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The Members’

The newsletter of CUPE Local 15, Vancouver Municipal Education and Community Workers

Boycott Rocky Mountaineer Railtours by Paul Faoro, President

Since June 22, 2011 the unionized employees who work at the Rocky Mountaineer Railtours have been locked out by their employer. To make matters worse, Rocky Mountaineer Railtours have hired replacements workers, otherwise known as scabs, to perform the work of the locked out unionized workers. In fact, Rocky Mountaineer hired the scabs and put them on a train disguised as passengers then ordered the regular unionized workers off the train.

has been following this dispute and several members have been down to the picket line to support the locked out workers. We have passed a motion to boycott this company until this labour dispute is resolved, including reaching a fair and respectful collective agreement with the union.

The unionized workers at Rocky Mountaineer are represented by the Teamsters who have been trying to negotiate a new agreement, but this anti-union employer appears not to be interested other than in trying to break the union. The issues at the bargaining table are simple. The union is asking for overtime beginning after 11 hours of work, which seems reasonable to me knowing that shifts were often up to 16 hours or longer. As well, the union is looking for modest improvements to health and welfare benefits and wage increases.

On behalf of our Executive Board I strongly urge you not to book any rail tours with this company and would further ask that you inform others about this nasty labour dispute.

It is shameful the way Rocky Mountaineer is treating their employees. The workers who are locked out have helped make this company as popular as it is with tourists. The CUPE Local 15 Executive Board


General Membership Meeting

Date & Time: Location: Under Discussion:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 5:30 pm Italian Cultural Centre 3075 Slocan St. Vancouver, Room 4 • • •

2012 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: CUPE Local 15 545 W. 10th Ave. Vancouver, BC V5Z 1K9

Guest Speaker, Sharon Gregson, Coaltion of Child Care Advocates of BC Bargaining updates from Emily Carr University, Vancouver School Board, City et al, Vancouver Art Gallery and Vancouver Coastal Health Executive Board by-election - Member at Large Health Sector (HSPBA)

General Meetings provide all members with an opportunity to participate in decisions that affect the union. (Child care assistance and Interpretation available upon request.)




The Members’

Update from your Executive

Let the bargaining begin.....


by Paul Faoro, President


ast month in my President’s Message I said “bargaining” should be the word to describe 2012 given our union will be negotiating seventeen new collective agreements this year for our membership. In a few days we will be starting one of the first sets as CUPE 15 and the City of Vancouver will be commencing negotiations for renewed collective agreements with the City of Vancouver, Parks Board, RayCam and Britannia contract groups. Over 2400 members Paul Faoro, President are covered by one of these agreements. Over the past several weeks we had discussions with senior representatives from the City on how best to conduct negotiations in a productive and effective manner for both parties. We have

agreed to an intense weekly meeting schedule that will run over 5 weeks. I am pleased that we will be negotiating directly with representatives from the City of Vancouver completely free from any interference from the outdated and regressive Metro Vancouver Labour Bureau. Our bargaining team has spent the last several months preparing for these important negotiations and is ready to put forward proposals that will improve the working conditions for our members as well provide solutions to help strengthen public services and programs in Vancouver. We are starting negotiations with the City of Vancouver just as they have been named a top BC employer for 2012 for the fourth consecutive year in an annual competition run by Mediacorp Canada Inc. In a City press release on the award Mayor Gregor Robertson said “the City is very fortunate to have such a dedicated and talented workforce serving our citizens and businesses of Vancouver every day”. We will be reminding the City representatives of this every chance we get at the bargaining table.

Collective bargaining lies at the very heart of what unions do. It’s not easy at any time. Going into bargaining with the City’s preliminary operating budget showing a $52 million shortfall makes our job even tougher. But as I said previously we have solutions to improve our collective agreements and to assist the City with their budget situation. They certainly won’t include cutting programs and services like a few self serving business groups will be calling for. CUPE 15 will use every resource we have to protect and strengthen the excellent public services and programming that is an integral part of making Vancouver one of the best cities in the world to live and work. This will be done at the bargaining table and at the City’s budget meetings. CUPE members living in Vancouver should complete the City’s budget survey at It’s your chance to say no to cuts.

