Shannon Blum PRC Report (Nov. 2016)

Report of the Prince Albert Area Council Rep to the Prairie Region Council submitted for the November 2016 meeting. This report covers the period from the last PRC meeting.

Shannon Blum
Prince Albert Area Council Rep
Prairie Region Council November 2016

I had a relatively busy first full term on the PRC.  I have enjoyed my time and the opportunity to work with other components and organizations throughout the last few months.

On March 12th, 2016 the PA-AC had an all Candidate’s Forum and Pancake Breakfast for our community just before the Provincial Elections.  We held it at the Prince Albert Friendship Center and were privileged to serve and speak to approximately 100 people and candidates from both major parties.  The debate was somewhat heated at times, with topics such as Health Care, the Victoria Hospital and Elder Care being front and center.  We consider the event a complete success.

On April 28th, 2016 I attended my first Regional Labour Management committee for CSC.

On May 18th, I joined Valerie Illingworth (our new Sask North Geo Rep) at the Saskatoon Office to phone every president of every local in our province to recruit for and get a promise of action for the June 8th day of action to support our bargaining team.  The Day of Action was a roaring success with over 75 members out there chanting and holding signs at Saskatchewan Penitentiary, and 100’s of other locals and members taking some initiative and a picture.  Our bargaining teams say that this sort of support is a validation of the hard work they do, a reminder of why they do it, and it’s intimidating as they print out the pictures and put them on the wall behind them in bargaining sessions so the employer knows they have our support.

May 29-31, 2016 I participated in the USGE Regional Conference.  There were several guest speakers in addition to component business, including a briefing on the Staffing Complaint Process, and a guest motivational speaker by the name of Darci Lang who spoke about the 90% principal of positivity both in the union and at your workplace.  She was fabulous and we should consider getting her for other union events.  As well during the conference I was asked to allow my name to stand as alternate for the USGE National Health and Safety Committee and I was honored to accept.

June 2-5th, 2016 I was privileged to participate in PSAC Facilitator Training in order to become an alliance facilitator.  I am still working towards final credentials in the area and hopefully with be working with my regional office in Saskatoon very soon to do some presentations on Grievance Handling.  I will also be looking for topics to develop a short lunch and learn course around in a workplace or in my community and suggestions for needed topics are very welcome.

June 10-12th, 2016 was the PSAC Regional Woman’s Conference in Winnipeg.  I met some truly incredible women, heard about some serious concerns for our female membership, such as lack of medical expense coverage for birth control of choice, amongst other things.  One thing that particularly stuck with me were the statistics of sexual assault of a woman in Canada because I had no idea they were so high!  1 in 4 women, 1 in 4 of our sisters, has been sexually assaulted, and of those women only 6 in 100 will ever report it.  This statistic in a country like Canada is a tragedy brothers and sisters!

June 20th, 2016 I enjoyed participating in my first meeting of the PRC Education committee.  We discussed many topics including where education is now, where we believe it should be heading in the next few years, and what types of courses we would like to see.  We also spent a significant amount of time discussing the challenges of providing training in small locals, or where interests might be waning.

Sept 15th, 2016 I worked with Saskatchewan Penitentiary to organize an informational plant gate surrounding Phoenix to raise attention to the continuing issue.  All components were invited to attend, although no others chose to do so this time.  USGE pitched in for coffee and muffins/donuts for all members and RVP’s Barry Stolar, Jackie Oswald and Frank Janz were present to support us.  Traffic was significantly delayed and the event was covered by CTV News, the Prince Albert Daily Herald and PANow.  All articles showed significant sympathy for public servants who are not being paid, or who are being paid incorrectly.

Sept 24-25th, 2016 I attended a course on Violence Prevention in the Workplace at the Saskatoon Regional Office.  Brother Clint Wirth was the instructor and I learned a lot about the process as outlined in the Canada Labour Code and Regulations.  I also learned that this can be a valuable tool against bullying in the workplace.

Sept 28, 2016 the Prince Albert & District Area Council hosted a town hall.  National Executive Vice President Chris Aylward was there to give a briefing and Q&A on phoenix, Sister Marianne Hladun was there to give an update on the region and answer general questions including specifics on bargaining in components and directly chartered locals and Sister Brea Lewis was present to give a briefing on bargaining, how its going and what to expect in the near future.  The event was attended by approximately 50 people and was well received. 

October 15th, 2016 I attended and spoke at a pilot program course on Staffing in the Public Service at the Saskatoon Regional Office.  Our guest speakers were Erin Chuey who was there to present the staffing process, and answer questions from the employer’s perspective, Satinder Bains was present to speak about the PSLREB complaint process and how it proceeds and I was there to speak about what going through a complaint is like from the employee’s and/or shop steward’s perspective.  I was reminded once again of the level of knowledge and expertise in our Regional Office staff members, and just how important in classroom training is, despite the difficulties, particularly in the region as widely spaced and diverse as ours.  Classroom training offers so many opportunities that no other training provides, including getting to know people from other components and locals, and what their challenges and concerns are.

The PA-AC has met 3 times since the last PRC in February in March, August and September, our AGM is scheduled for November 15th at which time we will be electing a new executive and PRC Representative so this may be my first and last report!

Should I be elected as PRC rep again, it is my intention to attend each components AGM, provided they allow it, and speak on the importance of the Area Councils.


Shannon Blum

President USGE Local 40023, 4A023, 4B023
Secretary Treasurer PA-AC
PRC Rep for PA-AC
Education Committee
Alternate USGE National Committee
Informal Conflict Resolution Steering Committee
Local and Regional OSH committee member for CSC