I have been an employee since 2006. I have spent all these years learning how the union operates, the policies, procedures and laws that make it function along with learning how to handle grievances, complaints and other issues while facing a very difficult employer.
In 2012, I noticed that the local was unmanageable. The demographics were huge. We had stores all the way from Creemore, Stayner, Barrie, Innisfil to Woodbridge and Markham. Many past Union executives noticed this in the years but I was the one who investigated how we could better manage the local, and studied the OPSEU policies and procedure to successfully split the local. This was not an easy feat.
I have seen many changes over these years. The worst change has been the lack of full time jobs and the job sharing all casuals have been suffering. The past few years, I have had to work 7 days a week (for just over 30 hours) just to be able to barely survive to pay my bills and take care of my family while not being able to obtain a full time job.
I have always encouraged all members to attend local meetings, education training and to become stewards. I know many of you have seen me several times, attending stores to post meeting notices. I send regular emails and keep up the website and always have encouraged participation. Locals across the Province, have been inspired by the website and communications we have maintained and these other locals use our information as a source for their own locals.
Recently, members of this local have come forward to run for officer positions. These members have every right to step up and I am happy that they are. I have always encouraged more participation in the union. In order to run for any position, you must be an elected steward first. This is a OPSEU policy. The problem with this policy, is that it does not say you must be a “trained” steward to hold an officer position. It concerns me to have members with no training and no prior involvement suddenly decide that they will try and run for executive positions without training. A steward’s main role is to defend the contract and the members. They must be willing to challenge management when our rights are violated.
What I find to be the biggest oddity is that these members have chosen their own “team” and through this they have excluded not only me, but other stewards that have a true interest in the union. These other stewards that have filed grievances, attended education training and have a dedicated interest in helping others and finding out why wording in our contract is working against the members.
When we bargain, grievances are looked at. Issues that have been brought forward are studied. If no one has complained, no one knows what is or what is not working. It is important to stay involved and speak up and stand together. To exclude members that stand up and have been involved in the union, will do none of us any good.
I would also like to address the untrue rumors going around this local about me. I am not sure if you have heard any of them, but some members have come forward and advised me and OPSEU what is being said. The rumors are hurtful, and against OPSEU’s harassment policies. I encourage any of you that have heard these rumors, to come forward and stop the malicious gossip that is going on and advise our staff representative at OPSEU.
There has also been a lot of miss-information being spread about policies, and procedures of OPSEU. I assure you that OPSEU watches over all locals to assure policies and procedures are followed.
Some people will say that the rumors and miss information are just politics. If you have ever been bullied, you would know that what they are saying and doing against me is bullying.
If you have any questions about what I have done in this local since being a local president, please call or email me anytime.
We are going into bargaining. The contract expires March 31, 2017. The people elected at our next meeting on May 1, 2016 will be the members representing all of us for two years and during the upcoming round of bargaining.
I am looking to be reelected. I forgive the members who started these nasty rumors and I will carry on with my head up as I know what has been said is untrue.
It is the employer who is the one who wants us divided and conquered. It is the employer who cuts hours, hires, fires, disciplines, transfers and dismisses us and manipulates the contract to disadvantage us.
It is up to all of us to stand together as a whole team without excluding anyone. We need to stand strong, together, so that we get the best results during the next round of bargaining.
I will always spread the word of the union and support all workers. I am looking for your support to re-elect me as local President at our next general membership meeting on May 1, 2016 at WEGZ sports stadium. The meeting starts at 7 pm and I hope to see you there.
President Local 376