Sisters, Brothers and Friends:
It has been six months since the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic; since that time, all aspects of our lives – whether work, social or community – have been altered in ways most of us could never have imagined.
We face new challenges around every corner.
CUPE members are returning to workplaces that are fundamentally changed. Some have never stopped working and have had to adjust on the fly to new workplace safety measures, fighting for proper precautions without ceasing to provide the vital services our communities need. Others find themselves returning under newly negotiated safety protocols that fundamentally change the nature of our workplaces.
Almost ten percent of our members are still on layoff or furlough. And while some members are returning to work, some are now facing layoffs that were avoided in the spring.
Through it all, we are learning new ways to conduct the work of our union. We are filing grievances, holding labour-management meetings, negotiating collective agreements, organizing new members, and holding local elections – all while complying with public health guidelines. Through these challenges, our union is thriving.
Our collective resilience is remarkable. I am so proud of our activists, our leaders, and our staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure that our communities continued to be cared for, to have access to the services they need, all the while protecting the rights of our members as they provide these critical frontline services.
National Sector Council Conference
CUPE’s National Sector Council Conference had been scheduled to be held in October 2020 in Winnipeg. While this is obviously not possible, we acknowledge that it is as important as ever for our leaders and activists to come together and discuss emerging trends and issues pertinent to their sectors. We have adjusted our original plans, and virtual sector meetings have been scheduled. From October 20 to 22, each sector will meet for one 4-hour virtual meeting. Please don’t miss this opportunity to join CUPE members from across the country for discussions about key issues in your sector.
CUPE continues to advocate for programs that will support all workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with our allies in labour, we were successful in ensuring broad access to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), and an extension while the government worked to adjust Employment Insurance (EI) and introduce additional and complementary programs to cover as many workers as possible. As gaps in these programs become evident, we continue to push for solutions.
Earlier this summer, representatives from CUPE and other unions met with the EI Commissioner for Workers to ask that government put in place lower national thresholds to qualify for EI, greater benefits, and better coverage for precarious workers.
The CERB will end shortly, and workers currently receiving CERB and in need of assistance should transition to EI or one of three new benefits recently announced by the federal government.
CUPE will continue to monitor these programs and press the government to ensure that all Canadians have the income supports they need through the duration of this pandemic.
Prime Minister Trudeau prorogued Parliament this summer, and intends to return in late September with a Speech from the Throne that will set out a new direction for the federal government in the wake of the pandemic. The labour movement is working together with its allies to demand a better deal for workers as we move forward, with a focus on better jobs, a stronger system of public health care, investment in childcare, and a stronger social safety net.
Protecting Public Health Care
For years, CUPE has been working with the Canadian Health Coalition and other allies against a court challenge by Dr. Brian Day and his private health clinic, Cambie Surgeries Corporation, aimed at gutting our system of universal public health care.
On September 10, a long-awaited decision by the BC Supreme Court affirmed the deeply-rooted Canadian value that people should receive health care based on what they need, not what they can pay.
Dr. Day has argued that patients have a constitutional right to private care if they can afford it and public wait times are too long.
While the Court acknowledged that challenges sometimes exist in accessing timely care, they ruled against Dr. Day, finding that those delays do not equate to a violation of charter rights. Justice Stevens noted that our health care system is rooted in medically necessary care, not an individual’s ability to pay.
We anticipate that Dr. Day will appeal the ruling and this fight will continue to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)
Based on recent comments from British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer regarding public gatherings, the CLC convention will be postponed to 2021. The four officers remain in office until the convention can be held. The CLC Executive Committee met in mid-July to discuss various matters, including the convention and the officers’ terms of office. The Executive Committee was unanimous in their direction that the CLC convention be held in June 2021 at the latest, either in-person or virtually.
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Commission des déchets solides Népisiguit-Chaleur
Lockout February 13, 2020
Maritime Employers’ Association
August 10, 2020
Strikes and Lockouts
CUPE 4193 (Commission des services régionaux Chaleur: Gestion des déchets solides) ended a 165-day lockout on July 28 with the ratification of a 5-year collective agreement.
The local broke the wage pattern in the Chaleur Region by negotiating a raise of 2% for the first 3 years and 1.75% in the 4th and 5th years of the contract, while also resisting concessions and two-tier proposals.
The negotiated return to work protocol included the withdrawal of disciplinary measures against eight members, the withdrawal of legal action against the local, and protection against further discipline of members related to the labour dispute.
The employer used every tactic in the book to break our members’ solidarity: they hired replacement workers and had an injunction issued to limit picketing.
