PMA celebrates three decades of relationships
By Adela Talbot
January 10, 2013
For the past three decades, it has been the voice of the university’s managers, professional employees, librarians and police sergeants. Western’s Professional & Managerial Association (PMA) celebrated its 30th anniversary in December, marking a long collegial relationship with both university staff and administration.
“It takes time to build a relationship with the university administration and we feel we have an excellent relationship. It takes time to foster that and we’ve put a lot of work into it. The university understands the value we bring,” said Leslie Gloor Duncan, PMA president.
PMA was established in 1982 to represent the individual and collective needs of managers and professionals at Western. Prior to the formation of PMA, an ad hoc group, formed in 1980, served a similar role within the University of Western Ontario Staff Association (UWOSA).
What you might not know if you’re not a member – and what presents PMA with some challenges – is the fact unlike the UWOSA or the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA), PMA does not have actual union status. Union dues are not automatically deducted and membership is voluntary for the roughly 1,000 eligible employees.
While not being unionized does present some challenges, Gloor Duncan said PMA has no plans of changing its status.
“There have been times people have suggested we should be unionized and it’s not a direction we want to take. It’s always on our radar, but we feel there are many benefits to not being unionized, like flexibility. This allows for more collegial relationships and those are values we take very strongly,” she said.
Gloor Duncan explained that not being unionized means some eligible employees aren’t members, and, as such, their individual voices and concerns could fall by the wayside. They aren’t taking advantage of everything the PMA offers.
“Because we’re not a union, people who are PMA-eligible are not required to join. We represent our members, first and foremost, but there is a gap of staff who are eligible, but do not join, with whom we do not communicate,” she said.
“That gap is present but we do our best to get the word out, and we do membership drives.”
As it stands, PMA has roughly 590 members, 15 of them original. There are approximately 400 eligible employees who are currently not members.
Gloor Duncan is eager to share some of the successes of PMA, among them a good history of negotiation and a high level of engagement on all fronts.
“There’s (always been) stability and good outcomes,” she said.
From one committee – the executive committee – at the start, the PMA has grown to include six, among them ones dedicated to communication and marketing, equity, negotiation, personnel and policy, alongside a support group for members.
PMA is working to infuse its events with more fun and relevance, adding initiatives such as wine-tasting events, mentoring workshops and discounts to come at the Stratford Festival.
“I would love to see our membership grow,” Gloor Duncan said.
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