COVID-19 – What you need to know….

Your Union recognizes that many of our members would be considered precarious workers and are dealing with a lot of fear and anxiety as to what the future holds for them. We certainly do not want to see any members making decisions because of their financial situation that could negatively impact their own health or the health of their loved ones.  The FSEAP is just one of our benefit providers; who not only offers counselling supports that address critical incident stress, substance mis-use or addiction, and crisis intervention.  They also provide a much wider range of services that include health and wellness as well as financial planning.  In light of the COVID-19 pandemic here is some recent literature that we would like to share with our members;

If you or someone you love has become symptomatic we strongly urge you to utilize the “Self Assessment Tool” this is an excellent on-line resource that is very user friendly and can provide you with immediate advice on how best to proceed.

For members that are currently on site, or anticipate being back on site in some capacity in the coming weeks and that have questions regarding their health and safety in the midst of this coronavirus pandemic.  WorkSafe BC has some excellent information pertaining to workplace health and safety responsibilities and what the expectations are should you need to file a claim.

 

 

COVID-19 Update for April 2, 2020

Good Afternoon Members,

The messaging from our leaders is to stay home as the next two weeks are critical in controlling this COVID-19 pandemic. However, we have now seen thousands of K-12 workers across the province be required to return to their worksites this week. While some Districts are taking a very slow, collaborative and well thought out approach (respectful and considerate of their employees) others are rushing forward full steam ahead; now hardly seems like the time to be throwing caution to the wind. The Hero’s in all this will be those Districts that have clear and consistent plans, with robust OH&S procedures in place that minimizes the risk of an outbreak of the coronavirus at their work sites.

The messaging we are getting from our CUPE Reps who who are working with Government directly is that member’s not accepting work are not to be laid off, as all K-12 workers are protected until the end of April. This Local believes all of our members want to work, and that no one is looking to take advantage of this situation, but they need to know they will be safe in performing their duties at the worksite. However, if you or someone you live with has a medical condition that could seriously jeopardize their health should they contact the COVID-19 virus, then you should strongly consider staying away from work. Your Union believes working from home should be the first option for those members with compromised health. Any inquiries into a member’s private medical information or that of their families, is strictly prohibited. If you have any concerns regarding this we ask that you reach out to your Union representative.

Although your Local continues to meet with the Employer on a regular basis, which your executive does appreciate, these are more information sessions. The Employer is informing your Union what they are going to do. Be assured we bring all your questions and concerns to those meetings, where they are shared and if possible, addressed promptly. Please know that your Union is not involved in any of the planning or approving what is happening here in this District. As long as the B.C. Provincial Emergency Program Act is in effect, your Union is handcuffed and has no control on how this District chooses to redeploy our members.

Many members have come to us with questions regarding Employment Insurance, your Union is not in a position to give advice on this worker benefit. Please pursue answers directly with Employment Insurance staff.

For our casual members, you have had many questions for us. Sadly we have very few answers for you at this time. Please know we have not forgotten about you. We continue to advocate for all our members, and we continue to ask what will happen with all of you that were not in Temporary Assignment and simply being called out day to day. Please continue to email us your questions/concerns, as answers come our way we will share them with you directly and/or post them on the website for all to see.

We know these are scary times for many. We hope that by continuing with these communications we are providing you with good information. Information that provides some answers and clarity, along with the solace in knowing that the health and well-being of you and your families is at the forefront of all of our conversations with our Employer.

In Solidarity,

CUPE 411 Executive

COVID-19 Update for March 31, 2020

Good Evening Members,

As part of our daily communications to keep you informed during this COVID-19 pandemic we thought, with advice from our National Servicing Rep., it was important to share with you what we do know regarding the workflow and expectations in the next couple of days, weeks, and or months……

Under the B.C. Provincial Emergency Program Act the redeployment of workers will happen in order to take care of our communities, and as public employees, the Union (CUPE 411) does not have a choice to agree or disagree at this time.  The redeployment of any of our members is only during this crisis and this is done on a whole without prejudice or precedent, as confirmed by the Public Sector Employer’s Council; the Council governs public employees under the provincial government.

Some of the questions we have been asked by members are;

Can I say “No” to being redeployed?

  • “Yes” you can but you may not be paid? It is important to note that failure to not show up to work may result in not receiving any E.I or government assistance.

