REVP’s Report to 2011 Prairie Region Convention

Report of the Regional Executive Vice-President, Prairies to the 5th Prairie Region Triennial Convention delegates on June 10, 2011. This report covers the period from the last regional convention in 2008.


 

Once again, our region is home to the largest PSAC regional convention in the country.

With over 330 delegates, it is obvious that Prairies brothers and sisters are dedicated to their union and truly passionate about making a difference. We couldn’t do it without you.

Prairie Region members are committed and active. And frankly, brothers and sisters, we must ensure that all members of our union, not just the activists, are mobilized and ready to take action given the results of the federal election.

The very same day that Treasury Board President Tony Clement was sworn in he boldly announced that he intends to implement significant cuts to public services and jobs.

If there has ever been a time for union solidarity, it is now.

We’ve steadily increased our level of political action and made sure that our elected representatives know who we are and the issues that are important to us. And we must continue to build on this momentum.

Our members are involved not only in their union but in their communities, as well, which is why we need to ensure our public services are safe and accessible for all Canadians.

Working with you and for you as your Regional Executive Vice-President has given me the opportunity to be involved with the membership on the ground and get to know so many of our brothers and sisters personally. I’ve talked with you and walked the lines with you; shared in your victories and setbacks.

The focus of my work has always been to ensure that PSAC becomes a household name. From moderating all candidates meetings, to lobbying MPs, to speaking on the steps of legislatures, to speaking to media, to openings conferences, to working with other unions on campaigns such as CPP, to speaking with our members; I have always worked tirelessly for our members.

With the regional offices and committees, I have worked to ensure our region is informed, educated, and mobilized with various initiatives that are unique to our region.

We are the only region to have held a regional youth conference and an activist conference. We launched the Prairie Union School and reinstituted the Union Development Program (UDP). And we developed the Prairies E-newsletter as a way to keep Prairies members in the know about union updates and political news. We were additionally able to create a new Human Rights Committee in Calgary and an Area Council in the Lethbridge and Westman areas.

But I also participated in several different initiatives outside of the PSAC, but within the broader labour movement.

I was very honoured to represent the PSAC as an accredited NGO representative at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in March 2009. I worked with many union sisters from around the world who were there to influence change.

I was part of the delegation from the Public Service International and worked not only with other international unions but NGOs as well. Our main goal was to lobby for strong decent work and quality public services language in the Agreed Conclusions signed by United Nations member states.

I have been responsible for a variety of national portfolios over the years but most recently I’ve been responsible for education, human rights including chairing the Equal Opportunities Committee (EOC), and national rates of pay. I have been responsible for and co-chaired numerous PSAC national conferences and currently sit as one of the two national officers at the Canadian Labour Congress.

I have been involved in many incredible events and activities that have been coordinated by our members. Our region is very diverse and I am proud of the work we do in our communities.

The PSAC staff in the Prairie Region are a major part of the work that we do and I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge and thank them for their contributions.

Twenty-five staff members work year-round in five regional offices across the Prairies to assist and support members, as well as carry out directives and promote campaigns from PSAC proper.

I also need to thank each and every member of the Prairie Region Council, collectively and respectively, for their hard work and dedication to our region and to our union. Each PRC member has presented a report to Convention outlining their work in the region.

The work and leadership of the Council have made us stronger. These 23 individuals have helped the Prairie Region thrive and grow and for that we should be grateful.

In closing, I want to thank each and every member of the PSAC. We are a strong, united union that not only works to protect our members rights in the workplace, but to provide quality services, whether it be the public or internal clients.

As you read this report, you will see how busy and active we have been in our region and how much we have to be proud of. We have accomplished so much together, brothers and sisters, and it has been an honour and a privilege to be the Prairie Region Regional Executive Vice-President.

In Solidarity,

Robyn Benson
Regional Executive Vice-President PSAC
Prairie Region