PSA Youth - September 2016

Our monthly newsletter for PSA members aged under 35.

In this issue:

Getting the union message to graduates

Many students go straight from university into the public service without having any contact with the PSA, or knowing anything about our union. They join graduate programmes which aren’t covered by the same collective agreements, and they may not see the value in union membership. But it’s vital for us to reach them, because they may stay in the public service, working in different organisations, for their whole career.

So the PSA are working with the Public Sector Graduate Event Network (PSGEN) - a network run by the State Services Commission for public service graduates – to build our profile with young non-union workers. Many have had no contact with the union before, so the idea is to make a great first impression and let them know a bit about us, so they’ll be more open to joining when one of our organisers or delegates approaches them at work.

We kicked off with a quiz night in Wellington, with pizza, craft beer and good discussion in between questions about equal pay, diversity and the public service. It was so much fun we had a group from Treasury – an agency where fewer than 2% of staff are PSA members – deciding to wear our fabulous Stand Together t-shirts for casual Friday. That should start some conversations!

We’re planning more events with PSGEN to keep getting the PSA name and message out there. It’s a great way to get people thinking about what the union can do for them, and what they can do in the union.

Fun facts from the quiz: the agency with the lowest average age is the Ministry for the Environment at 39; the average across the public service is 45. Coincidentally, 39% is the gap between men’s and women’s pay at two agencies: Ministry of Defence and Crown Law Office. That’s the biggest in the core public service – though they are both small organisations, so the results are a bit skewed.

By Stephanie Rodgers, PSA organiser

Social workers gather in Auckland

The Social Workers Action Network is a network within the PSA that aims to unite, inspire, inform, and advocate for social workers.

I was fortunate enough to attend the SWAN conference in Auckland, based at AUT on 1-2 September. It was the first ever hui for SWAN and I want to acknowledge the dedication and enthusiasm that Amy Ross (SWAN organiser and social worker) has put into the network. It was humbling to be around like minded individuals and to network with social workers from around Aotearoa.

SWAN conferenceThe keynote speakers were sensational and offered much food for thought. I left feeling refreshed but reminded of where we are in terms of social change in New Zealand.  We need to continue working as a collective!

Debbie Taylor (PSA organiser and social worker) and Amy Ross are looking to form local networks of social workers - if you are keen, hop onto the PSA website (also more info from conference is there) or the SWAN Facebook page and let us know your interest! There are so many opportunities within the PSA networks and I have learnt that you definitely get out what you put in.

By Nicole Gallagher, PSAY Dunedin convenor

Wellington PSAY discussion and drinks

A few weeks back PSA House Wellington hosted a small but enthusiastic meet up for local PSAY member. It was fantastic to see a number of new faces at the event, and for a few of them it was their first PSAY event. It was a casual affair where we discussed everything from automation (robots are taking our jobs!), local body elections, and their experiences of being a member of the PSA. And of course there was wine and cheese.

We are always keen to see local members get together so if you are interested in arranging an event for members in your area get in touch with the one of the convenors (via their email addresses in the right-hand column of this newsletter).

By Caleb Gordon, PSAY national co-convenor

Educating Waikato students about unions and rights at work

The Young Workers Resource Centre (YWRC) is a non-profit organisation that focuses on educating young people to empower them in the workplace. We do so by providing workshops to secondary schools and community organisations throughout the Waikato and Bay of Plenty on knowing their employment rights and responsibilities.

Since joining on in August as the new educator coordinator for the YWRC, I have been able to express my own passion and enthusiasm for unions by talking to roughly 350 students about what unions are, where to find their union and the amazing opportunities and support you receive as a member.

Currently we have a joint project with the CTU Stand Up movement called Stand Up for Students where volunteers are able to present our workshops to schools in their local area. For updates on our current and future projects, follow us on Facebook.

By Erina Stockman, PSAY provincial convenor (find out more about Erina below)

Organising for change

Former PSAY Auckland convenor and Ministry of Justice delegate Temira Rissetto was lucky enough to be sponsored by Stand Up, the cross-union youth network, to attend the very first NZ Organising Conference. She shares her thoughts on the experience.

Last week I had the opportunity to join in the fun at the Council of Trade Unions Organising For Growth 2016 conference held in Auckland 16-18 August. Growth is defined as increasing membership numbers, increasing union presence, increasing union activity and developing leadership within the union movement. It was an action packed event filled with a number of workshops and key note speakers who provided insight into the skills such as framing and the traits of successful campaigns.

We were joined by some impressive guests such as former NZCTU president Helen Kelly and David Coats from WorkMatters, who flew over from the UK. There were also a number of NZ union organisers, a couple of delegates, network convenors and a number of our Australian comrades who came and shared their stories and learnings from their international experiences.

Our Stand Up convenors ran a couple of great workshops on youth stuff. There were a number of older people who attended that were genuinely interested in learning how to engage and communicate with younger members. They acknowledged that this is essential to the concept of growth. Everyone left the conference energised and revitalised to continue the work on growing the union movement.

Member Q&A – Erina Stockman

Erina Stockman (without sunglasses)

Erina Stockman (without sunglasses)

Erina Stockman, educator co-ordinator at the Young Workers Resource Centre.

This month we catch up with Erina, PSA Youth's provincial co-convenor.

What were your initial thoughts on signing up to do this Q&A?

Surprised! Haha

What is your job and what do you do on an average day at work?

I am an educator coordinator for the YWRC. My every day changes week to week, whether that be presenting workshops, getting out and meeting our community or having the privilege of working with other young people on new educational projects. 

What was a highlight at work for you in the past month?

There is so many to choose from! I think a highlight I am quite proud of is becoming the first PSA member for my workplace. 

What would you say is the hardest thing about your job?

Trying not to take on too many projects all at once. There are so many new ideas and causes that I would like to support and work on. It’s difficult to choose which ones I have to capacity to get behind.

What do you enjoy about being a part of PSA and PSA Youth, and what brought you to join?

There is so much that I gain and enjoy by being part of the PSA and PSAY, and all of it stems from the amazing people involved. I am constantly inspired and also humbled by the people I meet and connect with at Hui or gatherings, that it helps to re-energise me in my own work. 

What is your vision for young members of the PSA?

To feel empowered and confident to choose the direction of the union and be its future leaders. 

How do you like to spend your time outside of work?

I like to spend time with my family, especially my nephew and niece.

What cause would get you out on the streets protesting and why?

Equal rights. I am passionate about everyone feeling like they are valued and included. I think it can be a great hinder for future generations and as a society when we have pockets of people who feel less empowered. 

Which three figures from past or present would you invite to your place for dinner, and why?

I would like to invite ancestors from the past to dinner. I think it would be an insightful experience to gain the cultural knowledge and history behind my heritage from a personal perspective.

What are your three pet peeves?

Don’t really know?

What advice would you give your 16 year old self?

It’s okay to struggle

What your local body election candidates really mean

Our illustrated guide to election jargonThe local body and district health board elections are coming up - your ballot papers should arrive in the mail from 16 - 21 September. Click to find out more, and to download our illustrated guide to understanding candidates' election jargon.

Illustration by Giselle Clarkson.