The Members’ The newsletter of CUPE Local 15, Vancouver Municipal Education and Community Workers
Community Health Tentative Deal – CUPE 15 Members vote 96.5% NO! by Paul Faoro, President In last month’s Members’ Voice I reported that the Community Health Bargaining Association (CBA) and the Health Employers’ Association of BC (HEABC) reached a
tentative agreement in late December for a renewed collective agreement. While our union is a part of the multi-union CBA along with several other unions including the Hospital Employees’ Union, Health Sciences’ Association, United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union Local 1518, and the B.C. Government Employees’ and Service Union, the BCGEU is the lead union as they represent the largest group of workers – nearly 8000. The negotiations that led to this tentative deal came on somewhat unexpectedly as there appeared to be a desire by the
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BCGEU and several other unions to get a deal completed by the end of 2009. After several days of bargaining, including a 36 hour marathon, a deal was reached. However, our CUPE representatives at the table could not support it and strongly voted against it due to several conditions that were agreed to that can only be described as take aways or concessions. Upon a comprehensive review of the tentative deal by our Executive Board we fully agreed with our bargaining committee representatives, and subsequently recommended to our members that they reject the deal. Well, reject the deal they did by a 96.5% margin! Our members were critical of the proposed changes to the Long Term Disability Plan and other changes to the current benefits plan. In addition, members felt a general wage increase should be part of the deal. CUPE members in Locals 4816 (Fraser Health)
and CUPE 3495 (BC Persons with Aids Society) also voted overwhelmingly against the deal. All of the other unions in the CBA are currently voting on the agreement and time will tell if it will be approved. I am still not clear what the rush was to get a two year deal that has no general wage increase, no new money for benefits, and no major improvements in employee rights. An overview of the agreement is available on the CUPE 15 website. In my mind, a bad deal is always waiting for you at the bargaining table so there shouldn’t be a panic to get it. There could be another agenda at play by some other unions in the CBA, and it may become evident in the coming months. I hope there isn’t one as the 14,000 members in the CBA deserve an agreement that is fair, respectful and values the important work delivered in every community across British Columbia.
General Membership Meeting
Date & Time: Location: Under Discussion:
Wednesday, February 24, 5:30 p.m.
Meetings provide all members with an opportunity to participate in decisions that affect the union. (Childcare assistance and Interpretation available upon request.)
Polish Hall, 4015 Fraser St. (at 24th) • Layoffs from COV 2010 Operating Budget • VSB 2010 Budget Shortfall • By-election for 1st Vice President & College Sector Representative • Election of delegates for the CUPE BC convention
Update from your Executive
Vancouver Sun Gets It Wrong President’s Message by Paul Faoro
I usually do not react to the editorial pages of the Vancouver Sun but when they printed an editorial recently titled “City council holds the line on spending, but labour costs loom” I had to respond. The Vancouver Sun decided to weigh in on the City of Vancouver’s 2010 operating budget by praising Vancouver City Council for cutting $28 million and holding property taxes at a minimal 2.26%. It is unfortunate the editors at the Sun chose to be silent on the effect the cuts will have on service and programs to Vancouver Paul Faoro, President residents and the forty-four City employees who are facing layoff. All that was printed was the comment “The city’s budget review has shown that many programs are redundant, wasteful and have outlived their usefulness.” I feel like inviting these same editors to visit community centres across the city after the fallout of cutting ten Recreation Programmers is felt by the daily users of our
recreation system. The same goes to other valuable services that are being eliminated on the City side. The Sun also suggested “we need to break the mindset that increasing budgets and rising taxes are the norm. In order to do that, council will have to finally come to grips with its largest expense -- labour” and went on to say “sooner or later, council will have to play hardball with its unions if it wants to maintain and improve city services.” I’m not sure who the Sun editors actually think delivers the services to Vancouverites, with high public approval rating according to the City’s own surveys, I might add, but it’s not the Olympic mascots who I cannot name. I haven’t read the City’s glossy and expensive 141 page Olympic Protocol Manual, which I am sure covers important facts. I do agree with the Sun on their point that “the City of Vancouver spends nearly $1 billion a year; somebody should be reviewing the books on behalf of taxpayers” as our union has been calling for this for years. I could go on but you can get a better understanding of how I felt after reading this one-sided editorial by reading my response which I submitted to the newspaper. Read the next two columns for the full letter.
