Company: CUPE Local 4777
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
While working in the private sector, Helen Sawatsky realized that employees didn’t have the rights they should have. She decided to go into a union job, took a nursing course and found she has a passion for the contract side. Ms. Sawatsky decided she wanted to represent others, and address their needs and benefits of being a good employee. She started as a facility vice president for 11 years and then became the vice president of the CUPE Local 4777, the Canadian Union of Public Employees. She was recently promoted to president.
Ms. Sawatsky’s passion for defending the rights of others has made her an advocate for public workers throughout Canada. She is a natural born leader who deeply believes that workers’ safety should be a high priority and they should be treated fairly in the workplace. As the president of the local, Ms. Sawatsky is responsible for fighting for the rights of employees, listening to members’ concerns, representing members in local 4777, bargaining for collective, serving as a national facilitator for CUPE, and facilitating workshops for members of CUPE. She also serves as a PART Trainer for Prince Albert Parkland Health Region, stands up for workers’ rights, negotiates collective agreements, and wages benefits.
Ms. Sawatsky is currently pursuing a labor certification. To better serve the public, she is an executive member at large for the CUPE Health Care Council of Saskatchewan and is on the National Committee for Fighting Against Contracting Out and Privatization. Ms. Sawatsky attributes her success to working with good people, as well as the mentoring she received from the former president, Carol Lueken, and continued education from CUPE. In the coming years, she intends to expand her responsibilities and continue fighting for the rights of others.