Essential Services Decision

cupe1975Bargaining, Negotiations

Dear CUPE 1975 Members,

As we’ve reported before, since March, your executive – supported by CUPE National – has spent a significant amount of time at essential services hearings, fighting to protect our rights as workers against threats by the University.

Today, we received the decision from the Essential Service Tribunal. (see attached PDFs)

LRB File No. 015-19 Decision

LRB File No. 015-19 Reasons for Decision

The short version is: The University had asked for 252.3 FTE positions and 23 Call-in positions to be declared essential (which means those workers would not be allowed to join a job action and could not, for example, participate in a work stoppage to fight for better pay and a better contract from the University.)  

The Tribunal declared that only 41.5 FTE and 7 Call-in positions were essential.

Obviously, all of our work is important. Keeping as few of our positions as possible listed as “essential” makes sure that we keep our right to make that point to the university when we need to.

Here’s a more complete analysis and rundown of the ruling by our lawyer.

In 2007, CUPE 1975 went on strike but agreed that certain members could work in order to protect the public. At the time, there was no essential services legislation in Saskatchewan. Later that year, the Saskatchewan Party was elected and soon passed essential services legislation. CUPE started a Charter challenge that ultimately saw the essential services legislation declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada in SFL, 2015 SCC 4.

In response to SFL, the Government of Saskatchewan passed new essential services legislation. This hearing is the first time it has been fully tested.

The essential services legislation is set out in Part VII of The Saskatchewan Employment Act. However, Part VII does not contain a definition of ‘essential services.’  Because there is no definition, we argued that the Tribunal should apply the definition from the International Labour Organization (ILO). (The ILO is a tri-partite body which includes employer representatives, worker representatives and government representatives. It was established after World War I as part of the Treaty of Versailles. It is now part of the United Nations.)

The ILO definition that we argued for was that essential services are those needed to prevent “a clear and imminent threat to the life, personal safety or health of the whole or part of the population.”  At the hearing, much of the argument turned on the “clear and imminent” part. Ultimately, the Tribunal decided against fully adopting the “clear and imminent” standard but stated at paragraph 34 that “a requirement of a clear and imminent threat is implied in the definition.”  I consider this definition a partial victory. It is not as clear as I would like, but it does allow us to argue the clear and imminent threat in the future, I think.

The Tribunal then applied this definition to the positions in dispute. At paragraph 56, the Tribunal stated that “[p]ositions whose absence would directly affect patient care were considered essential.”  In contrast, positions at the College of Medicine that did not involve patient care were not declared essential.

The University had asked for 252.3 FTE positions and 23 Call-in positions to be declared essential. The Tribunal declared that 41.5 FTE and 7 Call-in positions were essential. The Local’s position was that 17 different positions work during a strike as part of a shutdown protocol. At the end of the hearing, we conceded that 5 more positions in the heating plant met the legal definition of essential services.

At paragraph 58, the Tribunal ordered that 6 security officers (“Platoon Members”) were essential. The University had asked for 16.

The University had also requested 62 positions (plus 15 on-call positions) to look after the various animals on campus. We argued that essential services legislation does not apply to animals, it applies to human beings. The Tribunal agreed and ordered that 0.5 Animal Technician be declared essential only because it handled hazardous substances.

At paragraph 62, the Tribunal noted that the University had sought to declare employees essential for irrelevant reasons included: property damage, interruption of research, disruption of student education, damage to the reputation of the University, unpaid bills and decreased revenue.

At paragraphs 63 and 64, the Tribunal agreed with our position that when employees are designated as ‘essential services employees’ they are only to perform those duties which are ‘essential’. They are not supposed to perform non-essential duties.

A paragraph 67, the Tribunal discussed clause 7-8(3) of the Act. This part of the Act requires the Tribunal to establish the “procedures that must be followed to respond to an emergency during a work stoppage.”   We argued that the University should not be able to unilaterally declare an emergency and have members on the picket lines suddenly go in to work. The Tribunal disagreed and stated that the Local did not have the right to assess whether there really is an emergency before being required to provide employees. The employees must perform the work as directed. If the Local thinks there wasn’t truly an emergency, that issue can be addressed later.

If you have questions, please let us know and keep checking the website for more updates about this and our ongoing bargaining.

Essential Services Tribunal Decision

cupe1975Bargaining, Negotiations

Dear CUPE 1975 Members:

As we’ve reported before, since March, your executive – supported by CUPE National – has spent a significant amount of time at essential services hearings, fighting to protect our rights as workers against threats by the University.

Today, we received the decision from the Essential Service Tribunal.

LRB File No. 015-19 Decision

LRB File No. 015-19 Reasons for Decision

The short version is: The University had asked for 252.3 FTE positions and 23 Call-in positions to be declared essential (which means those workers would not be allowed to join a job action and could not, for example, participate in a work stoppage to fight for better pay and a better contract from the University.)  

