MGEU member speaks out about violent attack, need for immediate joint action
MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky, left, with MLLC member Randi Chase
Nov 27, 2019
At a press
conference today, MGEU member, Randi Chase, who was recently one of the victims of a violent attack at
a Winnipeg Liquor Mart, joined MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky to speak
about how she's feeling now and her hopes for a summit to be organized.
"I cannot speak for other people. Everyone experiences these incidents differently," Chase said. "But for me personally I know I will never be the same. I am ultimately here to be the voice for the many individuals who have also experienced these traumatic events. I know I am only one employee, in one of the many Liquor Marts, in a province with thousands of workplaces. But I am going to try to do my best to advocate for the others."
In particular, she addressed the problem of feeling afraid to protect herself. "The robbery itself is one thing, but I quickly realized I did not have the tools to effectively handle, and safely deescalate a situation similar to what happened last Wednesday. These are ongoing incidents and we need to appropriately address them now."
Tomorrow, liquor workers will be meeting to discuss violent incidents in liquor stores across the province, as well as what things have been like for them, before heading to the Legislature to bring those issues forward to their MLAs.
"It’s important to note we organized this meeting and lobby effort about a month ago, before these latest assaults," President Gawronsky said. "This has been a critical issue for some time and that's why it's so important to hear directly from members like Randi. Hopefully more members will have a chance to be heard, and to share their stories tomorrow."
Chase said she feels the thefts and violence are a much larger issue than what is portrayed in the media. "This behaviour is a symptom of a greater societal issue. But as a society we need to come together to create effective and proactive change, now."
Gawronsky has appealed to the government, calling for a summit to bring all the key players in our community together. Chase fully supports this request.
"We need an urgent summit of law enforcement, addictions and social services, public and private retailers, unions, and the provincial government," Gawronsky said. "It’s going to take all of us working together to get this Manitoba crisis under control."