Welcome to the Next Three Years!

Welcome to the next three years! First of all, I would like to thank the delegates who represented the membership at our recent convention for their faith in my leadership. I heard what you said loud and clear. You want strong representation, fair collective agreements, strong communication and more training.

I pledged to do my best to deliver, and I will do just that. The thing is, I can’t do it alone. To accomplish all those tasks I need the help of many.

Over the last two terms, we have built an amazing team at Yukon Employees’ Union. Our staff is second to none, and it’s largely because of their efforts that so much of the work mandated by the 2014 Convention has been accomplished.

Delegates to the 2017 Triennial Convention have elected a strong Executive, too. I am really looking forward to working with this diverse group, and I’m especially pleased that they represent workers from many Locals, not only the largest.

What can you expect from the new Executive? Top of the list of deliverables will be worksite visits. We are also planning Rand drives – inviting dues paying but unsigned members to sign union cards. Rand drives help strengthen locals, since dues are remitted to the Local based on the number of signed members. Being “in good standing” allows members to fully participate in union business and to access all the benefits of union membership. More and more often we are learning that new hires are not being given union cards to sign by their Human Resources contact, and many don’t have any idea what the union is doing on their behalf. We mean to work on that, starting now.

We know that the challenges to our negotiated contracts are growing in step with national trends. All bargaining units can be assured that YEU is standing with your bargaining team every step of the way. If your collective agreement is due to be renegotiated, you’re in good hands. PSAC provides us with expert negotiators, experienced and strong. Fully resourced teams supported by their members have the resolve to stand firm in the face of ever increasing pressure from employers.

We want to make sure we reach you with our communications. Please take a moment to register to receive updates electronically via email. At present, we have email contact for just over half our members. We will never flood your inbox, and you can always unsubscribe at any time. Visit our website, https://yeu.ca and register for email updates on the home page. Seriously, we can’t grow our ability to communicate with you if you don’t subscribe!

If you’ve signed up for our emails help us out. You all know other Union members; encourage them to subscribe to the digital emails too. If each of you can encourage one friend or co-worker to subscribe, just imagine what we could do! Stay tuned for an announcement: we are planning an interesting little contest, soon to be unveiled.

As president, I hope to work with the new Executive to achieve a lot in the next three years, but I need your help. Please, become involved in your local – you don’t have to hold an elected position. Most Locals participate in community events or initiatives, and they have a budget that consists of a portion of your Union dues. Come out to your local meetings and have a say in how your dollars are spent. Is there an event or cause you want your Local to support? Say so, and then help to get others involved too.

Don’t think your collective agreement is fair? Want to see something different? Come to your bargaining input meetings, learn your collective agreements so you can put forth a proposal. Get elected to your bargaining team.

Consistent feedback over the last decade has been clear; members want education. We are about to begin the process of hiring a full-time education officer. We have commitment from both YFL and PSAC to work with us to provide more Local training.

We have always provided training, but we don’t always see a return on that investment. I hope our new training initiatives result in greater long-term involvement, and members using the training!

What kind of involvement? Well, you could become a shop steward or a training facilitator. Maybe you’re an amazing event planner, or you want to submit a column or article to our newsletter. You could write about labour issues, human rights, or areas you see the union needs to focus on. The point is there are many ways to engage with this vibrant organization, we’re saving a spot for you, in fact!

At the end of the day, I can’t make all of this happen without you. Neither can the YEU staff or the Executive. Together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish. You are the Union and without your involvement we will not succeed.

Questions? Not sure how to do it? Not sure why you should? Call me and we’ll chat.

Steve Geick
867-336-2631
sgeick@yeu.ca

Why are YOU Union?

“I’m Union Because” is a campaign we launched at this weekend’s YEU Triennial Convention. Delegates shared a few thoughts on what motivates them to keep their union alive, what being Union means to them. We hope you enjoy the pictures & take a moment to think about what makes YOU Union. Want to add your voice?  Print off the pdf, post it on your Union Billboard at work. It’s a conversation we need to have with our co-workers, our kids, our friends and neighbours. There’s a lot of talk out there about what Unions are, what they do… if we don’t tell our own story, we give away all our power. Tell your story!

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Download the pdf, print it off and post it!

YEU Triennial Convention kicks off in Whitehorse

YEU is excited to launch our 2014 Triennial Convention in downtown Whitehorse. For the next three days, northern Union activists will discuss & debate resolutions to govern the working of the organization and elect their leadership for the next cycle.

Here’s a photo retrospective looking back at some of what we have done over this past cycle… we’ve been busy!

PSAC North Convention 2014: a Photo Gallery

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Thank you to the staff of PSAC North’s Regional Offices, those from National Office and from BC.  Thank you to all the delegates who committed their weekend to the governance of PSAC North, and thank you to all those who put their names forward to stand as nominees for elected positions. We are stronger for your efforts.

Convention Delegate? But I don’t even…

delegates convention 2011There has been a lot of talk about convention delegate selection lately.  Do you wonder what that means? Who can be a delegate? We asked Loralee Kesler, YEU’s Vice President and a long term union activist about the convention delegate experience.

“The first time I was nominated I was really nervous; as a first time delegate I worried I wouldn’t understand the process & wouldn’t represent my co-workers well. After convention, I felt really proud of the work that we did.  I’ve now attended 5  YEU Conventions, 2 PSAC North, 4 PSAC National conventions and 2 at CLC National.

If you’re member in good standing you can be elected  at  a meeting of your local.  You will receive a delegate information package about a month before convention to help you prepare for the sessions.  Although it’s a confidential document you can ask your local or the YEU office for clarification.  You will easily learn the rest as we go along.

There are many times that new delegates have stood on the convention floor and, with fresh eyes have made very solid suggestions for the betterment of all. I’m sometimes asked if you have to be an “activist”?  What is an activist?  Our activists come in all shapes and sizes – if you feel a kinship to what the union stands for, then you’re an activist.

Before convention we a hold training session to help new delegates understand parliamentary procedure and rules of order.  My first couple of conventions I was confused about some of the “convention speak” – once you understand it, things get easier. YEU has accepted a clear language resolution which makes a big difference!

I love conventions; we decide the direction the executive committee will take in the next term, and they are accountable to the membership at the next convention.  If someone out there is curious but unsure and their local hasn’t had delegate selection yet – I encourage them to call me with their questions.

Delegates give direction to the component for the next term; it really is a grassroots, democratic organization. This is your union, your leadership needs your direction for the term.  It’s important for locals to fill their quota so there is a fair representation of your local at the convention.  Consider this, in a local of 2000 members, do you really want only 10 delegates there representing your interests when you could have 40 delegates speaking out?”

That’s a pretty good point. If you haven’t already considered the possibilities of union involvement, maybe it’s time!