Greetings CUPE 1975 members,
Much has changed in the last two months since my previous message, but much has stayed the same. We have continued to be under the influence of COVID-19 both on campus and off. Many of you continue to worry and watch other countries where relatives and family may be impacted.
We wish Craig and his family well as he continues his rehab from his surgery, along with anyone else who is having health issues.
The University has developed a re-open plan, with steps similar to the provincial government’s plan. The are looking at a hybrid plan which would see a limited amount of students back on campus in the fall based around the need to have access to labs etc. on campus. Those not needing the resources that the campus can supply will be looking at doing distance learning for the fall term at the very least. Time will tell whether campus will revert back fully to what we are used to come Jan 1st. Work continues on a cure for COVID-19 and once that happens, maybe, life will return to normal for us. As part of the reopening plan the University is looking at, there is a provision to retract a few steps if COVID-19 makes a stronger presence here.
We have had many questions with regards to whether those of you laid off would be returning to work on the date indicated on your initial lay off notice. We have asked that question and have not received an answer. We have also been asked a number of times whether that notice could be extended and, if so, if the 85 per cent top up would be extended. We have not received an answer from management to those questions either.
We have fielded more questions about parking on campus. Currently no bargaining unit on campus is receiving free parking. A joint letter was drafted up by all the unions on campus and forwarded to management where it was received with no appetite to do so. We have been told that you can cancel your parking if you do not require it and you will not lose your seniority.
There have been some questions around your pensions in last few weeks. Those of you that were working at the University for the last number of years will receive two pensions in retirement. One will come in the form of the non-academic defined benefit pension, which was closed in the fall of 2019, with your accumulated pension intact, and one from the new CAAT plan we enrolled in at that point. The statement you received from the CAAT plan will be a small figure as you have only contributed to it for a few months. Your pension will include payments from both of these plans.
We have also received many inquires over filing grievances. There is a timeline involved with grievances based on when you found out the information. Some of you are concerned you may not be called back at the original date you were notified of in your lay off notice. This would be considered new information and we have been told by our national servicing rep that if you feel there is a violation of the Collective Agreement, possibly seniority, that you would be within timelines to request a grievance be filed on your behalf.
The rules for applying for the scholarships we sponsor each year haven’t changed but the timelines to do so have. The deadlines to apply have been extended as you can see elsewhere on our website and, as always, the judging is done externally by the Saskatoon District Labour Council.
It doesn’t seem like it but our current contract is coming to an end in December of this year and your Negotiating Committee is entertaining proposals to put forward at bargaining in 2021. We will entertain your proposals until the end of August at which time the committee will meet and select the ones that we feel represent and address our members needs the most.
In closing, have a safe and enjoyable summer. COVID-19 has and continues to have an impact on many aspects of our lives. Enjoy your health if you are blessed with it, and recognize that not everyone is.
Bob Jones, acting CUPE 1975 President