Nancy Johnson PRC Report (June 2014)

Report of the Regional Women’s Committees Representative to the Prairie Region Council submitted for the June 2014 meeting. This report covers the period from the last PRC meeting.

Nancy Johnson
Regional Women’s Committees Representative

Welcome Sisters and Brothers to the City of Bridges

I hope you enjoy your time here at the Convention where delegates will be electing their representatives for the next three years.  It truly has been an honour and privilege to serve as your Women’s Committee Representative on your Prairies Regional Council.  I had the opportunity to attend Winnipeg, Regina, Prince Albert and Edmonton RWC meetings. I also participated in several meetings via conference calls, there is no funding provided through council but we’ve managed to arrange meetings to coincide with the rotation of council meetings.

Memorable highlights:

  • Women’s World Conference

Shortly after being elected in 2011, all the Regional Council women representatives were invited to attend the world conference being held in Ottawa.  It was an incredible experience on many levels because we did not know each other and we spent the time listening and participating in all the events as a group. The march to Parliament Hill and supporting our aboriginal sisters.  We made lifetime friends and we’ve worked so incredibly well together.  We’ve supported each other over the years by attending each other’s regional conferences (paid our own way), offering guidance and mentoring each other. Andree Cote, PSAC, Women’s Program Officer’s guidance has been top rate from the 1st day we met her.  

  • Regional Women’s Conference

72 Incredible Sisters invaded the Town of Banff…

We couldn’t have picked a better place to discuss and debate resolutions about affordable childcare, violence against women, our missing and murdered aboriginal sisters, and lobbying.

A special thank you to Jeannie Baldwin, REVP for the Atlantic, responsible for Women’s and Andree Cote, Women’s Program officer for their guidance and presentations.  My full report is available on the Prairies website under Women’s Program.

  • National Women’s Conference

The newly formed National Human Rights Committee met after the Leadership Summit in December 2012 to discuss and plan the 1st National Human Rights conference that was held in Toronto in November 2103.  The women representatives held several conference calls leading up to the event.  Kelly Meygesi, BC region and I were chosen by the other reps to co-chair the resolutions debate.  It was a lot of fun and we managed to pass all our committee recommendations.  I was so proud of my Prairies Sisters who spoke passionately and eloquently on the resolutions that we had passed at our regional conference.  They showed solidarity and the true meaning of sisterhood.  I was elected the 1st Women’s delegate to the 2015 PSAC Triennial Convention.  We had 16 members running for the position and we appreciated the use of electronic balloting for the elections.  It was a long process but we managed to elect a 2nd representative and two alternates. Thank you Sister Sherry Hunt for the nomination.  I will do the Prairies proud!

Our Committees:

  • Winnipeg

This committee has been one of the leaders in collecting and distributing the Tools for Schools program to the inter-city schools in Winnipeg.  They have participated in various activities in the community that support women.

Thank you all for your commitment and support.

  • Lethbridge

This committee was newly established in 2013 and I proudly call this our “political action sisters”.  They rally the members to oppose big oil companies, city councilors, school trustees on issues that not only affect our members but the people in their communities. 

  • Saskatoon

This is my home committee… we have participated in several joint community events over the last three years from volunteering at the Summer Snack program, Foodbank Community garden, December 6th events, Sisters in Spirit vigils, Take back the night walks, International Women’s Day events, Calgary flood volunteers, lobbying for affordable childcare, April 28th Day of Mourning, Saskatchewan Women’s Forum.

  • Regina

This committee is in the rebuilding stage and we are working together to re-establish and encourage our union sisters to get involved.  Dedication and hard work will see new happenings on the horizon.  Keep an eye on this committee.

  • Edmonton

This committee has been a very active committee over the years and I have been working with them to plan events in their community.  They had a successful December 6th and March 8th event at Canada Place and surrounding offices.  December 6th was bitterly cold but our union sisters were dedicated to the event. 

  • Calgary

The committee had some unresolved issues that resulted in their entire executive resigning in June 2013.  Calgary has always been involved in many community projects over the years.  I am happy to say that the committee has a new executive and with the assistance of myself, Regional Rep, Dolly Ablitt and the REVP’s office, this committee is lacing up for a Women’s Walk on June 1st.  I’m making the trek to lend my support.

I would like to thank all the union women who have taken a lead on their Regional women’s committees not only the elected committee members but also the women who attend and participate in their community.  Volunteering can sometimes be a very thankless job, however, the rewards can be amazing!

Come be involved and see what it’s all about!  Come and network and learn about the good work that the committees do on behalf of all members and in their communities.  We have many challenges ahead but I am confident that we can all make a difference when we work together.  We have some very active and dedicated women who are committed to the work of the union.  Thank you and keep up the exceptional good work. I would encourage all union women to check out the Prairies website and/or get involved in a Women’s Committee.  Come feed your activist’s passion.

Along with my responsibilities as the Women’s Rep I volunteered to work on the Health and Safety committee and most recently I co-chaired with Sister Brea Lewis the convention finance resolutions committee.  I am proud of the work of the committee members.

Also as a committee member I have fulfilled my duties such as attending town hall meetings, participating in rallies, reviewing committee financial reports, leadership training and actively participating at council meetings.  I have enjoyed the debates they have helped me grow and learn.  We may not always see eye to eye but we know at the end of the day we have mutual respect for each other.  As elected members we are working for the best interest of all members.

In previous mandates the REVP ensured evening networking opportunities were available at council meetings such as group dinners. They were fun and gave us a chance to connect outside of the council.  Recent levels of frustration amongst the council members have surfaced which needs to be addressed in a timely, respectful and professional manner.

I would like to thank the Regional office staff for their assistance in helping us with our work on behalf of the members.   Thank you to Sister Judy Shannon for supporting the work of the RWC’s through your workshop designs, the Union Women at Work course was so empowering on many levels.

Thank you Sisters and Brothers and I look forward to the work of the council.

Thank You:

  • Dawn McAuley and Darlene McClure-Winnipeg
  • Laura Ursu-Regina
  • Susan Norman-Brandon
  • Carrie-Ann French-Calgary
  • Bhupinder Johal-Edmonton
  • Denni Ernst-Prince Albert
  • Maria Fitzpatrick-Lethbridge
  • Sister Robyn Benson
  • Sister Judy Shannon
  • Sisters Louise Mardell, Diane Allen, Dolly Ablitt, Carm Chan and Shelley Jamieson
  • Sister Marianne Hladun
  • And Welcome:
  • Darlene Lewis-Edmonton
  • Michelle Lang-Regina
  • Deb Kosteniuk-Calgary
  • Gloria Kelly-Winnipeg

In Solidarity

Sister Nancy Johnson