You just never know how time will change things! Two years ago, I ran as the 1st Alternate RVP, entirely convinced this was the best place for me. But now as I move through my fourth year as the 1st Alternate, I realize it’s time to give back to the membership who has been so generous with their support. I am so proud and excited to have declared my intention to run in the 2018 elections!

My HEU journey really kicked off in 2009 when I travelled to Vancouver for the Clerical Conference. It had been a tumultuous road to get there and just a few hours before I caught the ferry, I learned that my department had been cut and all of us were being given pink slips. That alone was enough to frighten me. I was a single mother in co-op housing. Christmas was just a few months away. The prospect of being without an income left me gasping for air. But it didn’t end there. I had a manager who was – shall we say – difficult. With her in charge of my rights, it was unlikely I had any.

As it turned out, the Clerical Conference was the beginning of my free fall into my union safety net. The people I met began giving me a quick lesson in what to expect and how to stand up for myself. (I even ended up on the poster made a few months later of some of the faces of the HEU clerical family. Funny enough, the poster describes my job back in the department that closed.) Back in Victoria, I was able to get the help I needed.

What a time that was. It’s really true that if you don’t know your rights, you don’t have any. But my union knew my rights, so even as I worried, HEU went to bat for me. I cannot describe the fear I had at that time, but I can tell you exactly how it felt to have my union support me, and it’s why I am here now.

My greatest desire is to give back. It’s to be the voice that speaks when others feel they do not have a voice. It’s to be the hand that holds you up when you need it, as was so generously done for me. There are many ways to be a good union member and many ways to repay the kindness that was given to me when I needed it most. This is my way.

I hope that when you vote at the 2018 HEU Convention, you will vote for me.

In solidarity,

Charlotte

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