Shop Steward to Viticulturist If you worked with Todd Gates sometime during his 20-year career…
As CEU President, I am proud to represent a Membership of almost 3000 dedicated professionals that work to improve workplace safety and provide support to injured workers all across British Columbia. Although newly elected to the role of President in November of 2019, I served the prior eight years as CEU Treasurer, and I have been involved with the Union in some capacity for almost 25 years.
One of our Union’s strengths is our strong financial position. The strict fiscal stewardship of our Members’ dues has resulted in strong defense and surplus funds, as well as the ability to pay for all our day-to-day operations. My time working for the Union has allowed me past experience with all of our committees, including chairing the Harassment committee, EFAP, and the Drug and Alcohol committee. I am also privileged to be on the BC Federation of Labour Executive Council, the BCGEU (BC Government and Services Employees Union) Provincial Executive Women’s Committee, and I am co-chair of the BC Federation of Labour Women’s Rights Committee, among others.
The CEU is proud to participate in the broader labour movement and is affiliated with our friends and colleagues at the BCGEU and the BC Federation of Labour. I have had the opportunity to lobby and meet with many BC Members of Parliament demanding improvements in legislation. Nationally, we are a part of, and participate in, NUPGE (National Union of Public Government Employees) and the CLC (Canadian Labour Congress). This provides us with opportunities to share our experiences, learn from other Unions and communities, and work together to amplify the voices of Union Members across Canada. As we say in the labour movement, an injury to one is an injury to all. A combination of many years at WCB and being involved at these levels has helped me learn about our Membership and their needs, allowing me to serve them better.
It is hard to believe that only just over a year and a half ago I was with the team at the negotiating table, bargaining for new benefits like working from home. And now here we are with 90% of us working from home at this time. We had a very successful round of bargaining and made many gains and improvements. My pre-COVID 19 plan for my first year included getting to every office in an attempt to talk to as many Members as possible. My work since February is certainly not what I expected but that is how life works. Instead we turned our attention to managing the repercussions of this terrible disease. Still needing a way to communicate, we tried to think long-term and all went to work on this new, much improved website as our poor prior site was not serving our needs, or the needs of our Members. There is still a lot of work to do but I am surrounded by a great team that is willing and able to do the work.
While the CEU’s main role is to advocate for our Members and that is what takes most of our time, we also believe as a Union that we have a duty to improve the communities we live in and by extension our province, country and world. We provide learning opportunities for our Stewards that follow our core values, and we introduce opportunities to learn and support our communities like our last Steward seminar. We went to places like the Food Bank, Immigration Services and the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre not only to meet and learn but to participate in the work done. In terms of how we have taken steps on the community and world improvement fronts, we have worked hard to mitigate waste at our seminars, and have a committee that makes sure any leftover food goes to people that need it. We also consider how we invest our funds in relation to our core values and have made a commitment to continue and enhance our social justice awareness. This includes not just learning about Indigenous Peoples history but learning what we can do, and how we can be a force for positive change. Diversity is what makes us richer as people, having the ability to recognize we are all human beings deserving respect. The Black Lives Matter rallies and shouts for equality for all regardless of skin colour
is the voice of a world sick of politics that minimize the voices of the already marginalized. Once again: an injury to one is an injury to all.
– Laura Snow, President