USask Announcement – Special Vaccination Leave

cupe1975Questions of the Day

Effective March 18, 2021, the Government of Saskatchewan amended The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2020, to incorporate a Special Vaccination Leave. This new provision allows for paid time off from work for employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The new section 6-22.1, Special Vaccination Leave, establishes that during the pandemic:

  • Workers are entitled to three consecutive hours leave during work hours to receive a COVID-19 vaccination; or
  • Workers are entitled to a period longer than three consecutive hours, if in the opinion of the employer, the circumstances warrant a longer break from work; and
  • Workers do not lose any pay or other benefits while receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.

Employees are to request time off through established request/approval practices (e.g. requesting time off for a medical appointment), and people leaders are obligated to approve the time off without loss of pay and without applying any paid entitlements (like sick leave, vacation leave, previously banked OT/additional time, etc.). Should an employees’ requests for time off present operational challenges for the college/department/unit, please speak with your HR SBA to determine if alternate solutions might exist.

Apply for a Standing Committee – CUPE Sask

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CUPE Saskatchewan is currently accepting applications from members of affiliated Local Unions to serve on standing committees.

 Applications for consideration of appointment must be received by no later than noon on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

POSITION OPPORTUNITIES
The following committees have one position available:

  • Committee Against Contracting Out and Privatization
  • Committee Against Racism and Discrimination
  • Environment Committee
  • Global Justice Committee
  • Occupational Health and Safety Committee
  • Women’s Committee
  • Young Workers’ Committee

Standing committee positions appointed through this process are for a two-year term, ending March 2023.

CONDITIONS OF APPOINTMENT
The successful candidates must commit to attend periodic video conference meetings. In-person meetings are not being held due to the pandemic. Union leave may be required to attend such meetings. Committees typically hold up to four (4) meetings in a calendar year. The meeting schedule is determined by the members of the committee, with meeting notices and video conference links confirmed through the Division Office.
HOW DO I APPLY?
To be eligible for appointment, you must be a member in good standing of a CUPE Local Union affiliated to CUPE Saskatchewan Division.

Consideration will be given to those applicants who were delegates at the most recent convention held on March 11.

Any member interested should complete and submit an Application for Appointment (Attached) and submit it to the Division Office before noon on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

For more information, visit:  https://sk.cupe.ca/2021/03/17/notice-of-appointment-opportunity-cupe-saskatchewan-committee-applications-accepted-until-april-6-2021/

100 Days

cupe1975Questions of the Day

Greetings fellow CUPE 1975 members,

It has been approximately 100 days since you elected your current Executive and I thought I would fill you in on what they have been doing.  First of all, I`m pleased with your choices and I believe everyone on the Executive has been working hard on your behalf, representing you, advocating for you, and most important, listening to you.

Leanne Ooms continues to do exceptional work for our local in her role as our Grievance Chair. This is often a thankless job and she is often questioned about the length of time it takes to achieve any results.  Leanne has been the main reason that many of our members have been awarded settlements in the thousands of dollar range in the past few months.  Leanne and her Grievance Committee have been able to problem solve a number of grievances without going through the lengthy process of arbitration.  Some of the credit is also due to the work that the different SBA’s from the different colleges have put into this to discover an amicable solution to the issues at hand.  These problem solves don’t happen without both parties coming to the table and showing a willingness to find a solution.  These solutions don’t happen without an effort by both parties to develop a relationship where we can discuss all possible options and agree on a resolve.  The work that both parties put into developing and maintaining those relationships benefits you, the member.

I have been pleased with our new Executive members.  We have developed a policy where we require any new Executive members/reps to attend a Steward Learning Series Educational with CUPE National.  We encourage this to happen within the first year of the election into their role, so they are better equipped to represent you.  This training was conducted in January of this year and Al, Linda and Lara were all able to attend and reported back that they felt the training was beneficial to them and that they learned a lot.

We have also requested for the last couple of years for more grievance training for out entire Executive.  We were able to secure 4 days of training with the CUPE National Educational Committee for this year and have received two days of training, so far, with another two days to happen in the next few weeks.  It was felt that it was important for our entire Executive to understand the grievance process and also to help with succession planning in the future.  I applaud our Executive for taking the time away from their jobs to receive this training.

