Society President Michelle Johnston held a series of five membership meetings in August and September to hear from members about their priorities for the union. Elected in May 2021, Johnston talked about how her background shapes her work as a union leader and spoke about the priorities she brings to the role.
Johnston talked to members about how her experiences as a Metis woman from northern Ontario and a strike captain in the 105-day Hydro One strike of 2005 shaped who she is as a person and a union leader. Rather than continue on to the management track, Johnston decided to serve Society members; first Hydro One Local members and then as a senior officer serving all members.
Johnston shared her top three priorities with members:
- Continue growing the Society’s membership to build the union’s strength and bring the benefits of unionization to more professionals;
- Improve the economic, regulatory and policy environment for members’ work through robust government and external relations programs; and
- Sustain the Society’s strong financial position through the turbulent pandemic recovery ahead.
Before an open opportunity for members to ask questions or make comments Johnston also shared the Society’s federal and provincial political priorities given recently passed federal election and provincial election schedule for June 2022. Federally, the Society is looking to see:
- Action to protect pensions
- Address the climate crisis through investments in electrification and nuclear energy; and the federal government stepping up to be a better partner with legal aid programs in every province through increased and dedicated funding.
Provincially, the Society will be pushing all parties to support:
- Repeal of the unconstitutional wage cap (Bill 124);
- Replacing Pickering NGS with new nuclear
- Electrification in sectors with high carbon emissions, such as transportation and building operations;
- Repealing Legal Aid Ontario cuts; and
- Improving workers’ rights so it’s easier to join a union.
A recording of the final member meeting, which was open to members from all locals, is available to watch at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/6673619283259299587