PSAC, Hladun said "We’ve come a long way from our humble beginnings in 1966 and I wouldn’t think twice about saying PSAC is among the strongest unions in Canada. And it’s because of our members."
PSAC National President Robyn Benson followed up with an address to delegates discussing the challenges facing members over the next three years and how we can move forward together.
"We can engage members in our union in different ways, but we must do it seriously and deliberately," Benson said. "We must take an honest look at how we carry out our union work at every level of our union, and re-orient it so that increased membership participation, better representation and higher union visibility is embedded in everything we do."
She was also surprised and touched to watch a short video with members sharing their thoughts and well wishes for her retirement in 2018. Benson's career spans over 35 years of activism in her workplace, her component, the Prairie Region and now on the national stage. Watch the video honouring Robyn Benson on the PSAC Prairie Region YouTube Channel.
Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, gave the final address of the morning, reminding delegates of the solidarity within the labour movement across Canada. "Whether in the private sector or public sector, there is no difference in the trade union movement," he said. "We are one family, forever."
View all the photos from Day One of the Prairie Region Triennial Convention on the PSAC Prairies Facebook page.
Rally for Workers
At lunch, hundreds of delegates took buses from the Fairmont Winnipeg to the Manitoba Legislative Building to protest austerity agendas and attacks on labour at the Rally for Workers. With the help and support of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, many other unions and union members from across Winnipeg came out to show their support.
Prairies Regional Executive Vice-President Marianne Hladun emceed the rally and kicked it off with a rousing chant of "When they say cut back, we say fight back!" She later told rally-goers, "We are committed as a labour movement to work together and we will not be distracted by what this government is trying to do to split us apart. We will remain united."
Other speakers at the rally included: Hassan Yussuff, CLC President; Robyn Benson, PSAC National President; Tom Lindsey, Official Opposition Labour Critic for Manitoba; and Kevin Rebeck, MFL President.
Various media outlets attended and covered the rally on the evening news, including Global News (story from 6:17 to 6:57 in the video), CTV News (story from 24:41 to 25:26 in the video), and CBC News (story from 11:34 to 12:27 in the video). CBC also published a web article on the rally.
View photos from the Rally for Workers on the PSAC Prairies Facebook Page.
Delegates started by passing the Prairie Region Council Budget for 2018–2020. They proceeded to move into resolutions debate. The following resolutions were passed at the 2017 PSAC Prairie Region Triennial Convention in Winnipeg on day one:
- Resolution BL-008 to amend the Prairie Region By-Laws to establish the position of 2nd Alternate to the REVP.
- Resolution BL-009 to undertake a detailed audited statement of receipts and expenditures certified by qualified accountants for each fiscal year of the PRC.
- Resolution BL-007 to amend the Prairie Region By-Laws to require the budget variance report be presented to the PRC at every meeting.
The complete status of resolution debate at the 2017 Prairies Convention has been posted on the PSAC Prairie Region website.
Tribute to Judy Shannon
The day ended with a celebration of Judy Shannon's life, a passionate educator, dedicated activist, and Prairies Regional Education Officer who dedicated 23 years of services to the PSAC. Oneil Carlier, Judy's long-time friend and colleague, gave a touching tribute, which was followed by a short video of members sharing their memories of Judy.
Marianne also announced the Prairie Region Council's decision to set aside $30,000 from deferred revenue to establish a memorial scholarship in Judy Shannon’s name. The scholarship will annually fund one participant to attend the Prairie School for Union Women. Judy had been an advocate and facilitator for the PSUW for years and the scholarship will honour her dedication to education and passion for the Prairie School for Union Women.
View the tribute video to Judy on the PSAC Prairies YouTube channel.
The first election was held immediately following recess on the first day of Convention for the position of Aboriginal Peoples Rep on the Prairie Region Council. The successful candidates were as follows:
Aboriginal Peoples Representative
- Sandra Ahenakew (UNE)
- Alternate Janette Husak (UNE)
- Second Alternate Michelle Morrisseau (UNE)
A leadership debate between candidates for the position of Regional Executive Vice-President, Prairie Region, was held later that evening. Convention delegates were invited to submit questions for candidates in advance.
Read more about the Prairie Region Triennial Convention