Report of the Regional Executive Vice-President, Prairies to the Manitoba Federation of Labour Executive Council submitted for the December 6-7, 2012 meeting. This report covers the period from the last MFL meeting.
Marianne Hladun, Regional Executive Vice-President
Public Service Alliance of Canada, Prairie Region
Report to the Manitoba Federation of Labour Executive Council, December 2012
Cuts to the federal public service continue with more announcements anticipated throughout the next year. As the public becomes aware of services that are/will no longer be available, we are seeing more communities and citizens speaking out.
The PSAC Prairie Region and the Union of National Employees have launched a campaign denouncing the privatization of the Rocky Mountains Hot Springs, including Banff Upper Hot Springs, Radium Hot Springs, and Miette Hot Springs in Jasper. Visit dontsellourhotsprings.ca to take action and show your support.
We’re also working with the PSAC Agriculture Union on a campaign to oppose the elimination of the Shelter Belt program and PFRA pastures program. Now that the federal government has passed responsibility for these majestic lands back to the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, walking away from decades of conservation stewardship, these natural wonders stand threatened. Anyone who values the natural beauty of our native prairie grasslands and wants to protect what is left of them should visit ProtectThePrairie.ca to support the campaign.
The 2012 Prairie Region Health and Safety Conference was held November 17-18 in Edmonton, Alberta, with PSAC members from across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. In response to the continually growing number of concerns brought forward by members and in response to member supported resolutions from the 5th Triennial Prairie Region Convention, the overall theme dealt with Mental Health in the Workplace, with particular attention to the impact and prevention of bullying.
The first part of day two was dedicated to asbestos awareness and Howard Willems, a dear friend and retired PSAC member, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an asbestos related cancer of the lungs. Howard succumbed to the illness one week prior to the H&S Conference.
As Chair of the Saskatchewan Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (SADAO), Howard launched a postcard campaign calling on the provincial government to recognize the dangers of asbestos. The campaign titled “Public Enemy!” was meant to show that the public has a right to know if they have been or will be exposed to asbestos in provincially regulated buildings such as government buildings, schools and hospitals. Though this was a provincially based initiative in Saskatchewan, the efforts would be well worth replicating in other provinces to ensure public safety for all. Download a PDF of the postcard from the PSAC Prairie Region website.
Communication has always been a concern for our members and we’re looking at how to best utilize resources and technology available to us to communicate with them. Be sure to “like” the new “Public Service Alliance of Canada Prairie Region” page on Facebook. We launched the new page in September as another means of connecting with members by sharing information, links and photos
Issues facing Indigenous peoples, past and present, were the focus of a 4-½ day course held in Winnipeg on September 26-30. The focus was Indigenous issues, including the history of oppression and resistance, Aboriginal issues at the bargaining table, creating a representative workforce, and opening the union to Aboriginal activists. The course incorporated various themes, as well as different teaching methods and learning styles, but it was the sharing of personal experiences and stories that proved the most beneficial for participants.
We have also recently reviewed the list of PSAC locals affiliated to the MFL and have identified several that are not current affiliates. In the new year, we will be communicated the benefits to these locals and encouraging them to apply for affiliation and also encouraging their participation in the DLC’s in Manitoba.
For more information on anything mentioned in this report, please visit the PSAC Prairie Region website.
Regional Executive Vice-President
Public Service Alliance of Canada, Prairies