The Tribunal declared that only 41.5 FTE and 7 Call-in positions were essential.

Obviously, all of our work is important. Keeping as few of our positions as possible listed as “essential” makes sure that we keep our right to make that point to the university when we need to.

Here’s a more complete analysis and rundown of the ruling by our lawyer.

In 2007, CUPE 1975 went on strike but agreed that certain members could work in order to protect the public. At the time, there was no essential services legislation in Saskatchewan. Later that year, the Saskatchewan Party was elected and soon passed essential services legislation. CUPE started a Charter challenge that ultimately saw the essential services legislation declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada in SFL, 2015 SCC 4.

In response to SFL, the Government of Saskatchewan passed new essential services legislation. This hearing is the first time it has been fully tested.

The essential services legislation is set out in Part VII of The Saskatchewan Employment Act. However, Part VII does not contain a definition of ‘essential services.’  Because there is no definition, we argued that the Tribunal should apply the definition from the International Labour Organization (ILO). (The ILO is a tri-partite body which includes employer representatives, worker representatives and government representatives. It was established after World War I as part of the Treaty of Versailles. It is now part of the United Nations.)

The ILO definition that we argued for was that essential services are those needed to prevent “a clear and imminent threat to the life, personal safety or health of the whole or part of the population.”  At the hearing, much of the argument turned on the “clear and imminent” part. Ultimately, the Tribunal decided against fully adopting the “clear and imminent” standard but stated at paragraph 34 that “a requirement of a clear and imminent threat is implied in the definition.”  I consider this definition a partial victory. It is not as clear as I would like, but it does allow us to argue the clear and imminent threat in the future, I think.

The Tribunal then applied this definition to the positions in dispute. At paragraph 56, the Tribunal stated that “[p]ositions whose absence would directly affect patient care were considered essential.”  In contrast, positions at the College of Medicine that did not involve patient care were not declared essential.

The University had asked for 252.3 FTE positions and 23 Call-in positions to be declared essential. The Tribunal declared that 41.5 FTE and 7 Call-in positions were essential. The Local’s position was that 17 different positions work during a strike as part of a shutdown protocol. At the end of the hearing, we conceded that 5 more positions in the heating plant met the legal definition of essential services.

At paragraph 58, the Tribunal ordered that 6 security officers (“Platoon Members”) were essential. The University had asked for 16.

The University had also requested 62 positions (plus 15 on-call positions) to look after the various animals on campus. We argued that essential services legislation does not apply to animals, it applies to human beings. The Tribunal agreed and ordered that 0.5 Animal Technician be declared essential only because it handled hazardous substances.

At paragraph 62, the Tribunal noted that the University had sought to declare employees essential for irrelevant reasons included: property damage, interruption of research, disruption of student education, damage to the reputation of the University, unpaid bills and decreased revenue.

At paragraphs 63 and 64, the Tribunal agreed with our position that when employees are designated as ‘essential services employees’ they are only to perform those duties which are ‘essential’. They are not supposed to perform non-essential duties.

A paragraph 67, the Tribunal discussed clause 7-8(3) of the Act. This part of the Act requires the Tribunal to establish the “procedures that must be followed to respond to an emergency during a work stoppage.”   We argued that the University should not be able to unilaterally declare an emergency and have members on the picket lines suddenly go in to work. The Tribunal disagreed and stated that the Local did not have the right to assess whether there really is an emergency before being required to provide employees. The employees must perform the work as directed. If the Local thinks there wasn’t truly an emergency, that issue can be addressed later.

If you have questions, please let us know and keep checking the website for more updates about this and our ongoing bargaining.

BARGAINING UPDATE!

cupe1975Bargaining, Negotiations

BARGAINING UPDATE for June 27, 2019

We’ve just finished two more days of bargaining and the only thing we have to report to you is that we’ve added a third day of bargaining today.

The administration’s willingness to stay at the table and to keep considering the proposals we’re bringing them is a positive step. We asked them back for this round of negotiations so we could offer solutions to the issues they’ve been presenting AND still protect our wages and pensions.

That’s exactly what we’ve done over the past two days and it’s what we’ll keep doing so we can bring the best possible deal to you for a vote.

REMINDER: Help share our message  

 Don’t forget, you can download graphics for your social media accounts to show your support for our campaign. Just click here. (https://1975.cupe.ca/shareables)

You can also download desktop images for your work computers here  (https://1975.cupe.ca/desktop-images ).

And don’t forget to show off your swag – buttons, t-shirts, scarves, water bottles… whatever you’ve got.

By standing together, we can fight for and win the respect and the deal we deserve.

UPDATE FROM YOUR EXECUTIVE AND BARGAINING TEAM

cupe1975Bargaining, Negotiations

UPDATE FROM YOUR EXECUTIVE AND BARGAINING TEAM.

