Wellington PSAY Convenor By-elections

Profiles of the people standing for PSAY Wellington Convenor

Name: Alastair Reith

Workplace: NZ Resuscitation Council

Location: WellingtonAlastair pic3

Why are you standing to become a PSAY convenor, and what interest you most about the role?

Young people are the future of our movement, and too few young people know what the word union means! As an active trade unionist since the age of 15, I see this role as a valuable opportunity to engage and involve an under-represented part of our organisation. I’m excited to support the next generation of workers organising for a more equal society. A role like this isn’t a title you pick up for your CV. I intend to make the position mean something.

What has your previous involvement with PSA Youth Network?

In Dunedin (My home town) I worked closely with Dan and Vicki from the PSA Youth Network for several years. We organised regular meetings of young union member in the local PSA office, to chat about issues affecting us and how to solve them – all over pizza and beers. We were active in the campaigns to end zero hour contracts at McDonald’s, where I was a union delegate, and to support locked out meat workers battling Talley’s for a fair contract. PSA Youth can be very effective.

How have you been involved in other aspects of the PSA?

I joined the PSA on the same day I started my job, a previously non-union workplace. It feels good to grow the movement. I’ve gone down to recent IRD and MBIE strikes with friends (many of whom are also PSA members), and took videos for the unions wellington facebook page which were viewed thousands of times. I think it’s inspiring to see so many young workers in the public service taking strike action after years of wage freezes (i.e. wage cuts). We’ve had enough, and we deserve more.

What do you think you would bring to the role if elected as a convenor?

I have extensive experience in similar roles. I was on the steering committee of Stand Up, youth wing of the Council of Trade Unions., I represented Unite Union, for whom I was a site delegate and an elected member of the National Executive. For al most two years I worked as a communications Officer for the Maritime Union of New Zealand, and I have been actively involved in rebuilding unions wellington as an active space for young workers. I strongly believe in the power of ordinary people.

What would be your top priorities in the role?

More activity, more visibility. There are better opportunities for young people to stand up and speak out today than in many years, and the PSA Youth Network should be front and centre in this> We can up our game, and communicate regularly and effectively with local members. We need to form a vocal and visible part of the PSA campaigns. Above all I believe the PSA Youth Network can be a fun and engaging space to be involved in. We have a huge amount to offer and I want us to deliver.

How would you encourage member participation?

When people get in touch asking how they can be involved, I will make it a priority to follow up on this promptly. And I won’t wait around for new faces to come to me – it’s 2018, and it’s easier than ever to reach out. We can expand our social media presence and meet people where they’re at. Young Wellingtonians are probably the most progressive group in this entire country, and the PSA Youth Network is a perfect vehicle for us to support positive change in the world.

Sophia 4Name: Sophia Grey

Workplace: New Zealand Transport Agency

Location: Wellington

Why are you standing to become a PSAY convenor, and what interests you most about the role?

I'm really passionate about the working life of our demographic in the public sector and I always try to advocate for our rights amongst my colleagues in and between sectors. I think it would be an exciting position of responsibility where I could help elicit real change; I have ideas and I want to see them through. I also like being able to meet and hear from different people from varying walks of life!

What has been your previous involvement with the PSA Youth network?

I have previously attended leadership training (in Christchurch) and went to the 2017 Hui and I have always tried to be involved with PSAY/general PSA events as possible, volunteering and network interests. I just attended the 2018 Congress on behalf of the PSAY network;  I have tried to work with members of this age in my workplaces as this specific demographic has a unique set of challenges and experiences and I am always interested in contributing my thoughts to open forums.

How have you been involved in other aspects of the PSA?

I have been a delegate in the workplace for 5 years (including being the first youth-focussed National Delegate when I was at IRD), with a 6-month break when I moved to NZTA to learn my new role. I attended the CTU Women's conference in 2017 for the Deaf&Disabled network, and I have been to some training through the Women's network; I have also tried to be involved in Out@PSA events.

What do you think you would bring to the role if elected as a convener?

To this role I would bring a dedication, drive and passion to make real change and grow the idea of unionism amongst the under 35 age bracket. I have a voice and want to be able to use mine to allow others to be heard and represent their ideas and goals in a bigger arena that might affect real changes. I am organised and eloquent and want to do a good job at whatever I undertake, and this is a growth opportunity would be no different.

What would be your top priorities in the role?

  • Growth of the union in the under 35 age bracket
  • Raising the profile and positive visibility of the network
  • Building positive understanding of unionism in the new generation of public servants
  • Hearing the unique issues of the PSAY members & advocating for them in the workplace/union stage
  • Using this role as a vehicle to elicit positive changes in the working lives of the youth members

How would you encourage member participation?

I think this starts with increasing people's understanding of what unionism is in 2018; many people under 35 don't understand why unions are needed or relevant & so don't think it is for them, despite wanting to affect positive social change. We need to update the 1960's model for the modern time and educate & invite youth to join by showing them how they can make a difference.

travis2Name: Travis Pidwerbesky

Workplace: Ministry of Justice/ Department of Corrections

Location: Wellington

Why are you standing to become a PSAY convenor, and what interests you most about the role?

I’m putting my name forward for the PSAY Convenor role as this would be an amazing opportunity to advocate for us young people within the union movement. There is plenty of talk around the struggles the younger generation is and will be facing but not enough of us able to actually influence decisions being made.

What has been your previous involvement with PSAY and PSA?

Although my involvement within PSAY has been restricted to leadership training my involvement within the PSA has been a lot more extensive. I’m a current workplace and regional delegate within the Ministry of Justice. Through these delegate positions I have organised and contributed to the industrial action currently happening within the Ministry, provided advocacy support to fellow colleagues going through disciplinary processes, and attended many workshops put on by the PSA.

What do you think you would bring to the role if elected as convener?

My enthusiasm. I’m a hardcore unionist and I’m very passionate about the work that the PSA does.

What would be your top priorities in the role?

Getting us, young people involved and engaged in the decisions and actions the PSA are taking.

How would you encourage member participation?

There are plenty of great bars in Wellington that I feel are underutilised. I would be looking at getting more meet and greets going and trying to expand on the training that the PSAY offers.