The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Terry Hupman

Terry Hupman

Hi. I joined PIPSC in 2000, the same day I started in the public service, and became a steward in 2009. For the first few years, I didn't think much about the union.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a union to support and nurture a worker, because you can't count on the Employer alone to do that.

Supervisors come in all forms: great, good, adequate, incompetent, and lastly, straight from hell. I've only had one such supervisor-from-hell in the public service, but that was one too many. If you're unlucky enough to have one of the bad ones, like I did, it's an awful feeling when harmful things are happening to you and you're powerless to do anything about it. That's when I turned to PIPSC.

You may have seen Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show do his recurring "Thank You Notes" sketch. I would write one like this: "Thank you, supervisor-from-hell, for reminding me that I belong to a union. Without your malicious actions, I would never have taken the time to learn and appreciate all the great things the union does, and all the great people who are in it." Ok, mine's not very funny but it's true.

PIPSC advised me what to do, filed a grievance on my behalf and represented me through the whole process. In the end, we were 100% successful in the outcome.

That's when I decided I should give back to the union for all the help the union had given me. After participating in some meetings and activities, I realized the union was still giving me much more than I was giving in return, through all the wonderful people you meet and the chance to participate in decision-making that helps others and makes a difference. I now accept that the members and staff of PIPSC will always give me far more than I can give back, but I would still like to try to help others, like PIPSC helped me.

I recently heard an old song on the radio you might know by Carole King called "You've Got a Friend." I thought it so beautifully describes PIPSC. Cue the music: "When you're down and troubled and nothing is going right, all you have to do is call. You've got a friend." That's exactly my experience. When you have your union, you're never alone. Take it from me, that can be a good feeling when you need help, anything from lots of help to just a single question. We all really are better and stronger together.