First of all, I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for the work you do each day on behalf of Canadians and USGE. Whether you are an employee of a small department such as CSIS or the Canadian Human Rights Commission or a larger department like the Correctional Services Canada or the RCMP, I want you to know how much your contribution to keeping Canadians safe and secure is valued.
I know many of you have been working in an environment that is ever changing and you have had to adapt to new circumstances. I want to assure you that USGE is doing everything we can so that you are able to work in a constructive and supportive environment.
I also want to acknowledge the important role that USGE’s leaders play in ensuring that members are able to enjoy the protections of their collective agreements. Since being elected your National President I have been amazed by the leadership and commitment shown by activists at all levels of our union, whether you are an engaged union member, a shop steward, an executive member of a local, a regional Vice-President or the National Vice-President. Thank you very much for all your work on behalf of members.
After being elected this past July, I have been eager to put into action my plan so that USGE is the dynamic, inclusive and responsive union that you expect and need us to be. We have made significant progress and I am proud of what we have done thus far. At the same time, we have much to accomplish in the New Year.
Some of our activities since July have included:
- I have made several site visits throughout the country to learn more about the experiences of members. These included visits to the Mountain and Kent Institutions as well as the production kitchen for the new CookChill program at the Matsqui Institution. In the Atlantic, I visited three different RCMP detachments in Stellarton, Pictou and Bible Hill as well as attending the scholarship ceremony for Constable Larche in Saint John, New Brunswick. I also traveled to Monton to attend a general meeting and participate in a workshop. And in Ontario, I visited the Warkworth institution and met with the USGE local there.
- Due to significant changes we have made in labour relations at the National Office, hundreds of grievances have been resolved- with many more well in progress. Our approach is designed to ensure that grievances are handled in an efficient and timely manner so that members can be confident that their issues are being fully addressed.
- Finally, we have launched a new website and are putting into place a dedicated communications team that not only will be engaging our members in the development of key campaigns in the New Year but also ensuring that you are receiving the information you need to support your important work on the ground in the workplace.
At our triennial Convention, the membership made it clear that they wanted to see changes to our education program. Early in 2015, we will be re-visiting and redesigning important components of this training so that we offer our locals the expertise they need, particularly in the face of new legislation.
I look forward to meeting and hearing from many of you in the New Year. If you are ever experiencing an issue in your workplace that you believe deserves my attention or if you simply want to touch base with me personally, feel free to do so at the coordinates below.
I trust that each and every one of you will be able to take a few days over the holidays to savour some special moments with your family and other loved ones. Above all, they matter most.
Merry Christmas, happy holidays and may you experience much joy in the upcoming Year.