Re: “City Council holds the line on spending, but labour costs loom” - Budgeting 101 The Editorial Page, Vancouver Sun, January 14, 2010 I just want to say first that while I appreciate the Sun’s recent editorial on the recent cuts and wage increases, I respectfully must say that it’s a little light on context. Let’s be fair about our comparisons. When you talk about labour as the biggest cost in the city’s budget, that’s true, but no surprise when we go to our libraries, community centres, get safety inspections, even dial 9-1-1, and that is true of any large employer. We need those people to run the services of the city. It takes workers and workers need wages that are fair and negotiated in fairness. This labour cost you speak of covers managers too, who are exempt from the collective agreement, and who currently total just under 800 positions. That’s a ratio of 1 manager to every 9 employees, and it used to be 1 manager to 14 employees in 1999. Now, this sounds like the start of a bad joke, but how many managers does it take to run a city? Four more than you’d think, if you take a look at the current job postings. There you’ll find 4 open management positions totalling over $429,000 not including benefits. And we hear the City needs to tighten belts? Huh. In 2007, we were put through the gears with Sam’s Strike. After 3 long months, we finally got a collective agreement. Management
got something too. They got wage increases, like us. Unlike us, they got an additional 3% market adjustment increase for “attraction and retention”. That means a bonus went in every manager’s pocket, above and beyond any pay increases and any revenue neutral adjustments. Just as the City has rightly taken a hard look at its expenditures, I respectfully submit that it has not taken a hard look at its own management costs. It has gone to the “low-hanging fruit” for cost cutting. Workers are easy pickings and they are expected to take the brunt of the cuts. For what seems like too long now, we’ve been calling for an audit of management. To date, we haven’t seen a report. It’s not acceptable that the front-line workers of this city constantly bear the burden of budget cuts, while higher paid management increases, be it through wages or ratios. We have to do more with less, the public expects decent services, we want to deliver those services, but our members are stretched to the limits. It’s time you asked the City to stop blaming the workers for the budget woes and ask what their managers can do to contribute to efficiency and delivery of programs and services. Respectfully submitted, Paul Faoro, President, CUPE Local 15 To read the full article from the Vancouver Sun, search for: City Council holds the line on spending, but labour costs loom
Thanks for the past few months, it’s been great! Secretary Treasurer’s Message by Betty McGee, Secretary Treasurer There is considerable Local 15 news to report but unfortunately not much good news. Municipal budget shortfalls and budget decisions made by the provincial Betty McGee, government Secretary Treasurer will have a negative impact in many areas of public sector service. Failure to properly fund health care and school boards will see substantive cuts in service and will have a negative impact on the public as well as our members. The recent notification that our members in the City and Parks sectors received has shaken for many of us our faith in the system, and in those making the decisions on how this city will conduct business. Our members in the Community Health Sector voted overwhelmingly to reject an offer that saw no new money on the table during this round of bargaining. Our Health Science members in the Health Science Professional Bargaining Sector are preparing to go into bargaining and will face many of the same issues as their brothers and sisters in the Community Health Sector. Our members working at the Vancouver Art Gallery who successfully negotiated a new collective agreement last year have seen hours of work cuts of approximately 20% across the board. The Vancouver School Board is facing a 17-32 million dollar shortfall in this year’s operating budget,
based on the provincial government’s continued refusal to properly fund a public education system that is a fundamental right of every child. Without additional funding the Vancouver School Board will be forced to cut programs and services that will undermine the ability of some students to be successful and will certainly impact our members. The City of Vancouver Councilors and Park Board Commissioners have made and apparently will continue to make, decisions that will result in loss of employment for our members, loss of services for the taxpayers, but increased wages for employees who have been or will be exempted. With the financial constraints that the Employer continues to state exist, it is impossible to accept the rationale put forward to support these decisions. The Park Board decision to approve cuts has resulted in ten programmers from various community centres being served notice that their positions may be eliminated. Many of us believe that the Employer is using our members as pawns in a game designed to force the Community Association Boards to take on the responsibility for funding these positions. The actual agenda of the Park Board will no doubt be made clear at some point in the near future but what is clear, at this time, is that the remaining community centre staff will be facing an uphill struggle to attempt to fulfill the Park Board mandate which is to “provide, preserve, and advocate for parks and recreation services to benefit people, communities and the environment”.
