Unifor 594 recently convened a Shop Steward Strategy Conference, uniting our shop stewards and union executives in a collaborative endeavor aimed at shaping our future path. This gathering reflects our commitment to fostering an environment of inclusive engagement, driven by the recognition that our members – comprised of a diverse group of disciplines and backgrounds –share common aspirations and face shared challenges.
During this assembly, we were introduced to Ryan Shillingford our newly elected negotiating chair, who brings a wealth of experience, perspective, and dedication to the table. Ryan's vision and ideas promise to invigorate our approach to upcoming negotiations, ensuring that we secure the best outcomes for our diverse membership. Along with the experience of the individuals he collaborates with, our negotiating team is wasting no time preparing for the responsibilities they face.
The group welcomed Lisa Taman as our new Women's Advocate, an essential position in our union's commitment to equity and inclusivity. Lisa, along with management representative Tasha Gieni, have been diligently training to provide essential support for employees facing the impacts of violence – whether it be at home or in the workplace, female or male. Studies have shown that having a woman in this role will make it more comfortable for those seeking help to come forward and that women are five times more likely to speak to someone they know when looking for help. It is essential to emphasize that these support resources are open to anyone experiencing the effects of a violent partner. They hope to spread the word about the support network they have access to, as well as increase general awareness of this resource.
In addition to our esteemed speakers mentioned earlier, our conference featured a range of voices from our union's leadership team who contributed invaluable insights to our gathering.
Karl Dahle, Maintenance VP, shared valuable advice on enhancing communication among coworkers.
Jamie Wolf, PDD VP, went over avenues to approach for assistance and understanding our chain of command.
Kurt Haakensen, Temporary Admin VP, underscored the importance of succession planning, an aspect crucial to our union's future.
Andrea Jordan, Information Officer, discussed the role played by the Conciliator newsletter as well as our social media and the direction we envision for it, sparking discussions on generating more ideas for articles and posts.
Wade Schnell, Process VP, delivered a compelling message on the necessity of familiarizing ourselves with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, highlighting why this knowledge is essential for effectively working within it.
Together, these leaders enriched our understanding of our roles and underscored their significance while enhancing the breadth and depth of our union's reach and value.
The conference was marked by department-specific group sessions, offering an ideal platform for members to engage with their respective vice presidents and articulate area-specific concerns. This initiative reflects our determination to empower all members, bridging the gap between all departments and areas.
Unifor 594's shop stewards are dedicated to enhancing member engagement and idea-sharing. We invite all members to contribute their valuable bargaining ideas and suggestions to strengthen our negotiations. In this spirit of unity, our collective voice will continue to advocate for fair and just labor practices, ensuring the welfare and aspirations of every member are at the forefront of our mission. Together, we move forward, forging a future that embraces diversity, empowers workers, and champions a fair and equitable workplace for all.
Mitch Bloos, Boilerhouse Shop Steward