As was decided at our last GMM, we have added more funds to our Pandemic Relief Fund. To our members who are temporarily laid off and looking for relief, please see the form below in the attached link. Kindly fill it out and return to the CUPE office via email email@example.com at your earliest convenience. You will be notified via email if you have been chosen.
CUPE 1975 will be holding Election Forums for our President and 2nd Vice-President candidates.
Each candidate will be given 5 minutes to make an opening statement and then we will open up the floor for 15 minutes for members to ask questions. Each candidate will then have 2 minutes to make their closing statements.
2nd Vice-Presidents Forum – November 10, 2020 from 12-12:30 pm
Presidents Forum – November 18, 2020 from 12-12:30 pm
These forums will be held via Zoom and the invite for that will go out this week. Please contact our office with your email address at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need to be added to our mailing list. We encourage you to attend to get to know your candidates!
Our budget for 2020/2021 has been approved and is available for viewing. We will be voting on the Budget at the next AGM on November 24, 2020.
If you would like a copy, please send a request to Heather at our office at email@example.com and one will be sent to you.
CUPE 1975 will be holding elections for our Table Officers commencing:
November 23, 2020 at 7:00 a.m.
November 24, 2020 at 3:30 p.m.
Please note that the election will be ENTIRELY online this year. There will be no in-person voting.
Elections will be held for the following positions:
- Bob Jones
- Gino Santoro
- Ryan Klassen
- Natalie Laing
Campaign posters are attached.
We will hold an election forum by Zoom where each candidate will make an opening statement and be available to answer questions. The forum will be advertised at a later date.
Congratulations to the following who were elected by acclamation.
- Sherri Duggan (Recording Secretary),
- Shelly Armbruster (3 year Trustee)
- Jeff Van de Voord (Sargeant At Arms – 1 year)
Violence and Harassment Survey
To CUPE 1975 members,
We are excited to announce a new national survey on workplace violence and harassment.
It is the first ever survey on violence and sexual harassment in the workplace with a national reach in Canada, and will help unions, employers and policy makers create safer workplaces for everyone.
The survey is being conducted by the Canadian Labour Congress in partnership with research experts at Western University.
We need all workers to fill it out—workers of every gender, whether or not you have experienced or witnessed workplace violence or harassment. This is how we will get a clearer picture of workers’ experiences in workplaces across the country.
The survey is open to all workers 18 years of age or older. It takes approximately 10 to 30 minutes to complete, and your response will be anonymous.
The survey is online here. Your participation makes a difference.
Thanks for your help in making work safer for everyone.
SHOW ME THE MONEY!
Our CUPE 1975 Executive is often asked about where their Member contributions go. Some political parties have suggested in the past that Unions are not transparent enough with their finances and tried to create animosity towards Union Executives by suggesting it. CUPE National would view this as another union busting exercise by these political parties.
There is a requirement by CUPE National to provide financial statements to our Members in a timely manner. CUPE 1975, our local, does this at most General Membership Meetings. Jeff Theis, our current Treasurer, provides a monthly financial statement and it has to be approved and carried in a vote by the Membership. The Treasurer, in this case Jeff, will also provide a yearly budget that is presented to the Membership to approve at our upcoming November Annual Membership Meeting. He will always entertain questions about our investments, the proposed budget, etc. I think in fact, he would be happy to have some questions to answer. We also have a committee of elected Trustees that audit our locals’ books and check for any irregularities in the books.
So, lets talk about the money that your elected officials are the stewards of. Union contributions that you are required to pay are determined by CUPE National’s Bylaws and by CUPE 1975’s Bylaws. CUPE National’s Bylaws state that our dues cannot be lower than 1.5 percent of a Member’s earnings. We are able, through our own Bylaws, to increase that number if we feel the need to. We have to do so by first getting approval from CUPE National and then by having the Membership pass the same Bylaw in a Membership meeting. Our fees are set at the minimum that they can be at 1.5 percent.