The Education Committee continues to schedule courses of value to stewards specifically and to the general membership. The last issue of the Members’ Voice detailed courses available during the spring, and we have had an overwhelming
response to the retirement courses scheduled for February and March – both courses are now full and we are accepting applications for the May course. If you are interested in this course please contact the Union office as soon as possible as the next course will not be held until the fall. We have had a similar response to the basic stewarding course scheduled for March 18 and 19 so again if you are interested please be in touch soon. The committee is awaiting responses from members sent registration forms for the Activists Training Weekend, and I want to remind folks that the deadline for returning forms is February 11, 2010.
CUPE B.C. Convention Election
We have received our delegate notification from CUPE B.C. with respect to the CUPE B.C. Convention which will be held in Vancouver April 21 to 24. Local 15 is entitled to seat 22 delegates at convention and elections for those positions will be conducted at the February general meeting.
On a personal note I am pleased to announce that I was the successful candidate in the recent byelection for the position of Secretary Treasurer. This by-election was for the remainder of the two year term recently vacated by Sister Greenwell-Baker. I would like to send a very sincere thank you to all those who took time out of their busy schedules to come out and support me. I would also like to say that no matter how members voted on the issue of the Secretary Treasurer position I was delighted to see so many members engaged in the election process for this very important position in our local. Three new members were initiated at this meeting and I am hoping that in the coming months we will continue to see an increased attendance at our general meetings.
Letters, Notices, & Updates
Bursary Thanks Please accept my thanks for selecting me as the recipient of the CUPE 15 full time studies bursary for 2009-2010. Your generosity will help me to continue my education at Langara College for the Recreation Diploma Program. Not only does this bursary help me finance my education, but I also feel honoured to be recognized. Receiving this bursary will enable me to focus more on my studies and be one step closer to achieving my goal of becoming a recreation programmer. Thank you again and your support is greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Ellen Dacamara, Parks I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for choosing me as this year’s recipient of the CUPE 15 bursary. My parents have been members of CUPE 15 for a combined 58 years with the Vancouver School Board. This award will go a long way to alleviate some of the financial burden on my parents for my schooling costs. For that, I am truly grateful. This generous bursary will be used to help me pursue my career in Criminology and I intend to use this money to the fullest and do my best to excel in my chosen courses. Again, thank you for this opportunity. Sincerely, Olivia von Siemens I am writing to acknowledge with thanks your recent cheque to provide externally administered award funding to the student specified in your correspondence. Your generous support of the students at UBC is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your investment in higher education at UBC. Yours sincerely, Heather McCaw, Executive Director – Fundraising, UBC Thank you for your contribution in pursuit of higher education at Simon Fraser University. We appreciate your support and assure you that gifts like yours make a significant difference at SFU. On behalf of Simon Fraser University, again, thank you for your generosity. Yours sincerely, Erin Geary Director, Advancement Services & Donor Relations, SFU
Vancouver School Board Job Share Opportunity – September, 2010 To all non-permanent SSA’s – if you are interested in a job share arrangement for the upcoming school year please contact Jennifer Campbell at 604-874-7834 for details.