Members of CUPE 4193 fought back and held strong despite the challenges of being locked-out during a pandemic. I congratulate them for resisting concessions and negotiating a fair contract. Their long fight and eventual victory, supported by CUPE members across the country as well as allies in labour and the community, is a testament to our collective strength.
CUPE 375 (The Port of Montreal Longshoremen’s Union) and the Maritime Employers Association (MEA) have reached a tentative seven-month truce ending the strike that began on August 10, 2020.
By mutual agreement, the parties have agreed to set aside their actions and focus on reaching a collective agreement. Should these efforts fail, they will be able to refer certain matters to arbitration, and we still retain the right to strike.
Municipal workers for the District of Fort St. James in British Columbia have unanimously ratified their first collective agreement. After nearly nine months of negotiations, members of CUPE 4951-02 have achieved a huge step forward in job security and fairness in the workplace.
Workers for the District, a small community two hours from Prince George, joined CUPE 4951 in September 2018. The unit includes 22 inside and outside workers in a variety of jobs across the District. The new collective agreement includes increased job security and establishes a job evaluation process – a first for the District.
June saw the settlement of a first collective agreement by arbitration for employees of Oneida Nation of the Thames Emergency Medical Services. This is the first contract between the union and a First Nations paramedic service in Ontario.
This new contract for members of CUPE 35-6 sees higher than average wage increases for full and part-time paramedics as well as the introduction of a shift premium. Full-time workers will receive increases to vision care and long-term disability benefits, with part-time workers winning parity in vacation pay and access to the Employee Assistance Program.
Members of CUPE 9 in Saskatchewan have voted by an 82 per cent margin to ratify a new collective agreement with the City of Moose Jaw.
The four-year agreement sees new provisions for domestic violence leave, expands bereavement leave to include Indigenous elders, implements start date seniority, and creates a joint job evaluation process to move towards pay equity. It also includes a staggered removal of the two-tier wage structure for students and brings the wages of those employees in line with regular starting wages.
Regional Services Division Updates
In June, CUPE New Brunswick and CUPE Prince Edward Island held the first two virtual division conventions in CUPE’s history.
Upholding CUPE’s core principles of democracy and accountability, both divisions rose to the challenge, adjusted their way of conducting business to the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and held successful online conventions. Their leadership reported back on their activities, members debated resolutions and constitutional amendments, and elections were conducted. Although a virtual convention does not bring the richness of human contact, socializing, and networking, the requirements of good governance were met and I am proud of both divisions for this achievement. I was glad to participate in both events, and I extend a sincere thank you to all the activists and staff who made it happen.
Prince Edward Island
In PEI, locals in the education sector worked hard to identify issues and push the Department of Education to adopt practices that put workers’ health and safety at the forefront as schools reopen. The operational plan should have addressed the inability for staff and students to social distance on school buses and in most school environments, but these concerns were overlooked.
New workplace harassment regulations came into effect in July in PEI. These regulations should be used by employers to promote positive and respectful workplaces, in order to keep their workplaces safe.
New Brunswickers went to the polls in mid-September, and CUPE ensured the issues our members face at work were front and centre in this election.
The Conservatives have shown they have no interest in public services, and are pushing their austerity agenda like never before, despite the fact that the 2020 pandemic has demonstrated that strong public services are truly essential to our well-being. The Higgs government opted out of federal funding for public transit, was not interested in federal monies to help increase wages for health care workers; a clear indication of where they stand. Even when the money is available, this government lets the economy shrink by refusing to invest to sustain it.
CUPE New Brunswick was involved in this election, encouraging New Brunswickers to make a different choice and elect a progressive government that will allow New Brunswick to grow as it should. Unfortunately, the Conservatives achieved a majority government on election night.
All provincial units are still at the bargaining table, and the Bargaining Forward campaign is being adapted to the current context.
At the beginning of August, Premier Stephen McNeil announced he would be stepping down as premier and leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party. McNeil was certainly not a friend of labour, and we can only hope that his successor will have more respect for the collective bargaining process and the role of unions as equalizers in an increasingly unequal economy.
As COVID-19 infection rates in the province dropped to almost zero over the summer, the focus in the health sector shifted to achieving wage parity for licensed practical nurses (LPNs), after the Liberal government announced a 12% pay increase for a group of LPNs who had filed a grievance in 2014. The multi-union campaign was effective: the pay increase will be extended to all LPNs working in acute care, long-term care, developmental services and home support.
