Stasi L’Hirondelle Reports
Greetings Sisters and Brothers,
I am pleased to be the newly elected Geographical Rep for Northern Alberta. I’d also like to thank everyone for the support I received at the PSAC Prairie Region Triennial Convention in April.
Since convention, I have stood with the members the Vegreville Case Processing Centre (CEIU) with two rallies. The first rally that took place was an impromptu rally that was held outside of the Telus World of Science Centre in Edmonton, when we became aware that the Prime Minister would be there to deliver a speech. The information was released late in the afternoon of Friday, May 19. With the help of social media and members of CEIU, we had a great group of people out to rally on the Saturday of a long weekend. The rally garnered much support from the public, and many people in attendance for the Prime Ministers speech were sporting new “Support Vegreville” buttons. There was a rally in support of Vegreville May 25 at Canada Place in Edmonton. Leading up to the event, I passed out flyers in and around Canada Place to encourage ALL members to join the rally. I believe this was another successful event in support of our sisters and brothers, that included coverage by local media.
In support of the PSAC boycott of National Public Service Week, and with the help from the Edmonton Area Council, an email was sent out to all the rural locals encouraging them to boycott NPSW and hand out ice cream and popsicles instead. A poster was included in the email for them to distribute to their members and the presidents were advised that funds were available from the Area Council to support the boycott. I supported Area Council with the creation of posters, assisted in plant gating, as well as handing out nice cool treats to members at Canada Place on June 14. On June 15, I
joined one of the RO’s travelling around Edmonton in our “vansicle”, handing out treats to members.
I’m currently still waiting for a listing of emails for all the local presidents within the region from the RO, and I look forward to reaching out to them all and finding ways in which I can support them. I hope to plan some meet and greet events with members in the fall, allowing an opportunity for me to hear directly from the members how I can best support them as the geographical rep.
I am looking forward to my role as the Geographical rep for Northern Alberta and working with Prairie Regional Council to foster strong relations with our members.
Since my last report, the council has had two conference calls with plans to meet face to face February 9-11, 2018. During the conference call in September, the main topics discussed were strike actions taking place at the Winnipeg Airport, and Phoenix issues. I’m happy to say that the strike at the airport was resolved. Unfortunately, issues with Phoenix continue to happen and we will continue to rally and put pressure on the government until all issues have been rectified.
With all the continued issues with Phoenix, I’ve made numerous phone calls to my MP. I’ve explained my personal issues, as well as the issues many members across this region have been having. All Canadians deserve to be paid for the work they’ve done. I know there is still a lot of work to be done to fix all the errors with the Phoenix pay system, and I commit to standing behind PSAC and all members in this fight.
I continued my path to becoming a stronger leader by attending the PSAC National Leadership Training course held in Ottawa November 30 – December 3, 2017. There were some fabulous guest speakers and workshops to attend. My most memorable workshop was the Kairos Blanket Exercise. This is an interactive workshop that delves into the relationship between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples. It was a very emotional workshop, and one I’d strongly advocate for more members to participate in.
During this time, I also attended a Labour Leaders meeting on behalf of the RVP, Marianne Hladun, where leaders of different labour organizations meet with Minister Amerjeet Sohi. I spoke to the Minister about the closure of the Vegreville CPC. To paraphrase, I stated that I know he’s aware of the situation and has seen previous fact sheets and reports. But I wanted to reiterate that the closure of the processing centre would be devastating to Vegreville. There are approximately 240 employee’s working at the centre in Vegreville, but are you aware that the per capita equivalent would be an employer removing 55,000 jobs from Edmonton? The arguments made by the government to support the closure have been refuted, and as the Prime Minister campaigned on building strong rural communities, can we count on you to call for the reversal of the closure? Minister Sohi provided the same reasons for the closure that have been stated many times. I couldn’t get a satisfactory answer, so I waited around after the meeting to speak to him a little longer. I asked him if he would provide support and go back to Minister Hussen and request that there is serious consultation with the union to look at viable alternative to the closure of the Vegreville office. He did agree that he would bring it up to the Minister. I also suggested that he visit the office himself to dispel the “myths” of the building being in disrepair. At the time of writing this report, it seems like the intent is still to close the CPC office.
I’m also pleased to report that I was nominated and selected to be a delegate to the upcoming PSAC National Convention in April by the Edmonton Area Council. This will be my first National PSAC triennial and I look forward to representing the members for my region.