Remembering Brother Ken Skinner
Ken worked in the Sewers Branch at Manitoba Works Yard for many years. He was the long time driver of truck #1365. Ken was born on October 13, 1940 and died suddenly at home on December 10, 2009 after an ongoing heart ailment for 15 years. He was on a waiting list to receive a cardio defibrillator. If you knew Brother Ken Skinner, his wife Bonnie and her family would like you to put an entry in the on-line guest book at www.remembering.ca. There is no charge and this is available for one year. You may also remember Bonnie. She worked at the City Analysts Lab and then at the City Hall Rotunda prior to her retirement.
Donation Thanks I write to thank you for your kind donation to the Power Workers’ Union members who were recently on strike at Erie Thames Power. I am pleased to report that after 18 weeks on the picket lines, a good agreement was achieved and the strike was settled. Your support through this long and difficult struggle is very much appreciated by our entire membership and particularly by the strikers who suffered the emotional and financial hardships.
Notice of By-Elections College Sector Representative Election for this position will take place at the General Membership Meeting on February 24, 2010. Only members from the College Sector can vote for the College Sector Representative position. 1st Vice President Election for this position will take place at the General Membership Meeting on February 24, 2010. All members are eligible to vote for the 1st Vice President position.
The Executive Decided
by Betty McGee, A/Secretary Treasurer To Amend: • 1.4.3 by adding Dependent Care to title and (1) by adding up to 13 years of age (2) add dependent care, (2b) by deleting, (4) by adding “Reimbursement will be provided for child and dependent care costs incurred outside the normal work day to a maximum of four hours and on a non working day to a maximum of eight hours at a rate of up to $15.00 per hour” and (5) delete and replace with “All other requests for funding shall be dealt with on a case by case basis”.
In solidarity, Don MacKinnon, President
• Amend 1.4.9 change deaf and hard of hearing to “hearing impaired”.
On behalf of the Evelyne Saller Centre and its volunteers, I would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for your generous donation of $200 to our Christmas Hamper Program. Every year during the Christmas season we put together food hampers for our volunteers in recognition of the time they commit to helping out at the Centre and in the community.
• Amend 3.2.5 (1) by deleting (2) by adding the president to end of sentence and (3) by deleting and renumber accordingly.
Our volunteers, who live in the Downtown Eastside, have very few resources and your donation helped the Centre to provide 22 substantial food hampers. From all the volunteers and staff at the Evelyne Saller Centre, thank you again for your support. It certainly made a difference. All the best in the New Year. In solidarity, Jacques Massé, Acting Asst. Mgr, Evelyne Saller Centre
Call for Volunteers If you are interested in volunteering to assist the Returning Officer with the 2010 Executive elections please call Betty McGee, Secretary Treasurer at the union office. The Advance Poll is on Thursday, April 22, 2010 from 10:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. at the Polish Hall. The Annual General Meeting is on April 28, 2010, also at the Polish Hall. CUPE BC Convention.
• Amend 7.9.1 Petty Cash by amending 7.9.1 (2) change cheque to fund balance and $150.00 to $300.00 and amend (4) by adding “there will be a $50.00 cap on disbursements” and renumber accordingly. • Amend 1.6.4 by replacing current language with “the Executive Board may authorize an expenditure of up to $200.00 to purchase a gift for a CUPE Local 15 activist who is leaving the jurisdiction of CUPE Local 15. To be eligible the activist must have been a CUPE Local 15 member who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of the Union”.
The Members Decided The title “Delegates to Convention, Councils” as per Section 27 of the Bylaws be amended to read “Delegates to Conventions, Councils, and Conferences”. Section 27.3 be changed from $50.00 to $74.00
Events & Credits
The Members’ Voice is published nine times a year for members of CUPE Local 15 - Vancouver Municipal, Education and Community Workers. The Deadline for submissions is 9:00 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. All submissions may be edited for brevity and clarity. Signed articles and letters do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of CUPE Local 15.