What if I am not experience, qualified, or capable? 

  • It is the Employer’s responsibility to provide adequate training for any and all work that you are being asked to perform.
  • If you require a license, certification, or some other legal requirement to perform the work; then make it know you do not possess these.
  • If you are not capable (i.e. have a medical condition) then you can indicate you have a medical condition that prohibits you from performing the work (do not disclose the condition) and ask if there is any other work that you can do.

Why am I being asked to work outside the scope of my job description?

  • It has come to this because of the health crisis we are in here in B.C. and the province has entered into the Emergency Act.

Why is the School District still operating?

  • The Employer has been tasked to continue to work to support the communities. This directive comes from BCPSEA, PSEC, and the Provincial Government.

Are we expected to work until June 26, 2020 and if I cannot work will I continue to get paid until then?

  • The government has secured payment until April 30, 2020, but they are expecting to see some work out of all school district employees; this is not going to be a free ride.
  • For those members who are unable to come into the work sites due to pre-existing medical conditions, or live with someone who is vulnerable, and there is not work for them to perform at home we are unclear at this time how they are going to be financially compensated (i.e. Employer Pays or E.I.)?

Please know that your Union Executive, have and will continue to work tirelessly in advocating in your best interest and ensuring that your health and safety is the primary consideration during this pandemic.

In Solidarity,

CUPE 411 Executive

COVID-19 Update for March 30, 2020

Good Evening Members,

By now a number of you should have received a phone call from your PVP/Manager to discuss a number of questions pertaining to COVID-19 and your ability to work, either on site or from home.  If you have not received a call yet, please be patient and hopefully by tomorrow everyone will have been contacted.  It is critically important that you DO NOT arrive at a work site without first having received this call, this is not only for your health and safety but for that of your co-workers.

As some of you may have already heard the BC Provincial Government has mandated school districts to provide emergency child care to our front-line workers such as; doctor’s, nurse’s (RN’s and LPN’s), paramedics, and the like.  Many of these are unionized workers and in this time of crisis we understand the importance in providing support to them as they are risking so much.  There are many details, such as a comprehensive safety plan, that must be worked out prior to this being implemented.  What this all means for our members we do not know yet, but after the broadcast on Global National yesterday regarding children and COVID-19, it is imperative that we do not rush into any scenerio that could jeopardize the health and safety of any of our members.

We have received some very good information from the P.E.B.T. that we wanted to share with our members regarding this COVID-19 pandemic that speaks directly to K-12 Support Staff, and some FAQ’s.

For those members that continue to work, or have returned to work, please continue to follow the BC CDC protocols on prevention when it comes to COVID-19, as these are key in minimizing the risk of exposure and transmission.

We thank you for your patience and understanding as we climb this mountain in front of us one slow step at a time; always with your best interest at heart….

Sincerely and In Solidarity,

CUPE 411 Executive

 

 

COVID-19 SD#33 Protocols for March 30 & 31

Good Evening Members,

The Union has received numerous calls over the last two days regarding requests from Administrators and Managers to have some of their 10-month staff come into work tomorrow.  These requests were not to have come in the form of a text message, or via another CUPE staff member.  Any requests from your immediate supervisor to commence work tomorrow needed to come directly from them in the form of a phone call, where a standard set of questions (see your email) were asked to which you could provide accurate answers and also address any health and safety concerns.  If this did not happen we strongly suggest you contact your immediate supervisor tonight asking, “Why not?”.

The Union has just received some very basic protocols that they expect to see in place tomorrow and Tuesday.  We want to be absolutely clear, the Union DID NOT have any input into the creation of these protocols, they were merely provided to us and because our members have indicated that they have not received any health and safety information from the Employer to date we have chosen to share this with you.  It will not be our practice to publish the Employers information but because we have so many anxious members out there we wanted to provide some sort of information that directly relates to your health and safety in these precarious times.

The Union can appreciate your angst about returning to your respective workplace as many of you have been heeding the advice of the medical professionals in our country and “Staying Home”.  Being asked to return to work is in direct conflict to the messaging that all of us are getting and we just want to say “Thank you” for doing the right thing up until now; for yourselves, your families, and your community.