Despite the introduction and funding of the long-term care assistant position, staffing shortages continue to be widespread in the sector. Compounded with the pandemic, it is truly extraordinary to see the dedication of our members who carry on their work in these challenging times. Most are still waiting for proper compensation for this essential work.
In the education sector, CUPE lobbied for better planning, tighter infection controls and more clarity on preventive health and safety measures in anticipation of schools reopening. Return to school has childcare centres getting ready for increased capacity, which poses safety challenges as well. In addition, early childhood educators (ECEs) face inequities between staff at non-profit centres and staff working in pre-primary government programs. CUPE 4745 mounted a campaign for equal compensation for all ECEs in Nova Scotia.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Following Dwight Ball’s resignation as premier, Andrew Furey became leader and premier on August 19 and proceeded with a cabinet shuffle. Minister Osbourne no longer oversees provincial bargaining for government. CUPE is holding strong and refusing to accept concessions to the Public Service Pension Plan (PSPP) even though other unions have agreed to a proposal that would cap the benefit formula at 2% of service. With this proposal, the enhancement to the Canada Pension Plan would be clawed back for members that participate in the PSPP.
The government’s school re-entry plan raised many questions for our members in the education sector. CUPE voiced the members’ concerns in the media, lobbied the English District School Board, and had a successful turnout to a town hall meeting with education workers.
CUPE 2099 in Mount Pearl had lost patience with a long, drawn-out investigation into workplace harassment and bullying by the now former chief administrative officer, who spent 9 months on paid leave while the investigation was being conducted. In June, the local launched a public campaign calling for a respectful and inclusive workplace, free of harassment and intimidation. The city finally prepared a motion to dismiss the CAO for just cause, but he resigned before it was presented to the municipal council. According to records obtained by CBC News through access to information, Mount Pearl taxpayers had already spent $70,000 on external legal fees at the end of April tied to the harassment investigation.
This past summer was a hot one at the Port of Montreal. After the Canada Industrial Relations Board rendered a decision in CUPE 375’s favour, which granted them the right to strike with essential services limited to the ships serving Newfoundland and Labrador, the longshore workers launched a series of job actions. The employer responded with unilateral modifications to their working conditions, and the members replied with an unlimited general strike. When the employer threatened to resort to replacement workers, several local unions and other trade union allies announced that reinforcements would be showing up on the picket lines. This escalation of the dispute led both parties to negotiate a truce so that the parties could concentrate on negotiating a collective agreement. Until that point, the employer had shown no sign of wanting to negotiate in good faith.
Meanwhile, negotiations with the Government of Quebec in the health care and education sectors resumed in August. Despite the Premier’s announcement about premiums for our front line members, the government’s offer was not sufficient to properly address the staffing shortages that exist in these sectors. The unions are asking for adjustments and modifications to their work schedules and work organization so as to enable health care and education sector employees to properly and adequately balance work and family.
Our unions in the municipal sector, who are grappling with Bill 15, which imposed a series of concessions on them with regard to their pension plans, recently scored a partial victory: where the Quebec Superior Court declared that certain articles in this law, namely, those regarding the indexation of retiree benefits, were unconstitutional and thus had them annulled. Seeing as SCFP-Québec believes that the other provisions contained in the law should have met the same fate, they decided to appeal part of the decision.
For the third time in four years, the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) tried to remove guaranteed indexing. CUPE Ontario advised members of the huge pitfalls to this proposal, resulting in more than 5,000 emails opposing the plan. The campaign also successfully brought unions and employers on side with the concept of buying back pensionable service during the COVID-19 crisis as well as opening the plan to part time employees.
Unfortunately, despite a massive effort, the “Shared Risk indexing” proposal passed. This means that for service worked after December 31, 2022, annual indexing for that portion of the OMERS pension could be reduced or even eliminated. This will especially impact younger workers or new hires who will not receive guaranteed indexing of their pension in retirement. Plan members who are already retired are not impacted by this change.
Other plan changes were adopted. The Board voted in favour of 3 technical changes that make OMERS service buybacks easier for workers on layoff or with reduced earnings in light of disruption caused by COVID-19. The Board also passed an amendment that makes it easier for part-time, casual, and contract workers to join OMERS.
The provincial government passed Bill 195, which extends emergency orders despite the legislation itself declaring the end of the state of emergency. CUPE Ontario continues to fight back, insisting the government should have negotiated solutions with workers and their unions instead of issuing orders which allow employers to override workplace rights.
