PSAC Member Thu Trinh likes what she does.
As a Benefits Officer at Employment and Social Development Canada, she enjoys figuring out where overpayments or underpayments come from and correcting claims to make it right.
“If someone needs employment insurance, and if there's no public service employee, then those Canadians wouldn't be paid. They wouldn't have food on the table or be able to support their kids during times of unemployment. If we weren't here, Canadians wouldn't be paid with the money that they have contributed.”
Trinh is only disappointed that her employer doesn’t seem to see it that way.
While the federal government should be setting a standard for all workers in Canada, proposed wage increases are nowhere near on par with soaring inflation rates, and federal public service workers are being left to foot the bill. “Everything's gone up, and so should our pay. It's concerning, disheartening, and disappointing. We served Canadians through the pandemic and we haven't stopped. We deserve better.”
Continuing to support workers in uncertain times
As a full-time working mom, the pandemic has been challenging for Trinh. But she and thousands of other public service workers stepped up, adapted and made sure that public services kept running smoothly despite all the challenges.
“I'm proud to have been working since March 2020, paying Canadians and helping Canada stay afloat. ”
But the economic landscape has changed dramatically over the past two years. Returning to in-person work with the financial burden of travel, parking and childcare at a time when costs have skyrocketed is untenable.
A lack of diversity in leadership opportunities is another consideration for Trinh, who still holds the same position she was hired in after 10 years, despite seeing many others who have moved up.
Taking action to make change
Trinh knows change is possible through union mobilization. As president of her local, she enjoys helping 300 members to learn and claim their rights, building and maintaining a strong local, promoting diversity and inclusion and even helping the employer to achieve a healthier and less toxic work environment.
Based on her own experience, she sees an enormous value in getting involved.
“You're paying union dues, if you want to see changes, support your union. Be active and have a voice!”