In Solidarity,

CUPE 411 Executive

COVID-19 Update for March 29, 2020

Good Morning Members,

In Dr. Bonnie Henry’s address to the public on Friday, March 27th (at approx. the 40-minute mark) she spoke to the risks involved with transmission and how to manage work-flows.  Granted this spoke to those in hospitals, but it would seem logical that the same rationale should apply to other worksites.  She also stressed that the distancing measures are making a difference, and therefore, we as a Union will not support any scenario in which those cannot be maintained.  Another report for B.C.  came out yesterday from Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry with the latest update on what has been happening in our province and what the briefings for next week will look like.

The Union has been consulting with other K-12 executive members across this province to get an understanding on what is unfolding in their Districts and how their Employer’s are engaging the Union’s in managing this pandemic as a collective.  We have received some excellent feedback as there are some District’s that are working collaboratively with the Union’s, they have strong OH&S Professionals on staff that are doing a great job at developing plans that address their members safety and are laying that out quite clearly with the Union.  While others are working on plans but are no where near ready to roll them out, so they have decided to keep everyone at home for at least another week.  Yet there are other Districts that are forging ahead without clear plans, or at least if they do have a plan it has not been communicated with the Union, and they are even entertaining the idea of having additional staff, students, or possibly members of the public come into their buildings.  The later of course is of great concern as this is clearly not putting members safety at the forefront.  Our Superintendent has been clear with the Union that the Health and Safety of staff is paramount, and it is the Union’s goal to collaboratively work with the Employer during this time of crisis in this regard.

If our members should find themselves in a position where they feel the risk to their safety, or the safety of others is imminent then we would ask that you please review the following article from CUPE National that speaks to Refusing Unsafe Work. The Union wants to be clear that this is not a tool to be used to avoid work, this is however a right that every worker in B.C. has to ensure that their health and safety, and others around them, is the first and foremost consideration for all Employers.  The process for reporting unsafe work is clear and must be addressed immediately so that corrective action can be taken without delay.  If the process is not being followed your Union Executive want to hear from you ASAP.

Lastly, it has come to our attention that some members have been directed to go home, but if you are not experiencing the symptoms as laid out by the CDC, then we want to hear from you.  There are many members who perhaps have one or two of these symptoms due to some other health issue (i.e. chronic smokers cough, or seasonal allergies) and you should not be sent home and expected to use your sick days as a result.  The Union will not tolerate the Employer attempting to have our members burn through any of their benefit entitlements as a result of this pandemic.

The CDC has very detailed information regarding “Vulnerable Populations” and we want to ensure is that if you as a member meet any of the criteria you DO NOT come in to work, but relate to your Supervisor that you are ready, willing and able to work from home.  Again, we want to remind our members that pre-existing medical conditions are not to be disclosed and if anyone is pressuring you for such details you need to contact your Union representative.

An email from the Union will be going today, it is important that you review this as it speaks to the expectations regarding work on Monday, March 30 and Tuesday, March 31.  We ask that you please be sure to check your personal emails for our correspondence as we often share sensitive or timely information in that format.

In Solidarity,

CUPE 411 Executive

COVID-19 Update for March 26, 2020

Good Evening Members,

Well instead of following in the steps of private industry, that are doing the right thing and shutting down their operations, those in charge of public education in this province have decided that the K-12 support staff here in B.C. are expendable.  We are deeply disappointed with today’s decision, but we will continue to advocate on behalf of members and their safety as we know that this is weighing heavy on your minds given all the communications we have received as of late.

As healthcare workers here in B.C. continue to plea with the public to stay home, this has clearly fallen on deaf ears with many of the decision makers in our K-12 system.  However, if for any reason members have concerns regarding their own health or the health of their loved ones then staying home is an absolute must!

There is a new COVID-19 app that can be downloaded free of charge to your mobile devices that may be of assistance in answering questions or addressing concerns regarding this pandemic.

We would ask all members to please check their personal emails for further correspondence from the Union and if we do not have your personal email please contact the Union office either via phone 604-392-1411 or at unionoffice@cupe411.ca so that we can add you to our email group.