We were back at the bargaining table yesterday and we’re meeting again today. We’ll give you another update when we have news.

Wages and the university’s scheme to scrap the security of our pensions are still the sticking points. We’re standing strong but we’re also working hard and bargaining in good faith to address the points the employer is making. Our goal is to get you a deal we can all vote on.

We’re also expecting the ruling from the Essential Services Tribunal any day now, so keep checking the website for more updates.

We also need your help to show the administration how strong we are together.

What can you do to help?

Our message is simple – we’re looking for respect and fair pay for our work. And we’re looking for your help to get the message out

Help share the message online

We’ve started an online ad campaign and we need your help to boost our message even more.

Click here to get the first run of our graphics to use on your social media accounts.

(https://1975.cupe.ca/shareables)

(Square is good for Facebook, Instagram, and LinkdIn and the rectangle works best for Twitter)

When you post these, tell your story. Let’s remind the administration that we are not just numbers on a spreadsheet. We’re real people. We care about the work we do. We deserve to be shown some respect and be paid fairly.

Help share the message at your desk

While we’re negotiating, it’s important that we all keep doing our jobs, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get our message out.

If you work at a computer, use your desktop to show our message loud and clear.

Click here to get a graphic to fit your screen.

(https://1975.cupe.ca/desktop-images)

And, if people on campus who aren’t in our union see your screen and want a graphic for their screen, download the solidarity graphic for them.

Help share the message all over campus

We have swag, we have buttons, we have t-shirts, we have scarves (they really stand out when you wear them in June!) …. Showing your colours isn’t just a way to make a new fashion statement, it shows the administration that we all stand together.

Wear them proudly to the so-called staff appreciation picnic and let’s show President Stoicheff and the rest of the administration that what we’d really appreciate is a little respect.

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who came out to the General Membership Meeting on Tuesday and congratulations to Holly Kreese (Food Services Rep), Sherri Duggan (Clerical Rep), Jessica Ballendine (Caretaker/BST Rep) and Leanne Ooms (Grievance Chair)  who were sworn in as the newest members to our executive.

 

cupe1975Bargaining

IMPORTANT BARGAINING UPDATE

Your bargaining team is happy to let you know that the employer has accepted our request to get back to the bargaining table. We’ll be meeting on June 25 & 26.

 We’ll give you an update when those meetings are over. We’ll also let you know when we get the ruling from the Essential Services Tribunal which we expect by the end of the month.

 

Essential Services Hearings

cupe1975Bargaining

On Friday, June 7, your representatives finished submitting our evidence at the Essential Services Hearing. This hearing is an important step to make sure we can keep our rights as workers. Over 11 days, both sides submitted evidence through witnesses. A big THANK YOU to all of our members who took the time out of your busy schedules to appear as witnesses and help us put our best case forward. Your knowledge and experience of the workplace was obvious, impressive, and appreciated.

The next step comes on June 14 when both sides present our closing arguments. After that, we’re expecting a decision from the Tribunal to be released by the end of June. In the meantime, we’re calling the employer back to the bargaining table and have requested dates for the last week of June. As a reminder, neither the Employer nor the Union is in a legal position to initiate a lockout or a strike until the Essential Services Tribunal renders its decision.  We’ll update you as soon as we have more news.

 

The People Who Run The University Need To Hear From You!

cupe1975Bargaining

Hello everyone,

The sun is shining and the weather is warm but our fight isn’t slowing down.

We need to keep sending the clear message that we are we are willing to fight for fair treatment and to protect the pensions we’ve been paying into and negotiating for years.

Our next great chance is coming up soon and we need your help.

What: University council is meeting

(More info here: http://www.usask.ca/secretariat/governing-bodies/council/index.php)

When: Thursday, May 23, 2:30

Where: Room 241 Arts (Neatby-Timlin Theatre)

Why: because the people who run the university need to hear from the people who keep it running.

The University council is meeting this Tuesday.  It’s made up of over 100 representatives including the University president and representatives from all of the colleges, affiliated and federated colleges, and the Library.

Come on out to the meeting. Bring a small (e.g. 8.5×11) sign. Let’s remind the University administration that we’re the people who actually keep this University running.

This won’t be a loud protest but it is a chance to show them that we’re in this together.

They need to negotiate with us in good faith, they can’t expect us to be ok with more wage freezes, and they better keep their paws off our pensions.

We won’t back down.

 

Caretaker/Building Service Technicians – Nominations

cupe1975Bargaining, Miscellaneous

Click below for Nomination form:

Nomination form for Caretaker Position on Executive

CUPE 1975 has a vacancy on the Executive for a Caretaker/BST representative.  If you would like to serve on the Executive, please print off the attached nomination form.  Follow the instructions laid out in this form and send or deliver to Room 21 McLean Hall.  The deadline to receive nominations is June 3, 2019.  If you need further clarification or wish to know what duties are performed by a representative please call the union office at 966-7015.