Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Union Activist?

A colleague of mine, who is very much a Union activist, says that I am an activist too. I went from someone who only showed up for major votes (like whether to strike, and to ratify the new Collective Agreement), to being a Union Steward and member of the Bargaining Team. How did this happen?

Quite simply, I was unhappy with the raw deal we got with the new Collective Agreement - my major concerns being the 10 additional Sundays at regular rate, and minute pay increases that didn't keep up with the cost of living. Bargaining, as part of a team, with the Employer on behalf of my almost 300 colleagues take a huge amount of preparation and significant professionalism. I was honoured to be voted onto this team and have committed myself to seeing the process through to the end. I took on the role of Steward because I understand the value of standing side by side with someone when they need to have a stressful meeting with the Employer.

My grandfather was a VP at a major bank and I had gotten the impression that he was anti-union. Because I deeply respected him, I felt conflicted about my involvement in the Union. When he passed away this April and we celebrated his life, I was reminded once again of many values that he taught me. He invested heavily in helping those less fortunate, donating his time to be on the Board of charities he believed in, and giving financially. He cared about fairness and improving people's lives. I think that would also extend to their working conditions.

According to Oxford Dictionaries, the definition of an "activist" is: 
A person who campaigns to bring about political or social change.

So maybe I am an activist.

What about you? What are you an activist about?

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