CUPE Local 15
545 West 10th Avenue Vancouver, BC V5Z 1K9 Phone: 604-879-4671 Fax: 604-879-7582 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.cupe15.org Local 15 is a chartered affiliate of the Canadian Union of Public Employees and is also affiliated with the CUPE British Columbia Division, CUPE Metro District Council and the Vancouver & District Labour Council. CUPE 15 is a member of the Canadian Association of Labour Media (CALM).
CUPE Local 15 Executive Board Table Officers:
President: Paul Faoro 1st Vice President: vacant 2nd Vice President: Leanne Toderian Secretary Treasurer: Betty McGee
City: Sally Bankiner, Diane Brown
VSB Bargaining Priorities Survey Now Live
Get Union smart!
by Paul Faoro, President
Submitted by Michele Alexander, Education Committee Member
I would like to encourage all CUPE 15 members employed at the Vancouver School Board to take five minutes to complete the Bargaining Priorities Survey now on line at www.cupe15.org. It is important for your Bargaining Committee to hear from you on issues that you feel should be a priority in the upcoming round of negotiations with the VSB. Whether it is job security, excess workload, or benefit improvements, your input is needed.
Union education is a valuable service provided to our members and we encourage active participation. We welcome your feedback, ideas regarding courses and any questions you may have. Upcoming soon will be another Basic Stewarding and Advanced Stewarding courses. If anyone is interested in becoming a shop steward, contact the Union office. Upcoming courses which are still available to register for:
With the looming $30 million budget shortfall there is no question that this round of negotiations is going to difficult. However, I believe your Bargaining Committee is ready for the challenge.
• Basic Effective Stewarding, March 18th & 19th • Duty to Accommodate, March 23rd & 24th • Advanced Effective Stewarding, March 29th & 30th • Retirement Planning, May 13th to 15th
As well, knowing that over 24,000 CUPE K-12 members across the province have come together under a Presidents’ Council model has collectively made us stronger. Once negotiations commence bargaining updates will be posted on our website. I look forward to working with your Bargaining Committee to bring you the best possible agreement. Here they are: Kenny Brett - Carleton SSA, Craig Hopkins Gladstone Secondary SSA (Chair), Miriam Pulsifer - Waverly YFW SSB, Warren Williams - Britannia Secondary FNSW (Vice Chair), Paul Hayes Britannia/Templeton Secondary CIA, Carley Romas - Franklin SSA (Committee Coordinator and Alternate), Tina Meadows - National Representative
The members of the Education Committee are: Sally Bankiner (Chair), Santino Scardillo (Co-chair), Barb Dickinson, Anne-Marie McGee, Diane Brown, Michele Alexander and Betty McGee.
College/University: Emma Somers , & 1 vacant Cultural: Matthew Quiring Health/HSSCBA: Patricia Taylor Health/HSPBA: Caroline Mewis
Parks: Anne-Marie McGee, Barb Dickinson K-12: Kenny Brett, Miriam Pulsifer
Freezing Fees Protecting Community Investment. Rebuilding Trust. Hassle-Free Lending.
Joey Lau, Donald Rounding, Arthur Lum
Steve Baker, John Geppert, Keith Graham, Graeme Moore
Office & Administrative Staff:
Mark Gloumeau, Accounting Coordinator Maureen Dorratt, Office Assistant Rosemary Matheson, Office Manager Barbara Simpson, Office Assistant
Building Maintenance: Jeff Zaharia
CUPE National Representatives: Justin Schmid, Tina Meadows, Matt Yun
3 Allen Garr #
The Action Team is a progressive coalition that has provided the Vancity Board for over 25 years of exceptional leadership for social change, in our community and for the environment.
How to vote for ACT!ON By Mail – Vancity members will get a ballot in the mail. Vote for the three Action Team candidates. You can find them on the ballot in the following order: Garr #3, Weiler #7, Tremain #10 In Person – Vote at any Vancity Branch between March 19-27, 2010 For more information visit: www.voteaction.ca
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