Member Profile: Nicolas Angers — Lock Operator (Parks Canada) and Union Activist
Nicolas (Nic) Angers, a member of Local 00056, has been a lock operator for Parks Canada for eleven years now, specifically at the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site. Last year, in November of 2020, an article entitled “Work Refusal Improves OHS” was published on our website. It dealt with Nic’s efforts to involve his local in solidarity with the lack of proper personal protective equipment (PPE), training and protocols for staff and public health and safety. This event speaks volumes about his devotion to the health and safety of his local’s workers and all Canadians.
At an early age, Nic saw the need for a role in society. His first job was in a grocery store, where he was a union member. However, at the time, he had no idea what unions could do for him:
I was only 16 years old. My first job was in 2008 and the union gave me only a flyer. They didn’t explain too much about what they could do for me.
It was in 2013, as a student, that he took his first steps at Parks Canada. His father, Pat Angers, a former member of Local 00056, had always been involved in union affairs.
It was nice to see. My family worked a lot, but thanks to the unions we never lacked for anything, whether medical or dental care or something else. We even made picket signs together, my father and I.
His journey with his local chapter began in 2014 with his election as vice president, then president in 2017, a position he has held ever since. Recently, Nic has garnered two new accomplishments to his credit as a social activist. First is his election as a delegate to the UCTE Convention on July 19. Second, he will be representing the rights of Parks Canada workers at the bargaining table for a new collective agreement that will expire on August 4, 2021.
In addition to all these accomplishments, Nic is responsible for the operation of Lock 31 Buckhorn on the Trent-Severn Waterway
I manage the lock which assists vessels travelling between lakes and rivers at different elevations, and also the dams controlling water levels in the area. I also do all the landscaping on my site — grass cutting, painting, gardening, minor maintenance, etc. The team also cleans the bathrooms and empty trash at the sites.
This work is physically demanding and requires good time management. Nic can at times work up to 60 hours a week. ”My current schedule sees me working twelve days in a row, then two days off. Balancing work and family can be difficult at times.” He said.
Nic’s team must meet certain priorities: managing water levels and providing services to boaters wishing to navigate the canal, in addition to maintaining all the grounds on the site.
My site reflects my team and me. The public receives excellent service on a site that looks great. The work we do give us great pride.
Nic grew up on the Trent-Severn Waterway and has now been working there for 11 years. He is comfortable in his environment and enjoys the people he works beside. His work is also his passion. All the experience he has had, has made him an outstanding worker and dedicated social activist for the health and safety of Canadians. Nic, please know this: UCTE is fortunate to have you on board.