PAC SYMPOSIUM AT THE WILLIAM W. WINPISINGER EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY CENTER, REPORT BY OUR EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS
Said our LL1231 President Merry St. Bernard, “IT WAS AN AMAZING WEEK, I WISH I HAD THAT WEEK BEFORE GOING TO OTTAWA. I BELIEVE IT WOULD HAVE GIVEN ME MORE CONFIDENCE. WE HAD DISCUSSIONS ON LOBBYING AND ANTI-SCAB LEGISLATION, COMMUNICATIONS, ETC.”
This is what our our Recording Secretary Marcia Stone had to say, ” I GAINED VALUABLE INFORMATION ON HOW TO BRING AWARENESS TO OUR NEEDS IN HEALTHCARE. WE LEARNED HOW TO APPROACH THE MINISTERS WITH OUR CONCERNS AND I WILL TRY TO EMPOWER MY FELLOW MEMBERS ALSO TO PARTICIPATE, SO THEIR CONCERNS CAN BE HEARD.”
Below is a comprehensive report given by our Treasurer Liza Thambaiah:
There was a large group of over 78 in attendance at the Political Action Symposium from Locals lodges, committees, and District Lodges from across Canada. All sectors were represented including, aerospace, Airport workers, manufacturing, automotive and Healthcare. The Canadian General Vice President, Dave Chartrand gave the opening speech.
The following were some key points of discussion. I) Effective lobbying; an NDP MP and also a CLC member represented a conservative MP and members were able to practice hands on with sector specific issues. We had the opportunity to develop confidence and learned how to engage the MP by giving personal examples, also the importance of taking photos and getting a commitment to help on the issue as well as making sure a follow-up is done either by email, phone or in person. 2) The impact of AI, GPT both the negatives and positives on the workforce. Some examples of negatives were the decrease in workforce, more workload, tracking, constant upgrading of skills. Some positives are working from home, less commuting, job being done faster just to mention a few. The IAMAW is trying to come up with a national strategy to help protect workers whether it be through Collective Bargaining or Legislation.3) Feedback on the IAM sector specific survey that was sent out to members back in November 2022 had poor response. It was decided that the survey will be sent out again. This survey was done to gather information from members regarding the main issues affecting them on the job, so that the union can develop sector specific strategies by means of Collective bargaining or legislation to enhance the standard of living and protect workers from unscrupulous employers. There were only 35 responses from the healthcare sector. Hopefully, there will be a better response the second time around. 4) Emphasis was placed on the importance of growing membership. Some brainstorming ideas were IAMAW logo decals on cars, involvement at community events, larger turnout at labour day parade, sponsorship at junior sporting events like baseball having a banner in place, participation in Gay pride parade with union flags and sponsorship or banners at Caribana and other ethnically diverse festivals. Finally, action plans were drawn up by all sectors to outline, develop and implement concrete steps to engage members in all union activities especially the Political Action Committee. Some of our plans included officially setting up a PAC, ongoing lobbying of MPs in all member constituencies in groups and giving feedback to members at meetings or through the local website.
To conclude in Liza Thambaiah’s words, “I am especially, enthusiastic about taking the action plan to the members, encouraging their engagement, and seeing the plan to come to fruition.”