Unions have been under attack since the ascension of Stephen Harper to the halls of power. Using omnibus bills to backdoor legislation that reduces the effectiveness of unions across the country is the usual tactic and appears to be working. Departments are being decimated by the Deficit-Reduction Action Plan (DRAP), as well as members in all positions. Our members find themselves worried about their future, their ability to care for their family and their ability to do their jobs. For the most part, it is understandable that members do not want to get more involved with their union. After all, why draw attention to oneself by making a lot of noise? During this dark time, it is not often that we will see a department encouraging its employees to get involved with their union. But that is exactly what is happening over at Public Safety Canada (PSC).
In an recent InfoBulletin, François Guimont, Deputy Minister and Robin Kers, USGE LRO, co-chairs of the National Labour Management Consultation Committee at PSC, issued a joint statement where the importance of employee involvement as representatives in occupational health and safety and union activities was recognized and encouraged.
Of note, Public Safety Canada management recognizes that “(e)ffective labour-management relations represent a cornerstone of good human resource management. Collaborative efforts by union representatives and management, through transparent communication and sustained dialogue, improve the ability of the Public Service to serve and protect the public interest.”
What a refreshing change to have a department understand the true value of having their employees participate and get involved in their union. We thank PSC for this message and can only hope that other employers and departments will follow PSC’s lead in encouraging their employees to participate and become involved with USGE. We are, after all, on the same team, working towards the same goal: providing efficient, safe and effective services for the Canadian public.