President Daviau kicked off a united Executive Report which featured videotaped input from Vice- Presidents Shannon Bittman, Steve Hindle, Shirley Friesen and Don Burns.
Left to right: V.P. Shannon Bittman, V.P. Don Burns, President Debi Daviau, V.P. Shirley Friesen, and V.P. Steve Hindle.
The theme of this AGM is “Making Progress.” Not so long ago, Canadians could still believe that this was our government’s role: to make social, economic and political progress.
Regardless of the government of the day, as public service professionals that’s what we want to do - day in and day out, whatever our field of work – we want to make progress for all Canadians. But today, President Daviau doesn’t think anyone believes that’s the current federal government’s objective. After all, the Harper Conservatives didn’t drop the word “progressive” from their name by accident.
And this government certainly isn’t interested in progress when it comes to being an employer.
Let’s face it, this government is probably the worst employer we’ve had to deal with since PIPSC became a union in 1967!
Not just because they’ve cut jobs, programs and services.
Other governments have done that.
What makes this government different is what it has chosen to cut, the way it has chosen to cut, and the fact that it wants to use these cuts to change the face of our country and its public service forever. There is no underestimating the challenges of bargaining with this Conservative government.
After all, this is the government that used Bill C-4 to impose restrictions on fair bargaining and, for the first time ever, is pushing members who in the past have depended on arbitration to resolve any outstanding issues into a strike position.
These are the tactics of a bully and they need to be called out and resisted -- publicly. They demand a firm, clear public response and a well-thought-out, behind-the-scenes strategy. That’s why we’ve undertaken an unprecedented collaboration with all our groups and with all other federal public service unions.
This is a pivotal moment in public sector bargaining and in Canadian bargaining history. There will be no ‘divide and conquer’ at the bargaining table this time around.
Together in these negotiations our focus will be on strengthening public services for all Canadians and this includes for future generations. We want to negotiate agreements that will help make the public service a healthy and productive place to work.
Sometimes progress is a byproduct of the times in which we live. Other times you have to make progress yourself. This is one of those times.
As your Union we are making progress every day. We are developing the tools, constructing the arguments, gathering the resources we need to better represent you.
And, of course, as public service professionals your job is quite literally making progress. Day-in, day-out, whatever your field of work you are making progress for all Canadians.
Families and communities from coast to coast to coast, this generation and future generations, they all depend on the programs and services you deliver, they all benefit from your commitment and expertise. That’s what I call making progress.
Together our focus will be on strengthening public services for all Canadians.
But to make this a reality the public service needs to be a healthy and productive place to work. And Minister Clement, you can’t, you don’t and, you won’t do that with a “go to work sick” policy. Fellow members, there are challenging days ahead. But President Daviau is optimistic because she has seen how Institute members have responded to adversity so far.
We are rallying together.
All of our PIPSC groups and our Board of Directors are working together as never before. We have a strong Executive that understands the value of teamwork.
Better Together is much more than a slogan.
Better Together is how we will make progress for our members… at the bargaining table…
as we prepare for the next federal election…
and whenever, wherever and however else we need to take a stand.
Some political leaders delivered messages by video to PIPSC members at the AGM. Tom Mulcair, leader of the official opposition, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, and Green Party leader Elizabeth May encouraged members to stay strong and united. They expressed support for the commitment of professional public service employees and the work they do for the benefit of all Canadians.
They are all busy preparing for a very important date in 2015 and hope that PIPSC members will be engaged to make their views known.
Opening Address (PDF)