Tanya Lessard is a personal support worker (PSW) at South Centennial Manor in Iroquois Falls, Ont. Tanya says she gained a lot of experience by attending SEIU Healthcare’s Fall Academy.
“I can definitely say the program was life-changing. I learned a lot and increased my confidence, which is something that is difficult for me to do.”
Tanya applied for the Academy because she wants to champion better working conditions for herself and her colleagues.
“We have been facing a lot of difficulties in our workplace and I didn’t have a lot training on how to address these challenges,” says Tanya. “I wanted to be more educated on the labour movement.”
Tanya says her stream, facing management, taught her that she is an equal with managers and that she should not be intimidated by them.
“I now know that managers are just doing their job, but so am I. I am facing them because I am trying to support my colleagues and trying to help them with their grievances,” she says.
The half-day certified mental health training program also made a lasting impact on her. “What really stuck with me was the message, ‘don’t let negative people live in your head rent-free—kick them out’.”
Tanya really enjoyed the social and networking events at the Academy as well. She had the opportunity to make strong connections with other members and made good friendships.
Since leaving the Academy, she has already received questions from co-workers and she has felt much more prepared to answer them. “I have confidence in my answers; I’m no longer doubting myself.”
Tanya wants others to know that SEIU Healthcare is a strong union. “We can get a lot accomplished together if we don’t only focus on negatives and if we are willing to do the work. We can achieve anything together.”