Greetings members of Cupe 1975,
I hope that this message finds you all well and that your families are also safe, whether it’s here in Canada or abroad, it’s a very real concern for us all.
The University continues to take a proactive approach and has closed many of its buildings and allowed, where possible, to have people work from home. Some departments/colleges are still continuing to offer a much needed service to the public and are in hopes of doing it as long as staffing permits. To this point there have been few layoffs and many of us haven’t experienced the additional stress of dealing with a declining income from our jobs.
The federal Government has introduced many programs in our country, to compensate individuals and businesses who have suffered job loss or been forced to close or idle their business, as the impact of Covid-19 in Canada is felt.
These are unprecedented times. There is no pattern to follow. Even when China was experiencing this months ago, many countries, and health experts, couldn’t agree on the appropriate level of action. We continue to have discussions with senior leadership at the University, and with the different Departments, advocating for your safety and well being. We encourage each of you to reach out to your immediate supervisor, our union office or EAP, to help you through this difficult time.
Some of the questions and concerns that have been directed our way are:
- Do I have the right to refuse work?
Under the OH 7 S act, you have the ‘Right to Refuse” if you feel the work is unsafe. Once this right is exercised, the work must be investigated by the local safety committee to see if indeed it is unsafe or if anything needs to be done to make it safe. In the event the local safety committee is unable to meet and investigate the claim, the claim could be passed on to the provincial OH&S department and one of their investigators would be assigned to it.
- Will I be paid overtime if I work additional hours?
We have asked the different departments on campus to have connection point rule and process any overtime challenges. Connection point is not only familiar with our collective agreement but also the Saskatchewan Employment Act. In the event there is a disagreement on the ruling we will investigate on your behalf.
- Do I still accumulate my EDO’s?
Every situation is different. Some people are on standby, some people are working reduced hours, some people are self isolating and using sick time. Once we are through this crisis, management has agreed to sit down and sort some of these things out.
4. Do I need to use up the remainder of my holidays prior to the end of April? No.
5. Why do I have to pay for parking when I’ve heard that some people are receiving it for free?
We are not totally familiar with the other bargaining units on campus or their entire collective agreements. Our collective agreement doesn’t have any language with regards to free parking. We know that many of our members use public transit to get to and from work while others carpool. Choosing to get a parking pass for campus is a personal choice. If you are currently working from home, you may choose to cancel your parking pass, saving you the cost of it. We have been told in the past that you will remain in your same position on the seniority list for parking if and when you choose to renew it.
6. Why are some people, allowed to self isolate, at home and use their sick time to do it and what happens if you don’t have enough sick time in your bank?
The university, in one of their first emails to their staff, spoke to this. Along with both levels of Government, Federal and Provincial, the University does not want anyone who is sick or has possibly been exposed to Covid-19, to come to work and infect others. The discussions we have had with senior management at this point is that they prefer to keep staff on payroll while they are self isolating, by using sick time. Management was unclear about how things would play out if you didn’t have enough sick time.
7. Why are some people on campus allowed to work from home or be on standby while others have to continue working on campus?
This is totally within the discretion of management. CUPE 1975 doesn’t direct the workplace and has no control of things outside the Saskatchewan Employment Act and our Collective Agreement.
We hope this helps with some or your questions. Please feel free to email our office with any other ones you may have. firstname.lastname@example.org