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I would like to take a second to thank everyone that came out last month to run or vote. Congratulations to those that were successful in their election to their positions and I encourage anyone else that put their name forward and were unsuccessful this time, to keep active.
It has been a quiet month for new Grievances and the executive are working hard on the current grievances. Shop Stewards are an important step in helping solve problems. I would like to remind everyone that there is an electronic copy of the collective agreement on our website and it is a great idea to get familiar or re-familiarize yourself with it.
I would like to thank the executive for all their hard work this past year. A strong system always makes everyone look and feel stronger and more united.
May 9th is a very important day for all of us not only in the education sector, but all of us in the public sector. For us in the education sector we have seen extreme underfunding of the education system for the last 16 years. With the announcement of 168 new class spaces, 300 more teachers and approximately 30 new portables, does that not tell you something? If there is one thing you are going to do in May, I encourage you to get out and vote. Not just vote, but vote for a party that will not shun the education sector, the NDP. The NDP has already anchored their platform with many positives coming to the education sector. We also have a CA that is up in 2019 and which government would you like to see in power come 2019. Please get out to support, and I encourage you to vote NDP. Please get out and volunteer and if possible, take a vacation day on May 9th to help do what we can to get the NDP elected.
Finally, I would like to address unsafe work. It only takes a second for something to go terribly wrong. If you feel you are unsafe at work, please report it. If you are unable to address the situation on your own, please call your shop steward. Fill out incident reports whether it be a near miss or a real incident. This should always be done on work time. If you need time to fill out these reports, talk to your supervisor and get direction. If the direction is, there’s no time to fill the reports out, please call the union so we can address it. If the direction is there is no need to fill one out, call the union office. Every single one of us is a vital key in the day to day operation of the school district. Please, stay safe.
In Solidarity; Ryan Groundwater
1st VICE PRESIDENT
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire CUPE 728 for having me as Communications Officer for the past few years. I have absolutely enjoyed every minute of it and I want to thank you all for making our CUPE Endless Saving app, our union Facebook page, Twitter and our website so successful this past few years. I would also like to welcome Allan Henricks as our new Communications Officer.
For those executive members that are returning, I look forward to continuing to work with you in further strengthening our local. For those executive members who are not returning, I want to thank you all for your tireless work, dedication and devotion you have put into this local.
I am honored to now step into my new roll with the local as your 1st Vice President. I have been grateful to have had some wonderful mentors who have helped me out over the years and would like to express my gratitude towards and them and the local.
That being said we have a provincial election to look forward to. We were lucky to have all NDP candidates speak at our March GM and it was wonderful to hear that funding to education was a top priority. Thank you to everyone that came out and big thank you to the candidates.
It is imperative that you do not accept or perform work that is unsafe. You have the right and responsibility to speak up when you see or experience unsafe work and you cannot be reprimanded for speaking out. Here are the four basic steps of refusing work that appears unsafe:
In Solidarity; Marcey Campbell
2nd VICE PRESIDENT
Day of Mourning
Last Friday was Day of Mourning, a day where we honour the memories of those who have died due to work place incidents. It is also a day where we pledge our commitment to guarantee workers will make it home safely at the end of the day. I was at the ceremony in Victoria where I heard the tragic stories of workers who didn’t make it home safely. Their stories are tragic and unnecessary. If their employers cared more about safety, the sad incidents would have never happened.
Every year I give a Day of Mourning presentation to the Surrey School Board Trustees. It always falls on the same day as the Apprenticeship Scholarships are awarded. As I looked at all these young faces I couldn’t help but reflect on my apprenticeship.
Many times my employers jeopardized my safety. Unsafe ladders, working on my own, even working on dangerous live electricity. All just to save some tutor money. I cringe looking back, knowing many times I could have been crippled or killed by the reckless ways I was asked to work.
And what bothers me the most is that I could have stopped it. I should have stopped it. I needed to know my rights, know my rights to a safe workplace, known that I could have refused to do the unsafe acts I was asked to do. That’s why we need to be vigilant with our employers, make them accountable. We also need to educate ourselves and our co-workers. I am so glad that the BC Federation of Labour has programs like Alive after 5 for our young workers, and CUPE provides many safety courses.
I hope you all participate in these, and spread the word about safety. I know I never want to see any of our stories being one of those being tragically told on Day of Mourning.
In Solidarity; Randy Fennell
Fellow Caretakers, I have decided it’s time for change. I strongly feel that you could be better served by your Union.
To that end, our Constitution provides for Shop Stewards, something that has not been utilized to date. Having been your Chief Shop Steward for the last several years, it has become obvious that a single person can not provide the level of service, you as Caretakers both deserve, and require.
I have been waiting for an opportunity to take advantage of a provision in our Constitution that provides for Shops Stewards. I have scheduled a Special Caretaker Unit Meeting for Saturday, May 27 at 10 am at the Union Office. During this special meeting, we will have an election for these new stewards.
They will be on your front line, and will handle your day to day issues, as well as enforce the Collective Agreement. Additionally, they will engage you, and help to echo your issues, and concerns in a timely manner. They will meet with the Executive four times per year to report on your concerns. My position, will concentrate on the so called bigger picture. These are issues that in the past, have passed us by. I will be focusing on several issues that I feel directly affect us. These are both your Workload and Health and Safety, additionally I am also deeply concerned about volunteers doing our work. With the assistance of these newly elected stewards we intend to work towards ending these concerns and practices.
