At the PEA’s convention in 2013, long-time member Trudy Goold received a PEA Service Award for her many years of dedicated service to the union. In a conversation prior to the award ceremony, she spoke about her experiences as a PEA volunteer over the past thirty years. Trudy’s positive demeanour and welcoming smile shone through as she described the different roles she played, as well as her involvement in a significant event in the PEA’s past. These experiences shaped not only the PEA’s road forward, but her outlook on the union and the skill set she brought to other areas of her life.
Trudy’s service to the PEA started over 30 years ago when she became a GLP local rep, a position she held throughout the 1990s. She was then elected to a one-year term on the GLP executive in 1989. She did not seek re-election at that point as she was headed into a maternity leave. After attending the PEA’s initial convention in 2000, however, she again put her name forward in 2002 for the GLP executive, where she was to serve for a total of three two-year terms. She also sat on the Association executive during this time. She became the chair of the GLP executive between 2003 and 2005, during a very contentious time in the PEA’s GLP history.
In 2004, the B.C. government began an attempt to move the entire GLP chapter into the BCGEU. With Trudy at the head of the GLP executive, the PEA began the process of developing a campaign and gathering support from other unions and organizations, including the BC Federation of Labour, to oppose the move. Trudy remembers the support members across the PEA gave to the campaign. “It was wonderful to see our members stand up and speak out against this as well as receive strong support from the other chapters of the PEA.” The main argument of the campaign was that workers should have the right to belong to the union of their choice. The B.C. government eventually stood down and the GLP remained in the PEA.
Trudy stepped aside from the GLP executive in 2007. “I decided to step aside. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would encourage other members to become involved. I had the pleasure of working with wonderful people and seeing things get accomplished,” said Trudy. She emphasized the important skills she developed while on the GLP executive. “It gave me a different skill set. It’s a great opportunity to develop competencies for future interviews.”
Trudy also has a lot to say on the continued deprofessionalization of the B.C. public service. Trudy remarks that “it’s up to the members to keep speaking up. We have to keep on with the government executive – keep the message out there about the value of having professionals.” She also mentioned that we have a long way to go in extolling the importance of professionals in the public service. “People don’t realize the importance of having professionals,” she notes, citing as an example the role played by veterinarians in the public service during the outbreak of bird flu.
She also recalled the recent strike activity by the GLP chapter in 2012 and notes with pride that “it was the members pulling together. When push came to shove we stood together. We didn’t have to twist arms. It showed that our members care. It made me feel good because they supported us.”
As Trudy looks towards retirement in the next few years, she is searching for someone to replace her as a local rep. She is hoping that younger members of the GLP will step up and provide fresh ideas and perspectives on the work of the PEA. She is looking for the new generation that will take the helm of the GLP chapter after her three decades of involvement with the union.