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NEWS: Robyn Benson elected to lead the PSAC

Robyn Benson

Robyn Benson

The Ottawa Citizen reports, “(At its triennial convention this week, the Public Service Alliance of Canada) elected a new grassroots president (Robyn Benson), increased dues to help fill a war chest and planned strategies to fight the government’s spending cuts and defeat the Conservatives at the polls.”

“Delegates sent the union’s finance committee back to the drawing board several times to find enough money for the biggest war chest — $6.7 million — in the union’s history. The money is needed to launch a campaign over the next three years to harness public opinion in the union’s fight to stop the erosion of public services… ‘It’s pretty obvious from this convention that the PSAC has positioned itself to fight the cuts and the kind of fight it’s going to be is in the court of public opinion,’ said Larry Rousseau, regional vice-president for the National Capital Region.”

The union has 186,000 members, but “more than 12,000 PSAC members have received notices over the past month that their jobs could disappear. …Union leaders aren’t worried about membership slipping below 170,000 in this round of $5.2 billion spending cuts, but they are worried about more and deeper cuts in the government’s 2013 and 2014 budgets.”

Another Postmedia News article notes, “Benson, PSAC’s regional vice-president for the Prairie region, won in a decisive vote over her closest rival, Patty Ducharme, national executive vice-president and second in command in the 186,000-strong union. She replaces John Gordon, who is stepping down as president after six years. …Planning the course of the union’s future (includes) a roadmap to build political power and coalitions to fight the Conservative government’s spending cuts…”

The Council of Canadians congratulates Benson on her election and looks forward to continuing to work with the PSAC to challenge the Harper agenda.