So, I’m guessing that most of you are curious as to how this new steward structure will look…well as with all changes, the fine details have yet to be worked out. However, the overall structure of these new stewards will try to reflect the zone based system currently in use. We are currently planning on six stewards, one assigned to cover each zone, with one to cover the spareboard. Additional details such as how to contact your steward? Who will be my steward? Are still being finalized at the time of this writing.
These six shop stewards will be responsible to you, the members. The stewards will report to me, and I will provide guidance should it be requested and as always, I will report to the President and Executive. Additionally, I will report back to you the Caretakers, on what’s been going on, at the General Membership meeting monthly.
I am also looking forward in hearing from those of you that are interested in becoming more involved in your Union.
It has now been several weeks since the Caretaker Survey was collected, they have now been forwarded to CUPE BC to compile. I would like to hear from you.
I’d like you to tell me about your Workload, I’d like you to write to me, tell me your stories. I want you to tell me what happened when you approached your Supervisor about your workload, what was their response? Did they listen to your concerns? Did anything change? Was your Supervisor sympathetic or dismissive? Please send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have not filled out a custodial survey, please come by the union office or contact your shop steward to pick one up.
In Solidarity: George Hardy
We will be hosting another EA Unit Meeting near the end of May. This meeting will be for all Elementary, Secondary and Spareboard EAs. Once the time/location is set we will announce this on our union Facebook page, website and Twitter. If you have a topic that you would like covered at the meeting please contact Marcey at email@example.com or Tammy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would like to remind all our members that meetings are to be done during your scheduled work hours. However, if a meeting is required to be outside of your work hours, “the employee shall be paid at the applicable rate for the actual hours worked” (Article 9.72 and Article 10 of the Collective Agreement).
In Solidarity: Marcey Campbell (temp Shop Steward)
RIGHT TO REFUSE
By now most, if not all of you have heard of your “Right to Refuse”. We’d like to take a couple of moments of your time to explain these rights.
You, as a Worker in this Province have the right to come to work and not be Spit-on, Hit, Scratched, Punched, Touched inappropriately, or subjected to Biting. You as a worker have a right to a workload that doesn’t place your body in harm. You as a worker have a right to a workplace that does not place you at risk of any violence. You as a worker, have a right not to be subjected to any of these risks.
So, what can you do as an individual? Get to know your “Four Basic Rights” and how to apply them. It’s all about Education!
Now that we have reviewed your Rights, let’s take a minute to discuss their application. First off, you or a fellow member is placed in a position that places either them or yourself to potential risk of injury.
Additionally, should you Refuse an Unsafe assignment, your supervisor, should they decide to assign another member to that assignment must inform that member of your refusal and why you refused, prior to them accepting the assignment!
Look let’s be honest, nothing discussed above is going to be easy, it will be stressful and a test of your resolve. We strongly recommend that you involve your Union Representative in your resolve as early as possible, as they will be able to provide both active support and guidance.
In Solidarity: George Hardy and Shannon Levinsky
THANK YOU NOTES
Below is a list of members who have sent in thank you cards this month after receiving flowers or retirement gifts from the membership.
Joan H. – get well Kelly S. – bereavement
Sarah B. – get well Rebecca K. – get well
Michal S. – get well Carolyn E. – get well
Breanne M. – bereavement Dianne M.– bereavement
Eva S. – retirement Rene M. – get well
Ronald D. – get well Wendy N. – get well
Gary K. – get well Michelle B. – get well
Dorothy W. – get well Kim – get well
Joan E. – get well Anjillo M. – get well
Aaron W. – get well
If one of your co-workers is away from work because they have lost a loved one, please contact the union office. We are only notified if a member is away sick from work.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Hi there everyone, I just thought I would review your rights to review unsafe procedures with you and how to report them. The right to refuse unsafe work is one of the three basic health and safety rights we have gained through the labour movement. We also have the right to know about hazards that may appear in the workplace. We also have the right to take part in the decisions involving Health and Safety decisions in the workplace.
There is a step by step procedure set out by WorkSafe BC we must follow:
Please know your rights remember we all have the right for a safe working environment and to know the procedures and hazards involved always.
In Solidarity; Allan Henricks
“The refusal of unsafe work is both a fundamental right and responsibility held by workers. A worker’s refusal of unsafe work is an integral element in ensuring work is carried out safely. Workers who reasonably believe work is unsafe must refuse to perform that work and are entitled to have their employer investigate and, where necessary, correct the hazard”.
– Taken from WCB Website
Learn to run with CUPE 728
Color Me Rad Team
Just a reminder to check our website for the free running clinic times. This beginners’ clinic is for ALL CUPE 728 members. You can show up to one run or all of them. We also have a CUPE 728 Color Me Rad team set up. For members that join our team and complete the 5-km fun run, you will have the opportunity to receive a rebate. See our website for more detail. The Color Me Rad run in on June 3, 2017 in Cloverdale.
In Solidarity; Marcey Campbell