What do we do with your Union fees? First of all, we forward .85 of one percent to CUPE National, who we are affiliated with. For this we receive the assistance of a National Servicing Rep. who is assigned to our local. This person would help our Executive with some of the issues we have in the workplace and attend different meetings etc. with the employer, bargaining, etc. We also have access to legal help. CUPE National has paid for a number of different court cases and, most recently, provided a lawyer who was successful in litigating the essential services case. They also provide a Communication Officer we can access if we need to, most recently in the months leading up to a possible strike action. They provide a number of additional things, but they also administer a national strike fund that we can access if we were to go on strike.
We also contribute to CUPE Saskatchewan with your dues. Currently, at .00065 of one percent. CUPE Sask hosts a yearly conference and among other things, does a number of political actions to inform our Members and others about upcoming bills purposed by Government, etc. They, like CUPE National, advocate for us in the media and other places to protect our rights and our jobs.
We also contribute, on a per capital basis, towards the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour. The SFL, or House of Labour, advocates and lobbies the Government and others in putting forward all Union’s rights and concerns. Most recently, the SFL (with Larry Hubick as the President) took on the Saskatchewan Government and the Saskatchewan Employment Act brought in by the Sask Party, over your right to strike. This case ended up at the Supreme Court and it was ruled that it is a fundamental right for workers to withhold their labour in the act of receiving a fair contract. This was a huge win for labour and it was the result of Larry’s determination to challenge it.
We also contribute approximately $8,000 dollars annually towards the Saskatoon District Labour Council. They, like the other organizations, promote labour and tackle issues that impact all labour groups.
As you can see, the pot is dwindling. We usually budget $5,000 to assist other locals in the event they are on strike or are leading up to a strike. We received many thousands of dollars leading up to our possible strike from labour groups throughout Canada.
We budget for and send Members and Executive to educationals. These are usually ones that CUPE National runs, but we have on occasion sent members to ones run by the SFL. We also sent a number of women to Women School, a very popular educational that many of our female members have attended in the past. These educationals are an investment in our local. Our Executive need this training to better represent and advocate for you the Member, in the event you find yourself in need of assistance. We send Non-Executive Members to these trainings also in the hopes that they will become more involved with our local and we can replace people on the Executive when people step down. In my 14 years of involvement with our local, we have never had a full Executive. There have always been vacancies. Some of the training offered by CUPE National at these schools ranges from note taking, to grievances, to negotiating, etc. It is all relevant to the work we do on your behalf.
Also, for those of you attending the GMM’s, we are required to have a strike fund locally. We currently have over $1,000,000 in our strike fund and, leading up to the last possible strike, were in a position to enhance the $300 per week you would get from CUPE Nationals strike fund with another $200 from our strike fund for those participating in the strike action.
We do many other things like host a yearly retirement and long service awards supper, host a fall social, host a number of “You Talk, We Listen” events around campus, where we hand out coffee cards, etc.
If you have any questions in regard to our budget and or finances, please attend one of our GMM’s and present it to us. We try to be as open and transparent as we can with our Members money.
Bob Jones, Acting President
Notice is to move the following motion in the October meeting:
I, Ricardo Antonio, hereby give the intent to move the following motion in the October 27, 2020 General Membership Meeting, that the Pandemic Relief Fund to be increased to $500 for all members who are currently laid off and have not already received relief up to a maximum of $50,000.
There will be a vote on the above motion at the October 27th GMM.
I WANT TO FILE A GRIEVANCE!!!
These are words we hear many times over the course of a week. Grievances are one of the least understood actions Union members can be involved in. The history of how grievances came to be is interesting and beneficial for people to know.
Decades ago, in the hopes of creating better and safer work environments, workers started to band together to use the power of numbers to get improvements in their workplace. This organizing led to early forms of job actions where workers would withhold their labour to create change. These early job actions resulted in workplaces negotiating contracts which were binding on both the employer and employee. Laws were created that forbid employees withholding labour when they had a contract in place with their employer. The challenge then became what would happen in the middle of a contract if the two sides could not agree on the intent of the language that was in the contract. To address this, it was agreed that there needed to be a process in place. This became the grievance process.
