As you know, on May 5 I was designated by the National Executive Committee (NEC) to serve as your president until the current term is up on December 31, 2023, and I wanted to reach out to introduce myself.
Some of you might already know me from my time as EC director serving on the NEC from 2018 to 2020, and as Vice-President, EC, LoP, OPBO since 2021. Until stepping into the role of president of CAPE, I had been enjoying a 23-year-long career in the federal public sector with all those years spent at Statistics Canada as an industrial analyst, information manager and programmer. In fact, I owe a ton of gratitude to my colleagues for supporting my unexpected transition and making quick arrangements while I attend to the needs of our Association for the next eight months.
My support of unions goes way back to when I became Shop Steward with the Steelworkers of America in the early 90s, before I started working in the federal public sector. At that time, I had joined the union to give a voice to those who did not have one, with a ton of work done on behalf of new immigrant workers. My work was inspiring and pulling my heart strings because my parents were immigrants themselves. I have not changed much today, I am still very much driven by the same desire to defend workers’ rights and doing all the good that I can.
In the next eight months, I will be working closely with the NEC and the management team with the support of the amazing CAPE staff to keep things on track and as planned, switching gears when needed to manage emerging needs.
For one, we will stay focussed on getting great results on the collective bargaining front. We will be ramping up efforts to get better outcomes for our interpreters, who sadly continue to file health and safety incident reports on a regular basis. We will continue to lobby the government for more action on Anti-Black racism and discrimination and more generally will explore ways to give equity-deserving groups a fairer shot at success in the federal public sector.
Return-to-office and remote work are very high on the agenda, and I am looking forward to the research CAPE is about to dive into to build a stronger case for the Employer to soften its position on remote work. I know there are lots of parents, caregivers and people with disabilities that could gain from this. Not to mention women generally, the data on this is pretty clear: remote work is a plus when it comes to gender equality.
In June we will start rolling out several initiatives and activities related to two member resolutions. Like many of you, I am also looking forward to discussing the replenishment of the defence fund, exploring key notions of collective bargaining, and acquiring tools and data to advocate for remote work with the Employer.
I have spent over two decades coaching football to youth to build future athletes, but also to prepare young people for adult life through healthy sportsmanship, fairness, teamwork, and a positive spirit. I’ll be channeling all that good stuff into our unified team to make sure we deliver all that we can in the next eight months.
I would like to thank all the members of the NEC for entrusting me with great responsibilities. I feel a deep sense of duty.
I look forward to continuing to connect with you all with future news, in and at meetings and sharing updates on the great work the NEC, management and staff are doing on behalf of members across the country.