In January of this year, we also formalized our committees.  Committee work is very important to our local and we have taken it one step further this year by setting some goals for the different committees.  Our OH&S  Committee is tasked with identifying all the different Safety Committees on campus and identifying which of our CUPE 1975 members sit on said committees.  We are hoping once we can identify who these members are, we can offer some training to help them understand all the rights our workers have and ensure that they are protected.  There is no hidden agenda here.  In the event that one of our co-workers is injured on the job, we could all be faced with assuming some of the responsibility.  Unions were formed many years ago over unsafe and challenging working conditions.  Things have improved substantially over the years, however, there are still workers who are killed or seriously injured on the job each year.

Our Communication Committee is also setting some goals for the near future.  Beth Matheson, Amy St. Jacques and Heather Richinski are working on a new web page design for our local.  They are hoping to transition into it sometime in the next 6 weeks.  Along with this work, the committee is hoping to once again publish a Skopein newsletter.  Sam Riendeau and Lara O`Grady are working on the content and the things that they feel might interest our members. They have come up with some exceptional ideas and I look forward to seeing the results.

We have also gone through the annual review of our books to make sure everything is in order. Jeff Theis is our longest serving member on the Executive and, with his degree in Advanced Economics, he does a fantastic job managing the locals’ finances.  Shelly Armbuster, Mimma Messina and Jamie Provo were tasked with the job of reviewing the books as our Trustees and once again, it was found that out books are in order.  Many thanks’ ladies for doing that and to Jeff for making one of the challenges of operating this local not a financial one.

I would also like to thank Shelly for agreeing to be the Returning Officer in our recent elections. In the November election we did electronic balloting.  Heather and Shelly were tasked with  making it work.  It was also used in the following election for the 1st VP position and then again for our internal election to replace Natalie Laing for the next few months as 2nd VP.

Natalie was given the opportunity, once again, to work for CUPE National beginning the middle of February until November 1st.  This is the third time Natalie has been afforded this opportunity in the last 2 years and we wish her all the best in her goal to become a National Servicing Rep.  In the interim, as in the past two times Natalie has pursued this dream, we backfilled her position as a Table Officer from within our Executive as per CUPE Nationals recommendation.  The first time Donna Smandych stepped up as the Recording Secretary, the second time Sherri Duggan assumed the role as Recording Secretary and this time Erwin Marbella was the successful candidate as the interim 2nd VP, winning in an election over Cindy Toy and Dylan Powell.  Thanks to all of these people for putting their names forward to fill this important role within our local.

Our Bargaining Committee continues to work on our bargaining proposal for our upcoming round of negotiations.  We had 26 different proposals from our members and some of them involved a few different requests within the proposal.  We have reviewed all of them and went through our Collective Agreement extensively to identify areas in the language which we felt that needed to be improved upon.  We do this in conjunction with out National Servicing Rep and we have had some challenges there.  Ann Iwanchuk, our long-time rep, has been off backfilling for Debra Grimardi, the regional director for CUPE National in Saskatchewan.  We were hopeful that Ann would be back at the end of January but Debra`s leave kept getting extended.  We were assigned a temporary rep, Don Moran, in December and another one in January – Marcia Ray, and finally another one in March – Will Bauer.  We have been going over the proposals with Will the past two weeks and we feel very comfortable with him.  Our first bargaining date is at the end of March where we will exchange proposals with our employer and go over the ground rules for our sessions and then begin bargaining in April.  We have a number of dates set aside in the upcoming months as we work towards getting a new contract.  Our Bargaining Committee, as elected by our CUPE 1975 Executive is, Bob Jones, Ryan Klassen, Erwin Marbella, Jeff Theis and Sherri Duggan.

I also would like to acknowledge and thank Heather for the work she has done as our CUPE 1975 administrative person. She recently passed her one-year anniversary in this role and this would have been difficult to step in to this role without the challenges of COVID.  I think she has done an admirable job under some very difficult conditions.

In closing, I’d like to thank all of our Executive for the work they have volunteered for and accomplished so far.  Our new Executive members have all brought some more energy and enthusiasm to our team.  Our other Executive members have amazed me continually with their commitment to our members and the ability for them to step up when needed.  Alan Bohle remarked to me shortly after he assumed his role as a rep that he didn’t realize the scope of the things that we did as an Executive.  Without becoming a member of the Executive, how would you?

