COVID-19 Member Update for May 4, 2020

Good Evening Members,

Last week the government provided the K-12 sector with an update regarding expectations moving forward, and while they have not directed that Districts maintain employment and compensation continuity, it is your Union’s opinion that there is ample work to keep everyone employed whether it be from home or at the worksite until at least the end of June for our 10-month members.  We suspect the 12-month members will simply carry on as per usual and perhaps even be able to take some much deserved vacation time during the summer months which is often not possible due to work load issues.

Employers were encouraged to consider the following key factors in their decision making:

  1. Protect public services by maximising the productive use of workers and resources. Where possible, maintain business continuity in anticipation of the resumption of safe operations when the Provincial Health Officer’s guidelines allow.
  2. Operate within existing short and long-term financial parameters in partnership and consultation with funding ministries.
  3. Ensure workplaces are compliant with the Provincial Health Officer’s guidance and WorkSafeBC requirements so that employees can safely be at their place of work and support a resumption of normal operations.
  4. Work with unions, bargaining agents, and other employers to identify opportunities including job sharing, and redeployment opportunities. Encourage underutilized employees to access leave provisions and/or federal income support initiatives.
  5. If business continuity cannot be maintained and reduced staffing levels are temporarily required, consider staffing plans that allow a for a continued relationship with employees and a resumption of safe operations when the Provincial Health Officer’s guidelines allow.
  6. Ensure a ‘no surprises’ approach to staffing level changes by coordinating staffing plans with your employers’ association, funding/line Ministry, and the PSEC Secretariat.

As school spaces slowly start to open up to students it is imperative that you, our members, feel safe and supported in returning to the worksites and we would ask that if you have questions or concerns do not hesitate to reach out to us for answers.

For those members that have been re-deployed into other divisions, we are confident that this process will be carried out in a thoughtful and respectful manner.  We recognize that the work you are being asked to perform may be far removed from what you were hired to do, but please keep in mind that this is only for the next 8 weeks, and it was important to your Union Executive that you were not laid off but able to continue working and receiving benefits without any loss to your seniority or pension.

Lastly, for those members that absolutely cannot return to the workplace, are unable to work from home and are concerned what your options might be we would ask that you please reach out to one of your Union Executive for some guidance and support.  We want to make sure you know exactly what your rights and entitlements are before you make any decisions.

In Solidarity,

CUPE 411 Executive