These orders, which impact workplaces and override sections of public sector collective agreements, give management the ability to cancel scheduled vacations and the right to seniority-based layoff; eliminate rights concerning redeployment, amending work assignments, shift schedules; and, in some cases, will suspend the grievance process.
Commencing on August 17, 22 regional rallies were held in communities across the province to protest the passing of Bill 195.
At least 6,450 Ontario health care workers have contracted COVID-19 at work and approximately 14 have died. In addition to stripping many health care workers’ workplace protections, Bill 195 removes broader rights, such as the right to assemble and protest, and also lessens environmental safeguards.
OCHU and CUPE are currently assessing legal challenges to the legislation.
In March 2017, the Manitoba government introduced the Public Services Sustainability Act (PSSA), which would have frozen the wages of 120,000 public sector workers for two years and cap their pay for another two years. CUPE joined other unions in a partnership to defend public services and collective bargaining rights and took the government to court.
In June 2020, CUPE and other unions won a court victory when the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench ruled that the legislation directly interfered with free collective bargaining and declared it unconstitutional. This victory will immediately become important for CUPE locals that have faced the impact of the legislation at bargaining tables since it was introduced. As anticipated, the government has chosen to appeal the court’s decision and CUPE continues to play an important role in planning for the next steps in this court challenge.
Over the summer, the provincial government took advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to force public service cutbacks and austerity measures. Manitoba Hydro and other public sector employers were directed by the government to find savings that would be applied to pandemic prevention and response.
CUPE was the first among unions to publicly oppose the austerity measures and was joined by other unions to resist workforce layoffs and reductions to hours of work. CUPE 998 received good media coverage and garnered public support. It is clear that their 2019 campaign to build support for keeping Manitoba Hydro public had also built support for Hydro workers, and there was a significant public expression of opposition to workforce reductions.
CUPE 5430, representing 13,000 health care workers across Saskatchewan, launched a TV ad celebrating health care workers during the pandemic.
Throughout the pandemic, the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and the five health care unions in the province have met daily to get updates on the impacts of the pandemic. CUPE uses this important forum to advocate for our members’ rights and concerns.
Privatization and contracting out continues to be a concern in the health sector. The former Prairie North Health Region (fPNHR) has engaged in contracting out EMS services, as well as forcing our members from other facilities to work in a ‘multi-site’ capacity. CUPE is pursuing grievances on these matters. There was some good news on this front, though, as fPNHR has agreed to bring the cleaning services of the Public Health site in North Battleford back in-house.
The Education Workers Steering Committee hosted several well-attended Zoom meetings with local Presidents. These meetings were important forums to share information and concerns across school divisions and provide support to local leaders as they worked towards a safe return to schools for the fall. This sector has seen most permanent staff avoid layoff, but temporary and casual employees have not been so lucky, with most losing hours in the spring. Locals are working to ensure as many of these members as possible return to work as schools reopen.
In the spirit of ensuring good local governance continues despite the pandemic and challenges faced by members who lack access to reliable technology, CUPE 4618 held elections at an outdoor membership meeting this summer.
The inherent disparity of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is apparent in the childcare sector in Saskatchewan. Awasis Child Care Co-operative (where workers are represented by CUPE 5371) applied for the CEWS and was approved, allowing the employer to recall 23 of our 34 members from layoff. However the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union Daycare (CUPE 5408) had its CEWS application denied because its payroll is contracted to the University and they have been therefore been considered a public sector employer. The employer and CUPE Saskatchewan have joined forces to fight for access to this important benefit.
Jason Kenney and his United Conservative Party government accelerated their attack on workers and unions this summer when they forced Bill 32 through the provincial legislature. This legislation will radically transform labour relations in Alberta, undermine the Canadian consensus, and pave the way for anti-union “right-to-work” legislation. It is an unprecedented attack on union finances, disrupts the way we represent our members’ interests, and has the potential to substantially restrict how unions can support their communities and participate in the public discourse.
One of the biggest changes to be implemented is how unions can collect dues. Bill 32 requires unions to use resources to obtain permission from every member to collect union dues destined for political and charitable donations from both members and Rand members, increases the burden of financial reporting, and ties up resources responding to disputes and complaints.
CUPE has joined forces with other unions to challenge the legislation in court.
In addition to its attack on our charter rights, Bill 32 also makes sweeping changes to the Labour Relations and Employment Standards Codes, negatively impacting both unionized and non-unionized workers across the province.
Bill 32 builds on previously introduced changes that affect strikes and rallies and provides legal and practical assistance to union members on how to attack unions through complaints. We have seen an increase in decertification threats and Duty of Fair Representation complaints as a result.
