Report of the Regional Women’s Committees Rep to the Prairie Region Council submitted for the November 2016 meeting. This report covers the period from the last PRC meeting.
Prairie Region Council November 2016
Sisters across the region have been busy since council last met. We currently have active RWCs in Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge with sisters actively engaged in a host of programs and activities.
In June we hosted the Regional Women’s Conference in Winnipeg with approximately 60 sisters taking part. The program had a two pronged approach focusing on the priorities of child care and domestic violence. Through workshops and guest speakers the importance of these two issues to our members and our larger community was very clear. In addition to interesting work we also held a fund raiser for Nova House, a women’s shelter in Selkirk, MB at which we raised an impressive $1200 towards their capital fundraising campaign.
In September I attended the PSAC National Human Rights Committee meeting in Ottawa as part of the women’s working group. A synopsis of that meeting is attached to this report as Annex A. From the meeting we were told that child care and domestic violence will remain our priorities but that a new focus on child care will be forthcoming shortly while work continues on the direction we will take on how we take the conversation on domestic violence and its impact on our workplaces to our members.
With the national equity conference coming up in early 2017 among the priorities for women to be discussed at that conference will be how do we push government for reforms that economically empower women and can we work domestically and internationally to develop tools to promote working women.
We were also told that PSAC now has a position paper on prostitution as work; it’s an interesting read and did not come about easily for our leadership.
The message across the board is that we cannot let this government that has promoted itself as one that supports equality off the hook as they seem to be studying things and consulting around the clock with little of solid substance coming forth. Our RWCs are being asked to look at what elected officials are in our areas, what might be their committee commitments and areas of interest and build a directed lobby package focusing our efforts where we know there is likely to be something other than a glazed over stare and a hand shake. This we will begin to do in the coming weeks.
I have distributed the documents from the NHRC that pertain to women’s committees to all the RWC presidents or their designates such that they can make the printed materials available more widely across our networks.
Each of our committees is active and looking forward to the coming year which we know will present opportunities given it is a convention year for our various components leading up to the 2018 triennial PSAC convention. We also know that many of our sisters are from the DCLs and there is good opportunity there to spread our message to an even broader community base.
A quick snapshot of what we have been up to:
All the RWCs took part in Labour Day activities in their various communities. We were visible, active and able to talk to our community members about who we are and what we do. That is so important as we need to make our community leaders understand that those of us who are public servants are indeed part of the local community, we contribute to that community, we provide services to that community and we are not some faceless bureaucracy tucked away in an office building.
In Alberta our sisters are hard at work with Calgary and Lethbridge sisters developing a major child care campaign post card campaign that they will be able to take to the community as information and support. In Edmonton a women’s workshop is coming together nicely and will address issues that are of concern to our sisters in that area. We must never forget that while we have national programs and projects it is vitally important we take the pulse of our local communities and work to meet needs there as well.
In Saskatchewan the RWC in Saskatoon is in a rejuvenation mode with sisters busy planning ahead to what can be achieved in the coming year. There is a leadership change with the committee but they are moving forward. Regina continues to perk along with sisters looking for ways to attract more members and enhance our profile in the community.
In Winnipeg the RWC has focused on children and anti-poverty initiatives. The committee continues to support the Kent Road School breakfast program, is working with the Child Care Coalition of Manitoba to keep child care in the forefront, will host a speaker next week on women’s health initiatives and its members work cooperatively with the area council on local projects.
Across the board our committees are busy but it needs to be said that the women who take part in the RWCs are also very strong members of their communities and share the wealth of their knowledge well beyond our union
Activities since last council meeting:
1 March – Winnipeg RWC AGM – re-elected as chair for 2016
8 March- took part in International Women’s Day breakfast and lunchtime activity with the Manitoba Federation of Labour.
12 April – Winnipeg RWC meeting
10-12 June- chaired Prairie Regional Women’s Conference
14 June – Winnipeg RWC meeting
1 Sept – chaired combined meeting of three Winnipeg regional committees – women, human rights and area council
5 Sept –provided support to the annual Labour Day picnic with both PSAC booth and lunch served by Winnipeg Labour Council – child care info distributed.
12 Sept- attended Manitoba Federation of Labour women’s committee meeting
20-22 Sept – attended the PSAC National Human Rights Committee meeting in Ottawa
11 Oct – Winnipeg RWC meeting
13 Oct – Manitoba Federation of Labour Women’s Committee meeting
20-23 Oct – attended CLC Rise Up Conference in Ottawa
26-28 Oct – attended the Manitoba Federation of Labour health and safety conference with focus on psychological health in the workplace.
Gloria Kelly, PSAC Women’s Representative