Chris Cooper is the mail carrier at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto and chief steward with SEIU Healthcare. He says that although this career path chose him in a sense, he is happy to have remained working there to this day.
“I was putting myself through university and needed a job to pay for everything associated with that endeavour. After school, the job prospects did not improve, and I have stayed here because it is a great place to work.”
He adds that he loves helping people, and that his job allows him to solve problems for his colleagues.
“My job means a lot to me because I get to serve the many different people of this community. I also get to keep and maintain the friendships I have made with the different staff members throughout the years as well as building new relationships with current members.”
Despite the hard work and long hours, Chris says he enjoys his experience working in a largely co-operative environment as chief steward.
“It has its ups and downs, but it is mostly an exciting time. I often get along with everyone and that is a bonus when working with management and members. It also helps that I have a great area representative to work with, along with great stewards who support and challenge me everyday.”
Regarding political action, Chris believes in giving his members agency to make their own decisions.
“I allow my members to do what they feel is best for themselves. I know I don’t like to be forced into anything – especially into how to think and act – and I apply this method when interacting with my members as well. I am very happy to educate them, however, so that they can make an informed decision on any matter concerning political involvement.”