The government continues its cutbacks, hiring freezes, and layoffs in the K-12 sector while planning school reopening. A sub-committee of K-12 presidents has been struck to develop a bargaining strategy for locals across the province to stand against rollbacks and the cuts to education funding. This sub-committee is developing a platform to share proposals and board documents, along with government direction to other locals throughout the province.
Another example of the problems inherent with the CEWS has surfaced in Vancouver, where the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) has been denied access to the wage subsidy because it is owned by the City of Vancouver and is therefore considered a public sector employer – despite the fact it operates entirely as a not-for-profit organization. During the summer fair, in recent years, the PNE employs more than 4,000 workers, members of CUPE 1004.
With revenue significantly reduced due to the pandemic, and in the absence of support from senior levels of government, the PNE faces a $20 million shortfall. If support does not come, these members may have their work privatized. CUPE 1004 is pushing the federal government to come to the table with support to save the PNE – and our members’ jobs.
CUPE has had several significant organizing successes in BC this summer. CUPE 389 welcomed eight new members from the North Vancouver Museum and Archives. These workers document the history of the development of North Vancouver and maintain an archive of historical artifacts. CUPE 1936 now represents nine workers at the Vancouver Association of Survivors of Torture, providing counselling support and services to refugees and immigrants fleeing persecution. CUPE 458 welcomed 23 new members who work at Sunnyside Campground in Cultus Lake, which is owned and operated by the Cultus Lake Park Board. And, CUPE 403 celebrated a successful organizing drive in June when 147 recreation and cultural workers with the Township of Langley and the Langley Centennial Museum voted to join CUPE.
Hospital Employees’ Union (HEU)
With collective agreements for most contracted support services workers (CSSW) expiring at the end of September 2020, HEU members in this sector are preparing for bargaining.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered face-to-face meetings and large gatherings, HEU is forging ahead with bargaining preparations, using other tools and electronic platforms that allow for member participation in the bargaining process.
A detailed plan has been developed in the lead up to bargaining in November. It started with a telephone town hall meeting held in July to brief members on bargaining plans and to answer their questions. Bargaining committees will be nominated and elected in September, and a bargaining survey will help those committees set priorities and demands.
In the meantime, the union is staying focused on its broader goal of bringing Contracted Support Services back under the direct control of the health authorities. HEU continues to advocate for the implementation of the Labour Adjustment Framework that the union negotiated with the Health Employers’ Association of BC, outlining the process for bringing contracted services back in-house.
Earlier this summer, care aides at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver voted to join the Hospital Employees’ Union in a mail-in ballot overseen by B.C.’s Employment Standards Branch. Lynn Valley Care Centre was the site of Canada’s first COVID-related death, and the outbreak claimed 20 lives before it was declared over in early May. More than 50 residents and two dozen staff were infected with COVID-19.
These care aides are employed by Pro Vita Care Management – a subcontracting company established after the previous B.C. Liberal government opened up long-term care homes to contracting out in 2002. HEU represented care aides at the site before their work was contracted out about 15 years ago under legislation brought in by the BC Liberals, and then again with the subsequent subcontractor. But these care aides had been without union representation at the site since the care home operator changed subcontractors in 2012. They voted 97 per cent in favour of joining HEU.
Our members in the airlines sector continue to suffer from reduced travel due to pandemic restrictions. Our locals and components have dealt with a myriad of issues related to the significant layoffs that occurred in the spring and pushed employers to keep flight attendants on payroll using the wage subsidy program offered by the federal government.
Despite commitments made by the former federal Finance Minister, the program was not designed to give workers a voice in how the wage subsidy would be applied by employers. There were no wage and benefit conditions attached, and some employers used the opportunity to demand major concessions from unions.
Working with the CLC and allies, CUPE lobbied federal ministers for specific financial support for the airline industry, with the objective to protect jobs and working conditions similar to what had been achieved in the United States. The Trudeau government chose to offer a one-size-fits-all program that is not working for our members. CUPE will continue to advocate for a better plan for airline workers.
For the period between July 1, 2020 and September 30, 2020, CUPE welcomed 1,766 new members in 26 newly certified bargaining units. Staff and member organizers organized 197 members in the healthcare sector, eight in childcare, 190 members in municipalities, 349 members in social services, and 994 in the HEU.
Currently, there are 41 new campaigns underway that, if successful, would increase our membership by 12,765. There are 10 files at labour boards that would bring in 984 new members.
Despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19, we remain busy with new organizing initiatives across the country.