Sherri and Ryan filled in for me when I was away for a week and it makes it easy to take some time off when you have the confidence in others to fill in for you.  These are not easy jobs. We are often tasked with providing the unpopular answer.  We all put in countless hours listening, advocating, and representing members.  Much of our work is done behind the scenes. Many of the conversations we have on your behalf are done without your knowledge.  The relationships we culture and maintain benefit you, the member.  I could not do the work I do without the support and help from all of our Executive.  I want to thank them all for it, I think you should do so also.

Bob Jones
President, CUPE 1975
Room 21, McLean Hall
106 Wiggins Road
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5E6
306-966-7015

Bob Jones on Vacation

cupe1975Meetings

FYI – Bob Jones will be on vacation from March 9 – March 15th, inclusive.  Sherri Duggan and Ryan Klassen will be covering for him while he is away.  Please contact the office with any issues or concerns.

 

 

Step up the wage top up for all front-line workers!

cupe1975Miscellaneous

As the COVID-19 pandemic surges and our front-line heroes are under ever-greater pressure, the provincial government has ended the Saskatchewan Temporary Wage Supplement Program.

It doesn’t need to be this way.

CUPE Saskatchewan has launched a campaign calling on the provincial government to step up its funding and expand the wage top-up program for all front-line workers.

You can help: Add your voice by sending a message!

 Visit this link to send a letter to your MLA and the Ministers of Finance and Social Services: www.sk.cupe.ca/wage-topup

Add your own personal comments to the draft letter provided.

Once you fill in the form fields and click “Add Your Voice”, the letter will be sent to your MLA and government ministers. A copy of the letter will be provided to your email – along with links to share the campaign.

Together, let’s demand more support for our front-line heroes!

#StepUpWageTopUp

This Too Shall Pass

cupe1975Miscellaneous

This Too Shall Pass.

Greetings fellow CUPE members.  Many of you have heard these words before but I think they need repeating.  This COVID pandemic has been very hard on everyone.  It has created many challenges and caused many people to experience some mental health issues.  It has been identified that many people struggle with the onset of winter each year, with its shortened days and reduced sunlight.  The holiday season, which we just went through, causes more anguish for some of you also.  The difference this year, of course, is the challenges that COVID has thrust upon us.  The financial worry, if you are on a lay off or your spouse is.  The concern you have of the health of your family.  The limited contact that you can have with your extended family and the impact that has on aging parents and others.  The decisions that many of you have had to make regarding your children’s education, do you enroll them in school or attempt to home school.  These are some of the things that are creating the “perfect storm” for mental health.  I urge you all to seek out professional help if need be through our EAP resource, which is free to you and your family, or with an external counselor which there is some funding available for you.  I would also ask that you reach out to your friends, fellow coworkers and extended family to see how they are doing.  One conversation can be a life changer.  People need to know that someone cares about them and that others are going through similar challenges.

We are also going through some downsizing at the University. When permanent positions are eliminated at the University, as a permanent employee, you will be offered 3 choices as per Article 12 of our Collective Agreement.  One of those options is placement.  We do not encourage people to choose this option.  With placement, you are required to submit a current resume and then you are required to monitor the job postings and, if you see one that appeals to you and you feel you are qualified for, you contact the SBA assigned to you and they forward your resume to the hiring manager.  If you are qualified and its agreed that you are qualified, placement will get you an interview for the position.  There is no guarantee that you will be selected for the position.  In a time of downsizing, we are seeing significantly fewer job postings each week.  Placement only applies to vacant positions.

One other option is severance. For some of our older, long service members this can be appealing.  Severance is based on your years of service as per Article 12.2.3   You would be entitled to 2 weeks pay for every year of service, at your current rate of pay, to a maximum to 15 months pay.  If you are approaching 60 years old, this may be an option you would consider.  As part of that decision, you will need to check to see what your pensions will provide for you, both our old Defined Benefit pension and our new CAAT pension plan.  For quick reference, you can look back at your last year’s Defined Benefit Pension plan statement mailed to you last January to get a sense of what you would receive from that plan.  The CAAT plan won’t be very much as we have only been in it a short period of time.  You will need to know what you could receive from your Canada Pension Plan, CPP.  If you have a “My Service Canada” account, you can access this information.  Once you have those pieces of your financial well being, you can book an appointment with your financial advisor to discuss your options.

