The union brings us together
“Every PAM member has the opportunity to participate and get involved in our activities”. This message of encouragement comes from volunteers in PAM branches. They want to be involved in making working life better every day.
People are holding PAM balloons at the Labour Music Event in the festival area. On a summer afternoon, PAM members Kirsi-Maria Palander, Kati Linnera, Päivi Vuorinen-Vilen, Harri Helminen and Liisa Teeri have started up discussions with festival goers about working life and PAM.
We sit down for a moment to talk about what got them to get involved in PAM activities.
“I have always got help from the union when I needed it. I have also got new friends by getting involved in union activities”, Kirsi-Maria Palander says.
Next to her, Kati Linnera nods in agreement with Palander. They are both shop stewards at their workplaces and are in their branch committees.
“There’s a feeling of togetherness. That’s why I got involved and remained active. It’s that feeling of togetherness that makes you want to play a bigger part all the time. There’s too little sense of community nowadays, but you find it in PAM’s activities”, Linnera adds.
At the Labour Music Event they answer festival goers’ questions.
“Yesterday too there were people asking advice about employment issues”, Palander says.
“That’s what this union work is about. People ask advice and then we help them”, Palander says.
The branches are there for every member
There are 126 branches in PAM. These bring together all of the union’s almost 200,000 members. Every PAM member belongs to a branch and through that to the union. The members I’m talking to are involved in running their branch activities, taking their own work forward at the same time. It’s a both hobby and voluntary work.
The branches and their activities are for all members.
“Everyone who joins the union should find out about their branch and feel free to see what the branch does. For example, you can get more information on the branch’s website or by asking the shop steward at your workplace ", Vuorinen-Vilen suggests.
“If there’s no shop steward at your workplace, your branch will help. It pays to remember that union membership also entitles you to complain and demand improvements. If you’re not a member, you can’t complain that the union isn’t doing anything", Harri Helminen points out.
New friends and experiences
Beside the tent there are festival goers, and a few PAM members have also come to say hello. There has been a lot of fun and laughing during the event.
“The union family brings us together”, say the people I’m talking to, and they add:
“PAM’s activities draw you in, it makes you want to go to meetings, events and courses where you have friends and can make new friends”.
How can members who’ve joined PAM become part of this? I ask them finally.
“By going along that first time,” they answer.
PAM was a part of the SAK's and trade union's "Ay-olkkkari" that is "trade union livingroom". There PAM volunteers met festival-goers and discussed working life issues.
Text:: Minna Räsänen