There are many forms of grievances and they can be filed by both the Union and by the employer. Many of you will recall the grievance filed by the University a few years ago challenging whether the language in the Collective Agreement allowed them to make unilateral changes to our pension. This grievance took many months to sort out.
One of the most common grievances we would see on the Grievance Committee is one where one of our Union members would feel there has been a violation of the Collective Agreement. Let’s say that it involved some form of compensation that they felt they were entitled to under the Collective Agreement. The member would approach the Grievance Chair stating their case. The Grievance Chair would look at the information provided, see if there was a violation under one of the articles in the Collective Agreement, and then present the case later to the Grievance Committee to decide whether the Grievance Committee felt there was a violation of the Collective Agreement. There are timelines involved with this process. You have 30 days of first finding out the information that you feel may be a violation to the Collective Agreement to have a grievance filed on your behalf.
If the Grievance Committee feels there is a violation of the Collective Agreement, they will file a grievance on your behalf. The Union holds carriage to the grievance. In other words, the Grievance Committee will be the ones to decide whether the grievance is filed and how far they will proceed with it. At the University, in a grievance like this ,we would have 3 levels or stages.
Level one, or stage one as we call it, will be presented to a representative from the department it occurred in. The Grievance Chair will present the Union’s case and someone from Human Resources will present management’s argument. The person hearing the grievance will render a decision regarding the presentations within a certain time frame, 3 business days as per Article 14.6.3. Problem solving prior to and after the stage one meeting are encouraged and often can result in a resolve. It can be difficult for the Union to win at stage one as the person selected by the University to hear the grievance usually has some form of involvement in the decisions leading up to the filing of the grievance. Once the decision is rendered, if the Union is unsuccessful, the Grievance Committee will meet again to decide whether or not to proceed to stage two.
Stage two. The stage two grievance will be heard by someone from senior Human Resources. Once again both sides will present their arguments and the employer will have 30 calendar days to render a written decision of the stage two meeting. Once again, the Grievance Committee will meet to decide if the decision was unfavourable, whether to proceed on to arbitration. Again, this is the Grievance Committee’s decision to make, not the griever.
Formal problem-solving meetings will be happening prior to and after each stage to try and come up with a resolve. Unfortunately, in order for this to work, one side or the other or both will need to move off their position. If a resolve is negotiated, it must be bought back to the Grievance Committee for approval. If agreed upon, the Grievance Chair will meet with the griever to go over the resolve. The griever will not have a voice in whether or not the resolve is accepted or whether the grievance is retracted. The Grievance Committee cannot make a decision that is arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith.
If the decision rendered by Human Resources after stage two, is not favourable to the griever, the Grievance Committee may decide to move it on to arbitration. If this is the case, the two sides will need to agree on an Arbitrator, and a time will be booked for the Arbitrator to hear the arguments. Typically, once an Arbitrator is agreed upon it will take up to a year for a hearing to take place. Problem solving can and will take place right up to the hearing. By the time a case gets to a formal hearing in front of an Arbitrator there would typically be a number of meetings formally and informally trying to come to a resolve. A decision is supposed to be rendered within 60 days of the Arbitrator hearing it as per Article 14.8.4 but I find it usually takes longer than that. The Arbitrator hearing the case may know how they are going to rule on the hearing fairly quickly but they have to create the supporting documents and rational as to how they arrived at their ruling. Once a decision is rendered, that decision becomes case law. In other words, similar cases afterwards can use that decision to persuade an Arbitrator to rule in their favour. As our National Servicing Rep has told us, bad cases/weak cases can create bad case law, which can impact cases to follow.