The pandemic has required a major shift in how we do organizing within CUPE.
Traditionally, face-to-face meetings are essential to building the relationships and trust required to build a bargaining unit. COVID-19 has made that impossible.
In Quebec, we filed an application for certification with the TAT to organize 31 interurban bus drivers on the Deux-Montagnes line. An agreement is under way with the employer to integrate these members into the membership of Local 4846, who are also Lanau Bus employees.
We filed applications for certification with the TAT to organize 70 Red Cross employees who will join Local 1995.
We filed an application for certification with the CIRB to organize clerks, supervisors, coordinators, and office staff, totaling approximately 10 employees.
Local 4813 agreed to represent the three employees of the Municipality of Notre-Dame-des-Monts. An application for certification was sent to the TAT on August 3.
We took advantage of an open period to file an application for certification to unionize the 191 members of Local 9875 with whom we have a service agreement.
In Ontario, the Labour Relations Board (OLRB) brought in several changes to the process. They have moved to online voting wherever possible, begun accepting electronic membership evidence, and are only accepting applications and submissions by e-mail. The move to online voting has also caused minor delays in getting to a vote and has created longer voting windows. Some employers have raised objections to having votes during the pandemic, but those have been dismissed by the OLRB.
We have now had five successful votes using electronic evidence using Adobe Sign.
The pandemic has also created a new job category – screeners – in many workplaces. In addition to work by sectors and locals on collective agreement rights within their workplaces for people redeployed to these positions, we have initiated a drive across the hospital sector to ensure these workers are included in our union.
Pandemic disgruntlement has brought increased interest in joining CUPE and has helped to initiate or complete several drives. But that can also work against us and we continue to work on projects to fight off raids or decertification campaigns in healthcare, which is made much more difficult by the current situation.
Kingston Homecare Pilot Project
Meetings will resume in September, starting with the Paramed group in Cornwall. Online organizing has continued this quarter, but adding in-person organizing that follows all public health guidelines will provide a boost to the project.
Toronto Hospital Drives
This campaign includes five different hospital drives within the City of Toronto: Mt. Sinai (NOWU liberation – Service and Clerical); Unity Health Toronto (remaining admin & allied); Trillium Health (Clerical); University Health Network (Clerical); and Sick Kids (Clerical).
Although there are several drives our primary focus is currently on Mount Sinai. The open period begins October 1 and the goal is to be ready to file displacement applications for all four bargaining units.
We will also begin in-person organizing at Mount Sinai, and as with homecare, adhere to the regional public health guidelines. Based on our estimation of the number of employees, we have enough cards to file for one of the units and are within 20-25 cards away from the other three units.
Active campaigns continue while organizing leads are increasing in the Alberta region. Presentations have been scheduled and are being adapted for Zoom and Skype platforms. Leads are coming in from all sectors as UCP budget cuts with threats of privatization, layoffs, and wage rollbacks become more widespread.
We have successfully defended against four of the five known decertification threats in the last eight months. We expect applications to continue as the government is actively encouraging and assisting union members with decertification.
The municipal priorities strategy meetings have expanded into the mapping of other key sectors, like education, post-secondary, and childcare, where there is potential for a simple wall-to-wall organizing, mergers, and building density.
In British Columbia, there have been some good successes organizing by using 100 percent digital communication and card signing. The Labour Relations Board of BC has moved almost exclusively to the use of electronic certification votes.
Messages of Condolences
I offer my sincere condolences to the families of the following CUPE members, active staff and retirees who have passed away in this reporting period.
- Stuart Nanabush, Local 416
- Anthony Richards, Local 1190
- Ray Charles Macmillan, Local 8920
- Natalie Dempsey, Local 8920
- Kurtis Cleaveley, Local 1000
- Cathy Lynn Cooke, Local 1472
- Bob Davies, Local 498
- Tonya Sweetapple, Local 2559
- Timothy Cline, Local 110
- John Dodic, Local 416
- Glenna Casavechia, Local 4814
- Kristine Taggart, CUPE Red Deer Area Office
- Shirley Mannion, National Office
- Sheila Mantell, Nanaimo Area Office
- Roger Laramée, Quebec Regional Office
- Joan Blacquier, Maritimes Regional Office
- Joseph Mele, Ontario Regional Office
- Ruby Chisholm, Ontario Regional Office
- Catherine Cheeseman, Peterborough Area Office
- Jack Rodie, Past Manitoba Division President
- Kim Manton, Past CUPE member
- John Loxley, CCPA member