Hello, my name is Jason Miller. I am a Dietary Aide at Kennedy Lodge Nursing home in Scarborough. I was a part of the #TomorrowTogether road trip in St. Catharines where I attended the EMERG conference. I received an email about being a part of the EMERG [Engaging Millennials and Educating for Revolutionary Gains] conference and knew it was something I had to be a part of. The conference brought a sense of belonging and unification upon me.
While working at Kennedy Lodge I often feel isolated as there are few staff that are within my age group. I am often looked down upon because of my age or taken less seriously. Attending the conference made me realize that there are many young members in the workforce that are going through and dealing with many of the same experiences as me.
At the conference I was able to relate with many of the other attendees and had the chance to share concerns and ambitions with likeminded young people who understand what it’s like working in healthcare facilities. The overall facilitation of the event was phenomenal and the guest speakers made it a truly memorable educational and fun experience. We were divided into groups and were educated on how to navigate through our collective agreement. This was by far one of the most helpful parts of the conference because it educated me on how to make myself aware of my rights at work.
During her speech at the conference, our SEIU Healthcare president, Sharleen Stewart, shared her experience about when she was young in the workforce and the many barriers she faced. Sharleen spoke about the barriers such as age and gender and how she managed to overcome and succeed. This was meaningful to me as it reminded me that despite age or whatever societal barriers present themselves, we as young workers can achieve any goal we set for ourselves.
I would like to thank SEIU Healthcare for this wonderful learning experience as well as the executives who stopped off during the #TomorrowTogether road trip to share their knowledge and offer mentorship in achieving change. I look forward to being a part of more local events and I can’t wait to see what SEIU Healthcare has in store with convention next year. We truly are stronger together and I hope to play a key role in shaping the future of the labour movement and the communities across the province.