BCH & Powertech – A message from Vice-President Rysa Kronebusch
June 9, 2020
To: All MoveUP Members at BCH and Powertech
These past few months have been unbelievable and at times a bit overwhelming as I am sure you all can relate.
With the uncertainty of how our work life will look like in the future, I wanted to assure you that myself and your union representatives – Tony Geluch, Barbara Junker, April Young and Mike Novak – are working hard to ensure your safe return to the work site.
Barbara and I have been meeting with the employer on a regular basis initially discussing the plan to get members working at home, and now the voluntary return to your work site. If you have a concern regarding the return to your worksite please do not hesitate to contact a job steward or your union representative and your union will bring your concerns to the employer during these weekly meetings. Alternatively, you can also contact your Joint Health and Safety committee as it is their mandate to try and resolve these issues with the company.
The other subject I wanted to write on is racism. We all watched in horror the killing of Mr. Floyd, and the protests that followed and are still taking place. Prior to Mr. Floyd’s murder, we also heard from our Asian community about being terrorized and targeted. Systemic racism has been a huge part of our history and still exists in our present.
We should be working to not let it carry on into our future. For too long, people have been killed and tormented just because of their heritage, skin colour and ethnicity. There is no place for racism. It is time for everyone to educate themselves. We need policy. We need action.
As many of you, I support the peaceful demonstrations. We need to start looking at what is next. In my lifetime, I can’t tell you how many protests have taken place because of racism. In my lifetime, I want to see a day where we won’t need them anymore. The time is now.
Poetry is always such an impactful way to express yourself. In the words of author and poet Maya Angelou in her poem Still I Rise:
“You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise.”
Another Maya Angelou quote that is very poignant for these times of awareness which I turn to is: “Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.”
Some of you may know Anderson Charles, a BC Hydro employee, union activist, and one of the representatives for Utilities on the MoveUP Executive Board. Anderson recently shared his thoughts on our video blog series hosted by Daniel Fung from our Communications Department.
You can watch Anderson’s video here: https://moveuptogether.ca/the-latest/anderson-charles-on-anti-black-racism/
Thank you for taking the time to read this message. I hope that everyone stays safe, healthy, and remembers the importance of mental health. Reach out to those you know if they should need support, and make sure you take care of yourselves as well.