NPSW Message from our 2nd VP Ingrid Ritums

These last few months have been challenging for all of us. This National Public Service Week, I have been taking some time to reflect on my privilege. We have heard stories from Canadians who have lost their job or business. They are fearful for their future and are depending on support from the government during these uncertain times. Adding another layer to this, we have seen an outcry across this nation and many others in response to the death of George Floyd. We have seen massive rallies pushing for governments to address the ongoing problems caused by systemic racism and discrimination. I have reflected on all those who continue to struggle with mental illness and the additional challenges they face while losing their income or experiencing isolation. My heart aches for so many individuals whose future hopes and dreams have blinked away over the past few months, leaving them feeling precarious.

I have always believed that unions are the best defense in protecting the working class. These past several months have solidified this belief. This pandemic has highlighted the value of the rank and file members of our union as essential service workers. This pandemic has also highlighted the importance of the role of unions in protecting workers. Our local executive and stewards have been busy working with local management to ensure that no one was left behind while we experienced so many rapid changes in the way we work and live. Our UTE bargaining team has been pushing the employer to return to the table and to negotiate a fair contract. Our union has also been working to address some larger issues such as addressing systemic racism.

Going forward, we must begin to shift from a reactive response to the pandemic, to a more proactive approach to ensure that no worker is left behind as we adapt to our new reality. Locally, we are looking at new ways of remaining in touch with you as so many of us are now teleworking. Please continue to visit our local website for news. Please do not hesitate to personally reach out to me or any other member of our executive with a union question or concern. Thank you for all the work that you do each day.

In solidarity,

Ingrid Ritums
2nd VP – UTE Local 00014