All the info and zoom links are in the email.
Good Evening Members,
On the evening of Tuesday, April 13, 2021 our Employer, School District No.33 (Chilliwack) presented their 2021-2022 Budget at the “Public” Board of Trustees meeting. For those of you that were not able to attend this on-line presentation the details can be found on the District’s website. CUPE Local 411 is facing $384,070 in cuts to support staff jobs at the Secondary level, and it is worth noting that our Employer has now put the staffing decisions on the shoulders of the various School Principal’s.
It is important to know that there has only been a 12% increase in permanent CUPE members since 2015, while in some of the departments at the District office there been an 80% increase in excluded staffing positions. The Union finds it quite shameful that this Employer is cutting services at the direct point of contact to students, while refusing to trim the fat in their own departments; all while shifting the blame to staffing cuts to the administrative team at the sites. It was also noted that absenteeism is costing the District upwards of six million dollars annually, but instead of addressing what the Union believes to be one of the contributing factors to this (i.e., Violence in the Workplace), we see very little effort being made to deal with this systemic issue.
As a result of this latest announcement your Union is advising members right now to stop performing work outside the scope of your job descriptions and to stop performing any unpaid work unless you are being directed by your immediate supervisor to do either. If you are being directed to perform work outside your job description or without pay you need to contact a Shop Steward immediately so that the Union can file a grievance against this Employer.
Please keep in mind that the Employer or their representatives are not permitted to threaten, coerce, or intimidate members into doing work for free, hazardous work, or work that is not within the scope of their job description. Nor are they permitted to continue to increase workloads, decrease staffing, and then bring in volunteers. This type of practice is considered to be contracting out which is not permitted under our collective agreement. If you feel you are being singled out because you are standing up for your rights, please keep track of specific details such as who said what, where and when, or if you feel you are being targeted (i.e., arbitrary changes to your work assignment, being directed to work without a Staff Safety Plan in place, etc.) then we want to hear about it. The Union will not tolerate our members being bullied into submission or deliberately put in harms way; we are quite prepared to start filing grievances where appropriate.
For the last two years your Union has attempted to build and grow respectful working relationships with our Employer and their representatives, and while there are some members of the Employers team that see the value in this, it has become evident that others do not, and they would prefer to take an adversarial approach in working with the Union. While the Union finds this most unfortunate, we have no choice but to proceed in a manner that supports our members rights and entitlements as we are not prepared to give up or ignore what those before us fought so hard to achieve.
You Union has created a “Feedback” section on the home page of our website, and we would encourage members to access this and assists us in identifying where these problem areas are so that we can formally address them. Members are also reminded to check their personal emails on a weekly basis as we have been sending out sensitive correspondence using this medium.
Members with immediate concerns or pressing questions can contact the Union Office via phone at 604-392-1411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CUPE 411 Executive
There was new language added and existing language changed in Article 14 – Leave of Absence.
For members that are attending an out-of-town memorial service Article 14.4 Mourners Leave now allows you to take an additional 1/2 day (unpaid) for travel.
For members looking to take a General Leave, we encourage you to review all the changes/additions in item 14.10 (a), (b), and (c) as there was some significant amendments to this language. One of the additions provides members with the option to apply for up to two (2) unpaid Discretionary Days per calendar year without having to disclose details of why they are making the request; unless it is due to an emergency.
All of the above leaves still require approval, come at a cost to the member and there may be criteria that must be met in order to be eligible so please review the details of the language to be clear on the expectations.
Lastly, Article 14.11 Domestic or Sexual Violence is brand new language that is reflective of the BC Employment Standards Act, and any other applicable legislation. We would encourage members to reach out to an Elected Union Representative first for advice on how to go about making application for this type of leave to ensure that your right to privacy is being respected.
Good Evening Members,
The CUPE K-12 Committee is looking for feedback from members across the province with regards to the work they do in their specific School District.
These on-line meetings are starting tomorrow night and are open for any CUPE member to attend, but you must register.
Please use the link below to view the meeting dates/times as well as the group composition (i.e. Bussing, Trades, EA;s, etc..).
This is your opportunity share your priorities about your work and public education. Decisions that affect our workplaces should always take into consideration the workers perspective as we are the ones on the front-line and experience first hand the good, the bad and the ugly of public education. As Union advocates we believe that your voice matters, and we encourage members to take the time to be heard so that any changes that might be coming will be advantageous to everyone in K-12 and not just a select few.
NOTE: As a result of these on-line meetings, we will be delaying our Bargaining Committee Elections by at least a week so we can reschedule any conflicts with the above meetings. Another email will go out to the members as soon as we have confirmed the dates for each division meeting.
CUPE 411 Executive
There were a couple of pieces of language that directly affected members working in both the Facilities (Custodial and Maintenance) and Transportation Departments (Bus Drivers).
Your Union is very pleased to now have Apprenticeship language as outlined in Article 1.8 with a clear definition, and then Appendix A.3 under item number 6 which references Apprenticeship Rates and timelines. We hope to see our Employer put to use this new language by way of taking on some of this Districts very own students who are looking at pursuing a career in the trades.
Also in Appendix A.3 Differentials and Supervision Pay, we were able to move away from set dollar amounts to percentages that are calculated from set rates of pay, thereby ensuring all those members performing such duties will continue to receive increases as wages increase. There was also changes made to 1.(c) pertaining to the operation of equipment.
Lastly, a small change was made to Article 9.5 Bus Drivers under item (f)(i) that took effect July 1, 2020 for drivers that are transporting passengers on Saturdays and Sundays for extra curricular trips. This now means members will receive consistent compensation for the entire shift.
