Victoria Regional District and workers reach deal, agree to address precarious work

Members of CUPE 1978, representing municipal workers at the Capital Regional District, in Victoria, B.C., ratified a new collective agreement today.

“Our members have been working hard for months to reach a fair deal, and that hard work has resulted in key improvements for Capital Regional District workers,” said CUPE 1978 President Rick Illi.

The four-year agreement includes annual wage increases and a provision for the parties to address regularization of auxiliary staff, a key point of the negotiations given the Capital Regional District’s approximately 375 auxiliary staff.

“In addition to limited job security, auxiliary workers are denied many of the benefits provided to regular staff, which we think is unacceptable. This agreement provides an opportunity for us to seek a resolution to their precarity through the creation of new regular permanent and part-time positions,” said Illi.

The tentative agreement was reached on August 14, following two days of mediated talks.

CUPE 1978 represents approximately 1,200 members in the Greater Victoria region, including more than 750 members who work for the CRD and provide important community services for residents and businesses.

August 23, 2018

Link here

Water First donation put to good use!

As you may remember, this year our union donated $200 to the organization Water First.  Below is an article showing the great work that Water First does in the community.  For more information check out their website at http://waterfirst.ngo/

 

HANDS ON WATER SCIENCE DAYS 2018
Water quality testing workshopWater First visited Kikendaasogamig /Cape Croker Elementary School and the Chippewas of Nawash community for two days of Hands on Water Science Days in May, courtesy of NSERC Science Odyssey Days 2018.Students spent a fun, interactive first day with four in-class water science workshops learning about the effects of pollution in their watershed and examined freshwater insects under the microscope. Primary students were able to participate in a colourful, interactive storytelling workshop about water pollution and fish. We also flew a drone to survey the school area and neighbourhood to identify sources of pollution.Water quality testing in the environmentOn Day 2, students, teachers, workshop instructors and an indigenous local elder travelled by bus to Cape Croker Park in Sydney Bay for an exciting outdoor water science exploration, applying what they learned the previous day. After a short hike to a wetland area with water testing equipment, bug nets and identification cards, students took water samples to check water quality and searched for a variety of fresh water bugs and wildlife. The local elder shared traditional indigenous knowledge of the area, water and wildlife.

It was an exciting two days of interactive water sciences learning. The students, teachers, and administration of Kikendaasogamig School warmly and enthusiastically welcomed Water First staff, which made the event a memorable one.

Everyone at Cape Croker Elementary School

BCGEU reaches tentative agreement for public service workers

The B.C. Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU) announced today that it has reached a tentative agreement with the B.C. Public Service Agency (PSA) for members working in direct government service.

“It’s been an intensive round of negotiations, sometimes stretching into the early morning hours, but we’re pleased to have reached an agreement for our public service members,” said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith. “Our members have faced growing service, workload and recruitment and retention challenges. But we believe we’ve made substantial progress in a number of key areas.”

The union secured a three-year tentative agreement with general wage increases in each year of the agreement, as well as targeted increases for some classifications, to deal with recruitment and retention issues in the respective ministries.

The union will engage with its members and provide a comprehensive report on the agreement before a ratification vote in the coming weeks. The BCGEU represents more than 27,000 members who are covered by the public service agreement.

(June 13, 2018)

CRD’s unionized staff closer to strike after mediation fails

From Times Colonist article dated June 12, 2018:

The possibility of job action by the Capital Regional District’s 1,000 unionized employees has inched closer after an attempt at mediation last week failed.

Both sides are making application to the Greater Victoria Labour Relations Board to designate essential services — a requirement before any job action could be taken.

“We have to make sure there’s no risk to public safety and make sure essential services are maintained before we can take any job action or serve notice,” CUPE Local 1978 president Rick Illi said.

The designation doesn’t necessarily mean strike action is imminent, he added.

“Ideally, we want to try to have some more conversation with the employer. If that’s not forthcoming, then we have to look at what type of job action we would take.”