August 17 – Labour Leader Meeting with Alberta Federation of Labour & Minister Amerjeet Sohi
September 4 – Labour Day BBQ
October 14 – Edmonton Area Council Second Annual Solidarity Brunch
November 30- Dec 3 – PSAC National Leadership Training
There has been a lot of activities happening in the region, and in fact across the country since the last reporting period. The biggest being the Federal Election. Leading up to the election I worked with the Regional Office to have 2 solidarity BBQ’s for PSAC members. At these BBQ’s we had many members gladly sign the Return to Sender petitions calling on Mr. Trudeau to honour his promise to members. I enjoyed engaging with members on Phoenix, Bargaining and the upcoming election. A big thank you to all who participated.
At the last regional meeting in Winnipeg, I was fortunate to attend the 100th Anniversary strike rally to commemorate the general strike. It was invigorating to be surrounded by so many labour unions and to see how the strike in 1919 effected change. It was a great reminder of how solidarity works, and I’m ever thankful to the brothers and sisters who came before me.
In June I attended a meeting to lobby my Member of Parliament. I met with him and discussed the issue’s with Phoenix and bargaining. He too had been impacted with Phoenix. I am currently waiting to hear back from his office so I can schedule a follow up meeting. I plan to hold him to his promise to pressure the government to not only fix Phoenix, but to provide proper compensation to ALL members for the hardships faced.
September once again saw me at the Labour Day BBQ in Edmonton. At the event I was able to engage with a federal minister and took the opportunity to discuss Phoenix and bargaining. I expressed how our members DESERVE a fair contract and to be paid on time every time. I also enjoyed giving back to the community and representing PSAC at community events.
During my summer vacation, I passed out Burnt by Phoenix sticker to the Parks Canada employees working the Jasper Park gates. I carry stickers in my vehicle and never miss an opportunity to share and take a few minutes to thank PSAC members for the work they do.
During this time, I also participated in a conference call meeting for PRC, as well as 2 conference call meetings for the bylaws committee. I attended some training classes at the Regional Office, area council meetings, as well as Regional Financial training for 2 days.
As always, it has been a pleasure learning and growing in my role as Geographical Rep. I commit to continued growth in myself and working to engage members to build a strong union.
Since my last report in November, I’ve worked with the Bylaws committee to prepare and present some resolutions to be submitted to Convention 2020 on behalf of Prairie Regional Council. The bylaws are the structure of our Union and ensure that those of us elected to represent the members are adhering to the order and as governed by the members. This was my first time in such a role and I enjoyed the learning experience. As always, I did my best to make decisions based on what’s I feel best suits the needs of the majority of members. Since the meeting with the Bylaw Committee, I also presented a Bylaw to the Edmonton Area Council and participated in discussions around other resolutions brought forward.
This has also been an interesting time with bargaining. Public Interest Commission meetings have been held in December, January and still some to come in March. Unfortunately, little good news seems to be coming from these meetings. PSAC has taken the proactive stance to prepare for any strike action, and have been scheduling Strike Prep Training Courses. I completed my course in January and have been encouraging members from many components to register and complete theirs. Now is the time we must all STAND in SOLIDARITY with our Bargaining Team. After all, the best way to avoid a strike is to be prepared for one.
Since the last face to face meeting of Prairie Regional Council, I’ve participated in conference calls, attended Area Council meetings at my local regional office, and continued to encourage members to become engaged. There was also a lovely holiday meet and greet for all PSAC committee’s and area council held at the regional office. It was nice to get together with fellow activists to enjoy each others company and celebrate accomplishments over the past year.
In my last report I discussed how the meeting I had with my local Member of Parliament. I have scheduled my follow up meeting and hope to report some positive news. I personally feel that now is an important time to put pressure on all our Members of Parliament to ensure that there is fair compensation for Phoenix, and Treasury Board returns to the table ready to BARGAIN FAIRLY!
So many things have changed since my last report due to the global pandemic of Covid-19. I want to start by saying that I hope everyone is staying safe and taking all necessary steps to protect both your physical and mental health. If anyone is struggling, and wants some resources, please don’t hesitate to reach out to myself.
Since my last report, I have attended two zoom meetings for Prairie Region All Committee/PRC/Staff. These provide a great opportunity to share ideas and work towards building engagement amongst members. I’ve also joined some zoom training events. These events are available on the PSAC Prairie website and I encourage all members to login, watch the training sessions and become involved with your union.
As the pandemic continues, I fear more push back will happen from employers with regards to 699 leave. Members need to contact their components and stand in solidarity against such actions.
All the best for 2021, and as always, please reach out to me if you have any questions regarding my report or would like some assistance. I will endeavour to assist you to the best of my abilities.