Shannon Blum PRC Report (Convention 2017)

Report of the Prince Albert Area Council Rep to the Prairie Region Triennial Convention, April 21-23, 2017. This report covers the 2014-17 PRC term.

Shannon Blum
Prince Albert and District Area Council

I joined PRC in 2016 when sister Melanie Markling had to resign for personal reasons. I have since been very grateful for the opportunity it has presented.

At each step of union involvement one learns a little more about how things work and why they work (or sometimes don’t work) the way they do. Participating in the PRC has offered me the opportunity to see how other locals and components see PSAC. How we fit together like a large jigsaw puzzle that looks like a lot of oddly shaped pieces in the beginning, but makes a beautiful picture in the end. I have learned that diversity is important and should be fostered.  I’ve challenged and been challenged to think outside my current perspective and view situations and people from a new one. I’ve also watched, like in any family, my brothers and sisters fight but most often work it out and end with a stronger relationship in the end.

Being an active member of PRC and of Area Council has also afforded me the opportunity to champion causes and create social forums to address them.

Elections – For both the federal and provincial elections the area council in Prince Albert held an event.  For the federal election (in 2015 before I joined PRC) a town hall was organized, where individuals would have the chance to meet the local PSAC staff, as well as Sr. Hladun, and have discussions on why one vote did make a difference.  For the Provincial Election we held a pancake breakfast where nearly 100 people were served and an all candidates forum was held.  There was some very lively debate between the NDP and Saskatchewan Party!  I can now honestly say that all of our local MP’s know my name, whether for better or worse.

Outreach – I won’t mince words here, recruitment is difficult.  People, on the whole have stressful, time consuming, jobs which leave them exhausted.  Many members have families with children participating in several extra activities and are often managing more than one child’s schedule.  Some are primary care givers for elderly or disabled family.
I believe that PSAC must find ways to aid in the work/life balance as much as we expect the employer to do so.  We often hope for more from our activists then our employers ever would. It is extremely rewarding work, but if a person is too intimidated by the sheer quantity or huge time commitments to ever start, then they will never get the opportunity to be that activist.
Thus, I have been focusing on smaller projects, shorter meetings and ensuring that every person who becomes involved realizes that what they contributed was important, no mater how small. It’s slow going, but I have several faithful members with the same philosophy working along side me pushing the rope up the hill.  In the end we will be successful because we realize that even if each of us only takes 1 step up the hill, that’s one more step then we had before.

Activities

I have participated in many training course, conferences and events over the last year.  Some of my favorite include the Regional Women’s Conference and the National Health and Safety Convention but I have learned and grown in each.  I have listed each of these events and courses at the end of my report, but I will leave the details out as they are all available in my committee reports.

Moving Forward

I have been privileged to be elected for another term on PRC by the PAAC. If you’ve spent any time with me, you’ve likely heard “if we don’t change, we die”. Thus, while it is my intention to attempt to attend at least one meeting of every local, my true focus remains on finding ways to engage our young members while continuing to rely on the experience and drive of our current activists. I truly believe that every one of our members is an activist waiting to be found, one just needs to find the one thing they like to do, and then help them do it.

In conclusion being a member of PRC is an enriching growth experience and I hope that any activist would considering becoming a part of this council at least once in their union involvement.  I look forward to the challenges of the coming 3 years.

Involvement

  • On March 12th, 2016 the PA-AC had an all Candidate’s Forum and Pancake Breakfast
  • On April 28th, 2016 I attended my first Regional Labour Management committee for CSC
  • On May 18th, 2016 I worked with Valerie Illingworth at the Saskatoon Office recruiting for the June 8th day of action to support our bargaining teams.
  • May 29-31, 2016 I participated in the USGE (my components) Regional Conference
  • June 2-5th, 2016 I was privileged to participate in PSAC Facilitator Training Program
  • June 10-12th, 2016 was the PSAC Regional Woman’s Conference in Winnipeg
  • June 20th, 2016 was my first meeting of the PRC Education committee
  • Sept 15th, 2016 Phoenix related plant gate at Saskatchewan Penitentiary.
  • Sept 24-25th, 2016 I attended a course on Violence Prevention in the Workplace
  • Sept 28, 2016 the Prince Albert & District Area Council hosted a town hall
  • October 15th, 2016 I attended and spoke at a pilot program course on Staffing in the Public Service at the Saskatoon Regional Office
  • Nov 17-19, 2016 attended the PSAC National Health and Safety Convention and helped facilitate Violence Prevention in the Workplace.
  • The PAAC as met in 2016 on Jan 11th, Mar 10th, Sept, 15th and Nov 15th and in 2017 on January 11th.