As you can see by the steps outlined here, it can take many months, if not years, to work thru the grievance process. It doesn’t happen quickly. If we are successful in front of an Arbitrator, it will usually take a few months of negotiating with the employer to determine an outcome. Grievances are always worded so that we are asking for the member, to be whole in all aspects. What this means is every benefit, etc., that they enjoyed before hand would be there afterwards. In the case of someone losing their job and we are successful getting it reinstated, wages, pension, benefits etc., will be looked at to make the member whole. It should be noted that if you were terminated you would be required to try and find employment to mitigate your losses while you were awaiting a decision on your grievance. In a case such as that, you will be required to submit your tax information to try and determine how much if any of your income needs to be replaced. These discussions/negotiations can take some weeks to hammer out and if both sides cannot come to an agreement, the Arbitrator could be required to step back in to award any and all damages.
Acting President, CUPE 1975
M E M O R A N D U M
To: CUPE LOCAL 1975 MEMBERS
From: CUPE 1975 Office
Date: October 20, 2020
Re: ELECTIONS FOR CUPE 1975 EXECUTIVE
Please note that the following positions are up for renewal:
President Craig Hannah is currently in this position. (This will be a 2-year term to 2022)
2nd Vice-President Ryan Klassen is currently in this position. (This will be a 2-year term to 2022)
Recording Secretary Natalie Laing is currently in this position. (This will be a 2-year term to 2022)
Sergeant- at- Arms Jeff Van De Voord is currently in this position. (This will be a 1-year term to 2021)
Trustee Shelly Armbruster currently holds one of 3 positions. (This will be a 3-year term to 2023)
Any member nominated who allows their name to stand for election must be a member in good standing as set out in Article B.8.3 of the CUPE National Constitution.
If interested in running for any of the above positions, please note the following: Nominations shall be made in writing and submitted to the Union Office thirty (30) days prior to the Annual Meeting which will be held Tuesday, November 24, 2020. The date to get nominations into the union office is 4:00 pm, October 23, 2020. Late submissions will not be accepted. Nominations must be accompanied by the signature of the nominating member and the nominee. Nomination forms are located here – Nomination Form 2020 – or may be emailed to you by request to the Union Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seven days after nominations close (October 30, 2020) if an election is necessary, a slate of candidates will be sent to the membership. This letter will advise members of online voting processes. There will be no in-person voting. Election results will be announced at the Annual General Meeting on November 24, 2020, which will be held via Zoom. Newly elected officers will be sworn in at that time.
Elections for the various Extended Executive groups will be held throughout the months of October and November. Please check the CUPE 1975 website for more details on the dates and times of these meetings. If you have any questions regarding this process, please phone (306-966-7015) or email the union office (email@example.com).
CUPE 1975 Office
hr cope 342
Good afternoon fellow Union members,
We have had some layoffs over the last number of weeks, and it continues to happen. These layoffs were out of our control, but we were successful in Facilities to advocate for people to put their names forward to accept a voluntary lay off package. 32 people put their names forward and 32 people were approved. Management and Human Resources entertained this option as it is less disruptive to the work force. The members who submitted their names did so for a variety of reasons and I congratulate them on the next stage of their lives, whether its retirement or moving on to other opportunities.
I believe we will have additional layoffs and I think it’s important for those impacted to know and understand your rights as a member. If you are going through a layoff as a permanent employee in a permanent position you will have all the rights under Article 12 of the Collective Agreement. There will be an SBA agent assigned to your case and one of our Union Reps will be in attendance to support you and help you understand the process. It’s important that you understand the process and your options. We have received a number of emails and phone calls from individuals after they have made their selection (the University calls it your ELECTION) that wish to change their mind. These calls and emails have been happening days and weeks after those involved have signed the Election Form. This Election Form is a legal document and although we can advocate Human Resources to reconsider it, we would rather use our resources and energy to help you understand what the choices are and what impact they have on you.