In an attempt to keep members informed on Provincial discussions that may affect your current position here is an update on the Standardization of Credentials for Education Assistants:
- CUPE National – EA Credentials Position Paper – Revised March 24, 2021
- K-12 Bulletin No.60 – March 30, 2021
As well for those members who may not have read, or were unaware of the work being done of the Funding Model for Inclusive Education this might be of interest:
What all of the above means in terms of Job Descriptions is still yet to be determined but there are currently ongoing discussion pertaining to the JE/JD process at both the government and local levels to standardize positions throughout K-12 in the province. We will be sure to update members as information regarding this process is made available to us.
A small change was made to Article 5.2(a) that increased the composition to the Union’s bargaining committee by two (2) to include both the Union President as well as the CUPE National Servicing Representative, at no cost to the Employer.
With the deadline of April 5, 2021 fast approaching for members to express an interest on sitting on the Unions 2022 Bargaining Team we wanted to take a moment to provide some information that may be of interest to members considering putting their names forward.
In recent years our local has tried to focus on three primary areas of concern:
- Job Security
- Working Conditions
Unfortunately we are no longer able to bargain wages/benefits at the local level and we are well aware this is the number one priority for the majority of our members, the best we can hope for is a strong team at the Provincial table that will be advocating for this. As such we need to turn our minds to enshrining strong language in our C.A. when it comes to our other two priorities. This is done by taking the time to find, or draft, language that would best serve, if not all, the majority of our members.
It is also important to keep in mind that almost everything we hope to gain by way of good language will have a cost associated with it, we need to be proactive in determining that cost for both new language, or existing language should we choose to use it as a bargaining chip.
There will be training opportunities provided to the bargaining team that will take place during working hours, but there will be an expectation for some work to be done outside of the workday. The team will also begin attending monthly coordinated bargaining meetings; this will give everyone a chance to meet and discuss issues with members from other K-12 locals in the valley; these are often held on Friday’s between 9:00am-2:00pm. While our team will endeavour to hold meetings leading up to bargaining during work hours, there may be some times where this is not possible in which case meetings after work, or on the weekends will need to happen on your own time.
The time spent at the bargaining table with the Employer will, for the most part, be held during working hours and upon the successful completion of bargaining the team will be disbanded.
We would ask any interested members to please advise via email at email@example.com on or before April 5, 2021. The Union will then proceed to set-up five separate Zoom Meetings, one for each division, where members will be able to vote for their chosen representative. The goal is to have the committee established by April 15, 2021.
If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact the Union President at 604-392-1411 (office) or 604-316-9923 (cell) for answers.
There have been several updates from both Government and Union bodies pertaining to COVID-19 in the past several days. Please see the various links to documents below should you wish to review the changes to existing protocols or the implementation of new ones.
- Provincial COVID-19 Health Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings – March 30 2021 – FINAL
- Addendum – Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools – March 30, 2021
- K-12 Bulletin No.59 – March 30, 2021
The Clerical Hours Fund is the final fund from the new Service Improvement language and was created in an effort to address clerical workloads at specific times of the year.
The committee decided to allocate these funds to support enrolling sites during September and June in the following ways:
- Sites that have one clerical that does not work seven (7) hours a day will have the opportunity to work a full seven (7) hours per day.
- Sites that have one clerical will have have the opportunity to have a casual clerical assigned to their site for seven (7) hours one day per week.
- Sites that have multiple clerical members, but where some of those members do not work a seven (7) hour day will have the opportunity to increase their time to seven (7) hours per day.
The time being used to top-up clerical hours is for permanent members, the additional time cannot be used to put members into a position of overtime, and the increase in time is optional; members should have made their intentions clear on the letter they received from the District in June of 2020.
Should clerical have any questions or concerns about this fund we would ask that you direct them to the Union office for immediate attention.
Furthermore, we are always looking for feedback from our members, especially when it comes to new language, such as we have here with Article 22. If you would like to share your opinions with us on any of these funds we would welcome them and ask that you contact the Union office by way of phone (604-392-1411) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The E.A. Hours Fund was also created as a result of the new Service Improvement Fund language. The committee was able to establish a number of uses for these funds for the 2020-2021 school year:
- Provide every permanent Education Assistant with an additional four (4) hours of time that they can use in the following ways:
- Attend Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings, and if unable to do so take the time to review the meeting minutes and address any questions/concerns with the appropriate staff.
- Participate in Staff Safety Plan discussions for either the creation or revision of such plans, also time to review existing plans as needed.
- Attend site based Team meetings.
2. Support school food programs and/or after-school clubs:
- An additional thirty (30) minutes per day is available to members who are needed for a new program or to enhance an existing one.
3. Supporting students on school buses:
- If the need arises where a student requires additional E.A. support while being transported on either a morning and/or afternoon school bus, arrangement will be made with the appropriate district staff to accommodate the student for a set period of time.
4. Provide casual coverage for permanent members to attend various meetings.
- For those sites that have site based meetings during a members regular shift, arrangements can be made to have a casual replacement on site so that members are able to participate in these meetings.
This fund was NOT created to cover the costs of any training that is a requirement by the District:
- First Aid
- Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (a.k.a. C.P.I.)
- Cultural Sensitivity and Diversity
- Respect in the Workplace
- New Joint Committee Health & Safety
If members are being directed to use their four (4) hours of designated time for any District required training, or are being directed to use their time in such a way that does not align with the four (4) points above we ask that you please contact the Union office immediately so that we can resolve any confusion.