As I near the end of my term as National President, I would like to thank all the members for their support of the Union over the years. It has been an honour to be involved with UTE for over 40 years, in many different positions at the local, regional and national level. I have long known that we are much stronger together than we are apart. We have won many improvements to our collective agreement over the years. We have defended the rights of many members across the country and have upheld the collective agreement when management tried to subvert it. None of this would have been possible without the numerous volunteers across the country at every level. We have only two elected officials that are paid employees. All the other union representatives across the country, from Local Stewards to the Second National Vice-President, donate their time and efforts because they believe in helping the membership. It is a thankless job most times, where members direct their frustrations caused by the decisions and actions of the government and management at the Union. These volunteers need to be thanked and appreciated for all they do. As I have said many times, speak to your local union representative or National Officers if you do not like what the union is doing. We want to hear from you. We also have great staff that work hard for the membership and are always willing to help out.
As I reflect over the last 40-plus years with CRA and my involvement with UTE, I want to thank my family for their support and understanding. They lost out with me not being there as much as I should have been, but they never complained. They simply accepted and understood what I was doing. To my two loving daughters, my fourteen grandchildren and my loving wife - this would not have happened without all of you. Also to the rest of my family: Mom, Dad, brother, sisters, the in-laws and the nieces and nephews - thank you for all the love and support.
Local 60005 in Saint John and the Atlantic Region were always there for me and helped to make me what I am.
There are far too many people to thank in this letter, including the past National Presidents of UTE, the many friends that I have worked with at the CRA, and the fellow union activists that have been part of my journey. Most of them know how much I love and respect them, and I will personally contact each of them before I go.
To all the members, I leave these parting words: We are stronger together. The government, irrespective of party, will always want to take away your rights and benefits as workers, ranging from poor wage increases to sick leave and pensions. They only way to protect yourself and future workers, is to stand up and be heard. Don’t just sit back and expect someone else to fight for you. Get involved; support the Union; participate in activities. As I said repeatedly during our last contract talks, it is time to stand up or give up, but you have to take responsibility for your decision or lack of participation. We can only get stronger if we stand together.
I wish you all good luck as I enter the next chapter of my life. I am looking forward to retirement and spending more time with my wife and my family. Of course, there will also be charity work and fighting to save our pensions. Once an activist, always an activist.
Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to serve.
Bob Campbell, UTE National President