Kevin Murdoch, an Oak Bay councillor who serves as chair of Greater Victoria Labour Relations Association, which bargains on behalf of the CRD, said he also wants to see talks with the union continue.

“There’s always a possibility of more talks and that’s certainly our preference — to get back to either a mediated negotiation or negotiation to settle anything outstanding,” Murdoch said.

Union members voted 93 per cent in favour of strike action on May 31.

Illi says the main outstanding issue is the union demand for a “modest” increase in the 14 per cent hourly premium paid to casual and auxiliary workers in lieu of benefits.

“Auxiliary means they don’t have set schedules and are called in on an as-needed basis. They don’t get sick time. They don’t get vacation time and that sort of thing. What they receive instead is a percentage in lieu of benefits,” he said

Illi said more than half of CRD unionized workers are auxiliary.

Murdoch agreed the auxiliary benefit premium is the outstanding issue, but would not comment on specifics or dollar amount involved, noting the issue would have financial impacts beyond the CRD.

Established in 1976, the GVLRA bargains on behalf of several public-sector employers in the capital region, including the Victoria Police Department, the Greater Victoria Public Library, West Shore Parks and Recreation and several municipalities.

“Our mandate is to look at the overall cost impacts on all employers of any settlement. It changes the nature of the negotiations somewhat in that we’re not looking at just the specific costs to a single employer, but we’re looking at the aggregated costs to multiple employers,” Murdoch said.

“In this case, there’s substantive costs to a number of employers,” he said.

Illi said job action, if it occurred, would not necessarily start with a full-blown strike but could see something like an overtime ban.

“The far end of the spectrum is a full-scale strike where everything stops. But we don’t want to be inconvenient to the public unless we absolutely have to,” he said.

Before any strike action could be taken, essential service levels have to be negotiated and the union would have to serve 72-hour strike notice.

Library workers – natural champions of democracy!

Below is an article that contains an update from the CUPE BC library committee at BCLA, plus it mentions our very own Fatima Ferreira and Delia Felipescu!

“…this year the committee decided to focus their conference session around library workers as natural champions of democracy – exploring how library workers are inherent champions for democracy, equity, diversity, access to information and literacy.”

Read the article here!

Donations to CUPE locals on strike

As announce at the May 14th union meeting, the executive decided to sent $200 each to two locals who are on strike.  Below is a little bit of info on each local:

CUPE Local 3903

Three thousand members of CUPE Local 3903 at York University have been on strike for two months with no end in sight.

Following six months of bargaining, the employer has refused to remove concessions from its offer. The university administration also refused to address the key issues that have led to the strike: job security for contract faculty, the stability and predictability of funding for teaching and graduate assistants, the loss of more than 800 graduate assistant positions, and support for survivors of sexual violence. These contract and precarious members perform over 60% of the teaching occurring at York University.

 

CUPE Local 5317

Members of CUPE Local 5317 (Viterra – Port of Montréal), approximately 51 members in total, have been locked out by their employer for two months with no end in sight. These members are trying to achieve a first collective agreement, but the employer is closing the door on all the local’s issues.

These members are fighting to achieve equity regarding salaries and schedules with the other CUPE members at Port of Montréal.

All attempts to negotiate these issues have been dismissed by the employer.

VIDC & CUPE BC education opportunities

First of all, sorry for the very short notice.  Tonight at our general union meeting we voted to send up to 4 members total to two education opportunities as follows:

VIDC Leadership Conference June 6-9 in Nanaimo

CUPE BC school May 27-June 1 in Kamloops

If you would like to attend either of these education opportunities please send in your choice via contact form or reply to the email you received no later than 10pm Wednesday May 16th AFTER you have been approved for union leave by your supervisor.  The executive would like to give preference to young workers (under 30) and precarious women workers so please apply if that is you!

If you are selected to attend we will send you the appropriate forms and instructions on Thursday morning.

VIDC_2018_leadership_conference_package

CUPE BC – 2018_Spring_School_Brochure