Michelle Lang PRC Report May 2019

Michelle Lang


Prairie Region Council May 2019


From November 2nd to 4th, 2018 members representing Directly Chartered Locals gathered together in Montreal.  DCLs have been a part of PSAC for more than 20 years and represent over 30,000 members.  Sectors represented included gaming, University workers, municipal government workers, Indigenous and community organizations, research and development workers and security and law enforcement.   

Together we discussed strategies to build membership strength and to win better working conditions for the members.   We discussed creative ways to bargain and mobilize that we have used to win better wages and working conditions.

Chris Aylward addressed the members, stressing the importance of listening and learning from each other and being open to change so that the Union can be stronger.

From March 25th to 27th. 2019 representatives of every bargaining unit of university workers took part in a university round table discussions in Ottawa.  This was the first meeting of that kind to take place.  The university sector is growing and is currently around 23,000 members in 57 bargaining units across Canada. 

Working conditions are highly precarious and jobs are mostly temporary which creates challenges for locals and in turn members.

Chris Aylward and Magali Picard were there to hear from members about how university locals can engage with all levels of the union and how PSAC can better support them.

Delegates asked for better communication and information-sharing, more resources and tools from the national and regional offices, and greater access to PSAC decision-making. They offered creative and innovative ideas on how we can work better together within the union.

Workshops raised several key issues:

  • whistleblower protections
  • top-ups to benefits (parental and disability)
  • child care benefits
  • job security
  • wage increases, including cost of living adjustments
  • wages/benefits need to compensate for tuition hikes (especially for international students)
  • human rights protections

Participants also discussed challenges to getting collective agreement improvements, such as the difficulty of long negotiations when the membership are often on short contracts. They also shared ideas about how the union can build on successes. All groups showed a strong appetite for better sector coordination, nationally and regionally.

Speaking of bargaining talks with Casino Regina have broken down and will be going to conciliation.  While upper management received a 23% increase in the previous year they are offering peanuts to the staff.  The agreement expired December 2016 and since then we have finally got the -3.5% concession off the table.  Now being offered 1.5% over 4 years is not good enough especially seeing the increase upper management received to their already over inflated salaries.  Members are wondering if they do chose to strike will PSAC have our backs.  The last strike left a bitter taste in some people‚Äôs mouths and are scared to take that risk again.  I will inquire with the right people to make sure our members are 100% informed before casting a ballot.

In Regina we held a May works week.  First one we have planned.  I attended the parade as well as a karaoke night.  I thank Friend Sandra for bringing some delegates from the UNE conference by to have some fun.  Next years will be planned for all ages and promoted through the channels to get people out.