Follow me on twitter @paulfaoro

CUPE National Convention highlights


would like to acknowledge that February is Black History Month before I move on to an overdue recap of the CUPE National Convention which was held the first week of November at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Black History Month will be covered more in depth in this month’s Stewards’ mailing which will have already been delivered to worksites all over the local by the time you read this. Leanne Toderian Secretary Treasurer Summarizing one

week of Convention is somewhat of a daunting task. Convention and the working groups are in full swing for the entire week, including evenings and lunch hour sessions. As with all conventions, delegates from across the country debate and discuss issues from their workplaces, sectors, and communities. Perhaps the best document that captures the essence of the work conducted at convention is the CUPE Strategic Directions 2011-2013 document. In this document, referred to as the “Blueprint for the Future”, it talks about the primary objective: “to develop our internal strength with a sensible, smart strategy for making gains in bargaining, for participating effectively in the public debate on services that CUPE members provide, and for making our communities better places to live”. The opening paragraphs speak of the assault on the public sector and the working class. “Those who promote austerity programs place the responsibility for deficits on the backs of workers rather than on capitalist financiers who

were responsible for market failures. A variety of economic and social policies are being wielded by the corporate and governing class as weapons against workers’ solidarity.” “Governments are painting public sector workers as part of the privileged class and are moving to strip these so-called privileges from us.” It goes on to address strategic priorities:

Strategic Priority 1a: Reaching CUPE Members “Strengthening CUPE locals and all aspects of CUPE’s structure are essential if we are to meet the challenges that face us in the next two years and the ability to reach our members directly is critical to the success. A National union has the responsibility to accept a major leadership role in the struggles of their members and must have the tools required to ensure that this leadership and strategic guidance can be delivered to the benefit of the members.” It goes on to lay out strategies, such as communications courses, social networking and skills development to assist locals across the country in this effort to better communicate with our members and communities our members work and live in.

Strategic Priority 1b: Strengthening the Labour Movement: Speaks to building a broad social movement with shared values. “This means the labour movement and social justice organizations are to maintain and increase influence in the implementation of progressive reforms and in advocating for rights in the workplace and in communities.” This goal


includes something referred to in this document as organizing “wall-to-wall” and “following our work” after it is contracted out or privatized are important principles in our plan. We will join forces with the “House of Labour”; respond to changing demographics; organize low income and marginalized workers such as personal support workers and child care workers.

Strategic Priority 2: Reaching out to the Community “By virtue of the public services we provide we already have a strong bond with the communities within which we work and live.” CUPE National and BC have a strong commitment to getting involved in and promoting communities around the country. This priority speaks of how we can individually and as a local get involved in the wide variety of community associations, not for profit groups and federations which share our goals for a more inclusive, healthy and productive society. CUPE will assist in developing a database of organizations in community associations and coalitions. Not to be forgotten are the political parties that support public sector work and workers, locally, provincially and federally. “Political action remains an important aspect of our work in communities. Our work paid off at the federal level with the election of 103 NDP members to the House of Commons. The focus will continue in 2012-2013 on electoral politics and will increase our lobbying efforts and actions on issues of concern to CUPE and our communities.” The document in whole can be obtained on the CUPE National website at If you have any questions or are interested in some of the goals set out in the document, please contact myself of our President Paul Faoro at the union office.

