Congratulations to USJE member Yvon Barriere who was re-elected PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President (REVP) for Quebec at the recent PSAC Quebec Regional Convention.
Many USJE members will know Yvon as he served as PSAC Quebec REVP since 2018, as USJE RVP for Quebec from 2014 to 2018, and was Local President (10173) at Drummond Institution from 2008 to 2014.
On behalf of USJE, we would like to thank Yvon for all the work he has done, and will do, for the members of USJE and PSAC!
Following his victory, we thought we would ask him a few questions to get to know him better.
How long have you been active in the trade union movement?
I started as an activist and campaigner mainly for social causes in the late 1990s.
What motivates you as a trade union representative?
Without a doubt, the catalyst was seeing injustices in my workplace at Drummond Institution. While I have always been a strong advocate for social justice, I consider myself a grassroots member and I still do.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing trade unions today?
The pandemic has been tough. Workplaces have changed significantly and some of our members are less engaged. I will work to increase the sense of belonging among our members.
What has been your proudest moment as a union representative?
My proudest moments include our organization of a number of large mobilizations in Quebec, including more than fifty demonstrations since 2018! Many of these included more than 300 members each. In addition, we occupied the offices of nearly 40 Members of Parliament, where we brought much needed attention to the issues of bargaining and Phoenix for all our members.
But the proudest moment occurred when more than 100 USJE members shut down access to all three floors of the CSC Regional Office (and indirectly Passport Canada) by 6:00 a.m. This happened at the height of the Phoenix saga, and we insisted that compensation advisors needed to be rehired so that our members could be paid properly. After long hours of negotiations, we succeeded in having the employer add 35 compensation advisors to the payroll!
What do you expect to achieve in the next few years?
The next two years will not be easy. We expect two elections, one provincial and one federal, and contract negotiations for most of our members. Phoenix is still haunting us in terms of our members not always being reliably paid. In addition, the discovery of the remains of so many Indigenous children who were victims of residential schools is devastating. We also know that a woman is killed every 48 hours in Canada from domestic abuse, systemic racism is still very present, and the activities of the extreme right have skyrocketed in the last few years.There is so much to do!
I want us all to work together for the next two years, not A against B, but the union together against injustice, against unfair employers.
I will continue to work tirelessly for our members to advance their rights, their working conditions, the status of our equity groups, including our own status of Women committees, the re-establishment of a living wage for our young members and the promotion of inclusion throughout our union.
Ultimately, my objective is to strengthen the influence of PSAC and promote a strong and united labour movement overall,.
How do you see the relationship between USJE and PSAC?
There should always be ongoing collaboration between USJE, the other Components and the directly chartered Locals.
How do you think we could work better together?
Essentially, we need to work together not against each other. We must be united. By being united we will be and will remain a strong union.