The final option for those going through this process is the bumping option.  This option is not understood by many of our members and also by some mangers and other bargaining units on campus.  I encourage you all to read Article 12.1.6.   Within 21 days of choosing this, you will be provided with 2 options.  The SBA assigned to your case will be tasked with finding a position for you at the University.  You will need to submit a current resume for them to work with.  They will use this resume to check for positions at the University, first in your job family and phase, and then in lower phases if need be.  This is not about finding you your dream job.  This is about keeping you employed at the University.  CUPE 1975 doesn’t have a voice in what positions will be offered.  Once they identify a position you may be qualified for, they run the seniority lists to see if you are more senior than someone currently in one of those positions.  If not, the search continues.  This often takes up to the 21 days when you are bumping.  We want them to take their time and find a suitable position for you.  We don’t want you to be set up to fail.  Once you make your selection between your two choices, you will enter into a 90 day assessment period. It is imperative that once you are offered your two choices that you don’t share those choices with others.  It can create unnecessary anxiety for some of our other members if they find out that they could be bumped out of their position.  Once you have made your choice, the employee you have displaced will receive their choices under Article 12.  In a recent MOA with the employer, we have agreed that if you bump someone out of their position, you cannot be bumped out of that position for the following 6 months.  These are not easy choices for many of you to make.  When you bump into a position, how will your new co-workers and managers view you?  Will you be accepted?  It is for these reasons I would like you all to consider how you would like to be treated if you were doing the bumping.  At a recent re-open meeting with Cheryl Carver, the AVP of Human Resources, the University is on target for an 8 million dollar deficit this fiscal year.  Some departments and colleges are managing well and have a balanced or slight surplus while others are running a deficit.  This pandemic has forced many departments and colleges to reduce costs by eliminating positions.  I’m seeing these adjustments throughout campus so some of you could be faced with these decisions to make for yourself.

In closing, I would like to say that in the best-case scenario, some of you will only be inconvenienced by this pandemic.  Most of us will have been impacted financially, either through job loss for ourselves or our spouse.  Many of us will be struggling with some mental stress. Unfortunately for some, it will be more than an inconvenience.  It will involve the loss of a family member or friend from the direct results of COVID.  I encourage each of you to follow the policies and procedures implemented by the University, by the Province and by Canada.  Wear a mask, social distance, limit travel among other things.  By following these simple guidelines, you will save lives.  If you’re not willing to do it for yourself, do it for your family and friends.  You could be the one who doesn’t get severe symptoms from COVID but are the conduit to pass it on to others who may not be so lucky.

This Too Shall Pass.

Bob Jones
President, CUPE 1975

Seniority Policy Grievance

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Greetings CUPE 1975 members,

The CUPE 1975 Grievance Committee has been working to try and resolve the policy grievance we filed on many of our members’ behalf.  We have made some headway and we are hopeful we may be able to get a resolve without going to arbitration.

This policy grievance was filed for our members whose lay offs were extended past the point of receiving the 85% of salary from the University.  If you fell into that category and there were less senior members working or called back to work ahead of you, we will need to have you contact us.

To be eligible, you would have to have the same skills and qualifications of the position which is currently being performed by someone else with less seniority.  If you fall into this category or think you might, please reach out to the Union office (cupe1975@sasktel.net)  to discuss with us by February 5, 2021.

Bob Jones
President
CUPE 1975

 

Volunteer Position Required – SDLC

cupe1975Miscellaneous

From the SDLC, Saskatoon & District Labour Council

This Saskatoon-based umbrella group for unions is looking for a volunteer to join their Executive Board asap. The position is called Registrar, and this person:
  • sends out email communication from the Executive (e.g., notices of upcoming monthly and annual meetings; special communications from the Executive, etc.)
  • handles registration for the annual AGM
  • in this case, the current Registrar has also handled Zoom online meetings by acting as co-host (handling all Zoom computer functions during the monthly meetings – admitting attendees in the Waiting Room; posting POLLS for voting on motions, assisting the Chair, etc.)

The President of the SDLC writes:

The table officers have reviewed this absence and determined it is not an absence we can leave vacant until the AGM [in February], especially since this position is very important in planning and organizing the AGM. We will discuss this further at the January Exec meeting on the 18th.
We are hoping that the executive can shoulder tap someone now to take on those duties and hold an election to replace them, maybe at the general meeting in February, unless we need more time to give proper notice to our affiliates. If you know anyone who has questions about what the Registrar is responsible for, please do not hesitate to have them contact me for further information.

If anyone in CUPE 1975 is interested in participating in the larger labour movement and has these organizational & communication skills, you can get more information by replying here.

https://www.saskatoondlc.ca/