CUPE Local 15, Vancouver Municipal Education and Community Workers



Letters, Notices, & Updates

Winter School I would like to thank the CUPE 15 Membership and Executive Board for providing me the opportunity to attend the 2012 Canadian Labour Congress Winter School. The course I took taught me real strategies and concrete approaches for working with workers with disabilities and workers who are returning to work after an illness or injury. The instructors, Al Bieksa and Mona Sykes, were incredibly knowledgeable and empowering. We looked at Human Rights and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as case law pertaining to ill workers and the Duty to Accommodate and how best to work with employers and workers who are going through the return to work process. The instructors really impressed upon me that a disability can only be defined as an individual’s lack of ability to participate. We, as union members and activists can work to help identify barriers to participation and help find creative solutions to them. By breaking down barriers through exercising duty to accommodate rights, we can really help our members live, earn, and participate fully. Al and Mona helped me to understand that the employer’s duty to accommodate is not over until the worker is working in the job they were prior to injury or illness. “Light Duties” is not an acceptable solution to accommodation. Disability is also a dynamic state and the duty to accommodate is in turn dynamic. We need to keep working with people to make sure their needs are being met. The instructors also impressed upon me that, when choosing which accommodations to use, they should always be chosen because they most respect the dignity of the worker, most meet the worker’s needs, best promote integration and participation, and best ensure the worker’s confidentiality. Not, as your employer might think, because they are the most inexpensive or the easiest. All workers deserve a workplace that is safe, meaningful, and free from discrimination and harassment. It is through education, advocacy, communication and participation that we can get there. Thank you CUPE 15 for making this learning opportunity possible for me. Yours truly, Emma Somers Emily Carr University Shop Steward CUPE 15 College Sector Representative

Notice of By-election Member at Large – Health Sector (HSPBA) There is a vacancy for a Member at Large - HSPBA for the balance of a two year term ending on April 25, 2012. Only members from the HSPBA Sector are eligible to vote.


The Members’

CUPE 15 Green Onion Party

Have you had enough of winter? Got Cabin Fever? Are you looking to start your St. Patrick’s celebration early? Are you ready to kick up your heels and have a good time? Then come out to the party! In keeping with tradition CUPE 15 will be hosting a “Green Onion” party for all members. Please join us at the address and time below.

• Fairview Pub, 898 West Broadway, Vancouver • March 16, 2012, starting at 5:00 p.m. • Event is free. Light snacks will be served. • Featuring live music and a 50/50 draw.

notices The Members Decided

At the General Membership Meeting on January 25, 2012 the members in attendance made the following decisions: • To elect Brother Kenny Brett, VSB member, as trustee for the remainder of the term ending April 30, 2012. • To change the date of the 2012 Annual General Meeting from April 25th to April 30th to accommodate the CUPE BC Convention. • To elect 17 delegates to the 2012 CUPE BC Convention as follows: - Michele Alexander (City Sector) - Kenny Brett (K-12 Sector) - Barb Dickinson (Parks Sector) - Doug Elford (City Sector) - Randi Gurholt-Seary (Parks Sector) - Craig Hopkins (K-12 Sector) - Betty McGee (At Large) - Matthew Quiring (Cultural Sector) - Emma Somers (College and University Sector) - Santino Scardillo (At Large) - Pat Taylor (Health Sector) - Peggy Wong (At Large) • To actively pursue with the Vancouver Park Board to address auxiliary shift assignments based on seniority, skills, knowledge and ability to make a more fair and transparent process. • To donate $1,000 to the U.S. Steelworkers Burn Fund to assist families of our brothers and sisters in Burns Lake, BC who were employed at Babine Forest Products. • To approve up to $1,000 for an onion party (union social). • To endorse the Community Plan for a Public System of Integrated Early Care and Learning which was created by the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC and the Early Childhood Educators of BC.


