Vice-President Shirley Friesen outlined the progress of the Better Together initiative since its launch a year ago, and highlighted the many new tools available on the website to assist members.
She acknowledged the inspirational leadership of the PIPSC Better Together member coordinators across the country.
Three of these Better Together coordinators, Pete Jozsa (Ontario), Doreen Weatherbie (Atlantic Region), and Rob MacDonald (BC/Yukon Region) reported on their experiences.
Pete Jozsa highlighted the Better Together web page which encourages members to organize events as a critical part of building both cooperation and community among union members. He provided details of the financial support the Ontario Region provides for Better Together event organizing to constituent bodies in the region. He also gave a powerful example of positive community-building at the recent Ontario Steward Council.
Doreen Weatherbie spoke about the value of using the Changing the Conversation Guide available on the PIPSC website to engage coworkers, family, friends and acquaintances in order to spread the truth about the value public service employees bring to the daily lives of Canadians. Doreen used the example of the sick leave issue to demonstrate how members should change the conversation. She pointed out that the Changing the Conversation Guide provides excellent detailed advice about discussing the sick leave issue.
Rob MacDonald pointed out that Better Together is a “call to arms” for members. Members as individuals have a role in changing the way public service employees are perceived, just by “changing the conversation” about federal government employees in their communities. Members learn they are an integral part of the bargaining process, and that all members need to be involved to show support and unity in order to influence the employer. In time, Rob believes, this understanding will evolve in greater participation in mobilization.
Vice-President Shannon Bittman thanked the Better Together coordinators. They exemplify the positive spirit of solidarity encapsulated by the Better Together initiative. It is through mobilization that we will gain strength for the battle ahead for fairness and labour relations.