Tips from an experienced activist to PAM election candidates: be brave and open
A long-serving PAM activist and an ex-shop steward Sirpa Viitanen recommends PAM Congress election candidates to participate in the election training organised to the candidates by the union.
Should I stand as a candidate for the Union Congress elections? You’ll be fine in the Congress, as long as you’re brave and open and learn some meeting techniques, says recently retired long-serving PAM decision maker and shop steward Sirpa Viitanen from Rauma.
”If you strongly disagree on something, you should definitely bring it up. On the other hand, there are always people with different opinions in meetings, so you just have to learn to tolerate them and not to take anything personally. They are just other people’s views. And then you can start thinking about them. Being open and listening to others pays off”, Viitanen suggests to Congress election candidates.
PAM offers training to candidates in October-December; on standing as a candidate and on the Union Congress itself. Based on her experience, Viitanen recommends candidates to participate in this training. You can decide as late as after the training whether you want to stand as a candidate or not.
”Training is always a good idea and it’s worth participating in any possible training offered.”
Viitanen also encourages candidates to practise their performance skills, for example in the union branch activities, if public speaking feels stressful. It is part of Congress members’ role in meetings, after all.
”Training also gives you courage to open your mouth, for example in the Union Congress.”
Viitanen sees her active role in trade union activities as part of her general knowledge. She has accumulated an approximately 40 years’ experience in them before she retired this year.
”I wouldn’t change a day. My work has been meaningful and it has contributed to creating basic protection to other people”, she concludes.