I work in trades in the Operational Services (SV) group. When I think about good jobs, I immediately think of good morale in the workplace. But morale has never been so low in our departments, as my colleagues and I have been watching our jobs go to the private sector.
Contracting out affects our ability to do our work. Our hands are tied all the time. People retire, secure positions are not filled, and instead outsourcing continues. We see this cycle happening in almost every single department in the SV group.
We work side by side with private sector contractors now, and we see glaring inequality. Contractors don’t have benefits, pensions or job security.
For the employer, it's easier to contract out than it is to hire new people. But when we contract out, everyone loses in the long run.
I know an incredible electrician. Last month, she left her job, and is thinking of leaving the trade after two years on the job because the government contracted out her department so much that she can’t even get her work done.
She is the only woman in her department. How can we encourage women, Indigenous, Black, LGBTQ2+ and racialized workers to join trades in the public service, where underrepresentation is high, morale is low, and jobs go to the private sector anyways? This keeps me up at night. We have to fight against contracting out and make sure that public service jobs are filled.
We all want a safe workplaces. To achieve this, there must be robust public sector jobs in the trades. For the next generation to succeed, they need appropriate training and a toolbox that is full. We are the ones who can provide that environment.
We're creating the future of our work here. So let’s bring secure and robust jobs back to the public sector. Let’s make it easier to recruit, hire, and train a new generation in the public sector. Let’s make trades more appealing to everyone who wants to work here.
We're laying the seeds of a tree that will give shade to our future organization, so we must do this right.
Active UNDE member for the past 15 years, Kristina is the Human Rights rep and Alternate Chief Shop Steward for local 21008 in Victoria, British Columbia. Member of the SV group and Common Issues bargaining teams, Kristina is also the President of the Vancouver Island Human Rights Committee and Vice-President of the Vancouver Island Regional Women’s Committee.