The first option outlined in your Election Form will be SEVERANCE. This is referenced in Article 12.1.4. Up to 19 years of service at the University will amount to 2 weeks pay for every year of service. Over 20 years and you will be offered 3 weeks pay for every year of service. The Election Form will have the dollar amount calculated out for you. The University also offers a 30-day notice period. What this means is you will be paid to stay at home for the next 30 days with no obligation to work at or for the University, IF you pick the severance option. So, in essence, if you choose the severance option, you will receive your severance pay, the pay at your current rate for the next 30 days over and above that, and they will pay you out for any holidays, EDO’s or overtime that you have in your bank. In rare cases, they have asked the employee to work during their working notice, but I have only witnessed this a couple of times in over a decade of involvement with our local. The University has agreed in the past, to allow you to spread the severance money out over 2 tax years, the one you are in and the one following it, to reduce the amount of money you will be required to pay Revenue Canada.
If you decline severance and choose to continue employment at the University instead, the next choice you will be offered on your election form comes with two options. In both cases you will be required to submit a current resume to the SBA handling your file.
PLACEMENT: This is perhaps the most difficult for our members to understand and the most complicated. YOU will submit your resume to the SBA assigned to you and then YOU will be required to monitor the job postings, and, if YOU see one you would like to apply for, notify the SBA and they will submit your application to the Hiring Manager. YOU MUST BE QUALIFIED FOR THE POSITION YOU ARE APPLYING FOR. Many disagreements center around whether you are in fact qualified for the position you would like to interview for. The placement option is only for VACANT POSITIONS. In a time when the University is downsizing, there are very few vacant positions. The placement option does allow you to revert back to your severance option if you find after a few weeks you are not seeing many job postings on campus that you are interested in or qualified for. If you do revert back to severance, IT WILL BE AT A REDUCED AMOUNT. For every week you are on placement you will receive less severance if you revert.
BUMPING: In the times we are in, and with a desire on your part to remain employed at the University, this is currently the only viable option. It is also the most challenging and most work for the SBA assigned to you to accomplish. Once again, YOU will be required to submit a current resume to the SBA assigned to you and upon signing your Election Form they will be required, as per Article 12.1.6, to provide you with 2 bumping options or jobs within 21 calendar days. They will look at your resume to see what skill set you have and then look over the seniority lists to find a position for you to bump into. They will tell you that its not about getting your dream job, it’s about maintaining your employment at the University and, from my perspective, maintaining your seniority. There is new language in our most recent contract that states that you will be given 2 options and you must choose one. You do not get to revert back to the other bumping option you are provided if you find the choice you made is not working out as well as you would have hoped. You do not get to choose where or what position you want to bump into. Your only choice will be to select one of the two options presented to you. I encourage everyone going through a layoff to read the language in Article 12 to know and understand your options and reach out to our Union or the SBA assigned to get clarity on things within that Article if need be.
We did work with and sign an MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) with the employer, in the last 2 months, in regards to the bumping process. There was a concern between both parties abut the possibility of group layoffs happening at the University. This has happened with the Resident Caretakers where a number of them received permanent layoffs. The employer suggested, and we agreed, that in this event, a group of employees with the same qualifications and skill set be treated more as a group. If there were 6 employees involved, per se, instead of offering 1 of these individuals 2 positions, waiting for them to choose, offering the second individual 2 positions etc., the way it would be handled is that they would be treated as a group and if there were 6 people involved, they would offer 7 choices to the most senior employee and then after their selection, the next senior employee would receive 6 choices, all the way down until the last employee in the group with the least amount of seniority would still be offered 2 choices. This Agreement was bought forward to try and get people back working as soon as possible. This MOA also references that if you choose to bump and then are bumped into a position, that you cannot be bumped out of that position for at least 6 months.
In closing, I would encourage all of you to read your Collective Agreements (one was mailed out to each of you after our last contract was ratified or go on to our website and access it there). Also, if you are close to retirement and this happens to you, its difficult to make an informed decision without all the financial details. Everyone who was working at the University and enrolled in the old Non-Academic Pension Plan would have received a statement early in 2020 outlining what you can expect to receive from the plan in retirement. If you are 60 years of age or close to it you should have created a My Service Canada Account, where you can find what level of support you will receive from The Canadian Pension Plan. As always, if you have any questions, reach out to our Union office and me or one of the other Union Reps will get back to you.
Bob Jones, Acting President