In Solidarity,

CUPE 411 Executive

 

 

COVID-19 UPDATE for March 25, 2020

Good Evening Members,

Tonight we want to take this opportunity to extend a warm round of applause and a HUGE “Thank you” to those Healthcare Professionals who have been battling this pandemic since day one!  These front-line workers are risking their lives everyday by caring for those that are symptomatic and/or have been diagnosed with COVID-19.  Despite their years of training and experience on how to protect themselves against transmittable diseases, both through practices and PPE, these doctors, nurses and paramedics are not only contracting this deadly virus but are succumbing to it.   The dedication, commitment, and sacrifice of these brave individuals deserves our acknowledgement and our gratitude.
We would be remiss not to recognize the many other professionals, semi-professionals, skilled tradespeople, and labourers from various sectors of business and industry who are also risking much by continuing to work during this time of crisis.  We are most grateful and appreciative of the work you are continuing to do, day in and day out, to keep our country going.
There has been much inquiry and speculation from our members as to what the expectation will be not just next week, but in the coming months.  As of today we still have no answers and continue to await a decision from our Employer in this regard.  We have not received any further information regarding the K-12 system here in BC other than the message from Minister Fleming last week.
What we can tell you is that the message from our Provincial and Federal Health Officers and other Government Officials is to “Stay Home” in order to help prevent the spread of this virus.  Restrict being in common areas and maintain a minimum of a 2m distance if you must go out in public.  We have to minimize the number of people touching shared surfaces, and potentially running into each other.  Shared spaces need to be closed down or restricted to an appropriate number of people given the size of the space.
There were 42 new cases of COVID-19 in BC for a total of 659 as of today, and one additional death.  The province is in a critical phase with their personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, and are looking at ways to address this situation.
The message today was clear, if we are going to come together we need to do this virtually thus ensuring a safe space is maintained at all times.  Therefore working from home, connecting with friends and family via the internet, or simply using the phone to communicate needs to be our new normal; at least for the time being.
All we can do now is wait and hope that the plea’s from our Medical Professionals, are heard by government and further action is taken before the end of the week?
We will continue to keep our members informed as the situation unfolds….
In Solidarity,
CUPE 411 Executive

COVID-19 Update – March 24, 2020

Good Evening Members,

We feel it is our duty to provide accurate and up-to-date information, however repetitive this may sound, to our members by sharing links to government agencies and correspondence from our governing bodies.  But sharing news stories is also important to put things into perspective as to what is really going on here, at home, as well as abroad.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam confirmed today that the COVID-19 virus is starting to spread through community contact.  With 2 new outbreaks in senior care homes and 145 new confirmed cases here in BC today bringing our provincial total up to 617, we feel the sense of urgency growing and hope that our government chooses to take stricter measures sooner rather than later.

There are horrific stories coming out of Spain, another 743 deaths in Italy today, and with things digressing in the state of New York this is destined to become the new epicenter of this deadly virus.

As CUPE 411 members we encourage you to follow the guidelines set out by both the Provincial and Federal agencies regarding COVID-19 as your health and that of your loved ones needs to be first and foremost.  If you have questions or concerns regarding your employment status don’t hesitate to reach out to your elected Union representatives and we will do our best to provide you with our guidance and support.

Stay strong, stay safe, and stay vigilant; together we will get through this….

In Solidarity,

CUPE 411 Executive

 

COVID 19 – Update for March 23, 2020

Good Evening Members,

For those that want to stay abreast of the latest details from B.C.’s Ministry of Heath you can tune into the daily youtube broadcasts with Minister Adrian Dix and Doctor Bonnie Henry.

CUPE National has also been working hard to ensure accurate information on COVID-19 is available to all CUPE members via a Fact Sheet and we would also encourage you to take a few moments to read over the “General Occupational Guidelines for COVID-19“.

We continue to insist members that are still working adhere to the social distancing guidelines and follow the hygiene protocols outlined by our provincial health officer, Dr. Henry; the BC Centre for Disease Control is also another excellent resource in transmission prevention.

Our FSEAP service provider also has some great resources for our members to access, take a moment to read the latest literature and we will continue to post information as it comes our way:

FSEAP – Correspondence for March 19, 2020

Despite the restrictions placed upon all of us right now we do hope members are finding creative ways to enjoy some time at home with their families and we will continue to provide daily updates through our Website, Facebook and/or Email this week.

Stay Safe, and Stay Healthy…..

In Solidarity,

CUPE 411 Executive