Lethbridge PSAC Local shines in 2012

Generosity seems widespread among PSAC Prairies members in the more than 210 Locals across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Agriculture Local 30048 in Lethbridge, Alberta is a shining example of this, with several inventive and effective initiatives in their workplace at the Lethbridge Research Centre to raise money and awareness.

Season of giving

Most recently, Local members got together for the Holiday Giving Project to knit or crochet a toque, scarf, mitts, or socks to donate to the Lethbridge Interfaith Food Bank. In total, the Local gave 100 handmade items and a financial donation.

“We are consciously trying to re-engage our membership and keep things fun,” says Shannan Little, Human Rights Rep for Local 30048. “We’re trying to think of ways to do this that encourages solidarity. I want to make the place I work the best it can be, and the people in it happy. When we really need something, we will have the buy-in from members because we like each other and take care of each other.”

Go with the ’mo!

In November, the Local supported prostate cancer and male mental health initiatives by registering a Movember team, comprised of PSAC and PISPC members, and selling Movember themed buttons to help raise funds.

Jan Bigras participated in the fundraiser for the fourth year in a row, after raising $1,200 last year.

“This year, I was approached to lead a team at my workplace,” Bigras explains. “I gladly stepped forward and lead five other men at our centre in growing a moustache. The Movember buttons that our Local produced really caught on and helped spread the word.”

The team collected $2,000 in donations to add to the collective Canadian total of $37 million, more money than any other country raised for the Movember campaign. In all, 247,066 Canadians took part in raising funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer Canada and the Canadian Male Health Network.

“The main reason why I joined up was the passing of both my grandfathers to cancer. Though this campaign is focused on prostate cancer, I feel that I'm giving something to a greater cause: cancer research in general.”

We are all affected

Earlier this year, the Local banded together to promote PSAC’s We Are All Affected campaign by tracking spending in their community to demonstrate how PSAC members contribute to the local economy. After compiling the data, they took out an ad in the Lethbridge Herald.

“We were thinking about things we could do that weren’t typical and decided, rather than talk about cuts to services, talk about money that won’t be spent in the community if federal employees lose their jobs,” explains Little. “Our Local has a lot of science people who like to do this kind of thing. Some of them were really excited.”

They followed up on the ad by distributing flyers in the community, contacting city councilors, and local businesses, writing a letter to the editor of the local paper and participating in a radio interview.

“I think a lot of people hadn’t thought of it in this way,” says Little. “When we went around talking to businesses, some recognized the impact cuts to public services would have, but others didn’t and it made them think about it in a different way. We’re losing people with good jobs that can afford to come to their restaurant or store.”

The idea for a fresh community action caught the attention of more than just local residents in Alberta’s fourth largest city, with other Locals replicating the idea throughout PSAC.

“Members across Canada heard about the action and a lot of others have said ‘wow this is a great idea.’ It’s made people think of different actions to try, rather than what they typically do.”