Standing together makes our voices stronger

Robyn Benson

I can remember facing the future with confidence when I was in my early twenties. I didn’t enter the workforce saddled with enormous student debt. There were good jobs out there. And I ended up being better off than my parents, because that’s the way it was supposed to be. But today, none of these things are true. The so-called “millennials”—all 8 million of them—are deeply uneasy about their future, according to a recent poll conducted for the Broadbent Institute.

The Broadbent Institute’s report makes grim reading. Only 39 per cent of young people have any expectation of steady, permanent employment. Only 30 per cent know people who have workplace pension plans, and 20 per cent know of no one who does.

That’s why I am so proud to support PSAC members all across Canada. Unions like ours not only improve the working lives of our members, but also help create hope for all workers and the workers yet to be hired. When we stand strong—private and public sector employees together—we prevent the erosion of decent jobs and benefits across the board. As we approach the start of an important round of negotiations with Treasury Board, I want to reiterate that now more than ever, solidarity amongst ourselves and with other unions becomes the most crucial element of our success.

PSAC is taking a leadership role in making this a reality. We are strong supporters of a solidarity pact that unites all major federal unions. This strategic alliance reinforces our strength and makes our voice louder. And we have already started to reap the benefits of broadening cooperation with our partners in the labour movement.

This past February, the voices of the leaders of other major unions were heard at the PSAC National Bargaining Conference in Ottawa. The likes of Hassan Yussuff of the CLC, Debi Daviau of PIPSC, Sam Hammond of ETFO and Paul Moist of CUPE addressed and inspired a crowd of hundreds of our members. Their message furthered our resolve to stand our ground, refuse clawbacks and protect public services.

While you read this, membership mobilization meetings as well as telephone town halls are being organized across the country. This is a crucial way for you to make sure your voice is heard within our union and have any questions answered. Stemming from these ongoing discussions, specific, tailored and effective initiatives will enable you and your co-workers to join in with more than 180,000 PSAC members and voice your support for fair and decent collective agreements.

We are encouraging public sector workers and allies to boycott the government’s Public Service Week activities and instead take action on June 19 in support of our members and the services we provide.

We need to get everyone involved and ready to oppose this government’s attacks on workers and collective bargaining rights.

The call is coming. We are about to take our country back.

June 20, 2014