Shimen has always been a workplace activist for the fair treatment of all employees. Shimen started as a contract worker for the federal government in 1994. When she realized that contract workers were treated unfairly and against Revenue Canada determination of an employer/employee relationship, she filed a complaint against the employer and in 1996, contract employees were made indeterminate public service employees. A few years later, she led a classification grievance which ended with her and her co-workers being reclassified from a CR-03 to a CR-04. In 2002, Shimen started on the local executive as the Treasurer of her Local. Later, she served as both Local Vice-President and President. From 2008 through 2011, she was an alternate Regional Vice-President and moved up to Regional Vice-President in 2011. In 2014 she was elected as National Vice-President, re-elected in 2017 as NVP and in February 2020 she assumed the role of National President of the Union of Health and Environment Workers following the resignation of the former National President.
Shimen is the chief spokesperson for the Union of Health and Environment Workers and represents the Union on the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s Board of Directors. She also presides over meetings of the UHEW National Council and all sessions of the UHEW National Convention. She interprets the By-Laws of UHEW and is responsible for the overall management of staff and finances of the Union.
Shimen is a strong advocate for trade union principles and for social justice and equality in the workplace and throughout society. She has been and continues to be a mentor and supporter of union women at the local and national levels and she works every day to creating a safe and healthy workplace for all members of the Union of Health and Environment Workers. Shimen believes in fairness and honesty and transparency and is committed to ensuring that she and the Union are open and accountable to the membership.