The Executive Decided

At the Executive and Society meetings on February 1, 2012 the following decisions were made: • To recommend to the members at the Vancouver School Board ratification of the tentative agreements. • To hold the Green Onion social at the Fairview Pub on March 16, 2012. • To host the 2012 Children’s Christmas Party on December 8, 2012 and to investigate Van Dusen Gardens as a possible venue. • To bring in Sister Emma Somers from February 6th – 24th to assist Brother Graeme Moore as he takes on the City portfolio. • To request that our members boycott the Rocky Mountaineer and to write a letter to the owner/operator. • To approve appropriate book off to facilitate Executive elections in April. • To bring the tie vote for the CUPE BC convention alternate delegate status to the February 2012 General Membership Meeting for another vote. • To recruit new stewards to attend the upcoming CUPE Metro Stewards’ Conference. • To host the 2012 Stewards’ Appreciation Dinner at the Italian Cultural Centre on September 20, 2012. • To hold November 2-4, 2012 as the dates for the 2012 Activists’ Weekend at Harrison Hot Springs. • To purchase a quarter page vertical ad in the Doxa Documentary Film Festival Program. • To donate $350 to the Queen Alexandra fundraising event sponsored by the Vancouver and District Labour Council on March 23, 2012. • To purchase a table of eight for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives fundraising event on March 26, 2012. • To donate $750 to the International Women’s Day Dinner at the WISH Drop In Centre and to ask for matching funds from CUPE BC.

CUPE Local 15, Vancouver Municipal Education and Community Workers





The Members’

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: Website: 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: Miriam Pulsifer 2nd Vice President: Sally Bankiner Secretary Treasurer: Leanne Toderian

Sector Representatives:

City: Santino Scardillo, Diane Brown College/University: Reba Noel, Emma Somers

Education Corner

by Michele Alexander on behalf of the Education Committee

Black History Month is celebrated in February in many countries around the world including Canada. It is an opportunity to share the history, contributions, and culture of Black Canadians. There are many event scheduled in the Metro Vancouver area. For more information check out, under WHAT’S NEW.

New Online Survey for VSB Members - Modified Local School Calendar by Paul Faoro, President

The Vancouver School Board has been meeting with CUPE 15 and other stakeholder groups to determine options for the local school calendar for the 2012-2013 school year. Since 2010 the VSB has been using a modified local school calendar which increases the length of the school day and has 10 district closure days. This was implemented on a year by year basis as a cost saving measure due to chronic underfunding by the Provincial Government. The modified school calendar saves the VSB approximately $1 million annually. These savings are a result of the reduction of hours for employees and teachers on call due to reduced school days. In addition savings are obtained from heating and related facility costs. For the upcoming school year the VSB has estimated a $14 million shortfall.

Here are courses being offered this month and upcoming months from CUPE BC:

• Introduction to Stewarding: February 10-12, 2012 (CUPE Local 402 - Surrey) • Facing Management: March 9-10, 2012 (CUPE Local 402 - Surrey) • Financial Officers: April 13-14, 2012 (Metro/ Vancouver) • Discipline and Discharge: May 17, 2012 (CUPE Local 15 Office - Vancouver) • Conflict Resolution: June 21-22, 2012 (CUPE Local 15 Office - Vancouver)

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. - Nelson Mandela

In order to evaluate the modified local school calendar currently in place at the VSB we have created a new 2012 online survey for CUPE 15 members working at the Vancouver School Board to complete. Members’ individual survey responses will be treated as confidential. The CUPE 15 survey is in addition to the one you may receive from the VSB. We encourage members to complete both surveys. A link to the survey is available on the CUPE 15 website at under “News”. The survey will close on March 2nd. CUPE 15 will use the information from the online survey for our ongoing discussions with the VSB on this issue. The VSB will issue a report with recommendations for the 2012-2013 local school calendar in early spring for consideration by the Vancouver Board of Trustees. Updates on this issue will be posted on the CUPE website and presented at a membership meeting.

Health/HSSCBA: Patricia Taylor

Community Plan for a Public System of Early Care and Learning

Health/HSPBA: Vacant

Submitted by Randi Gurholt-Seary, Britannia

Parks: Barb Dickinson, Anne-Marie McGee

What would it mean to your family if quality child care was available for $10 a day? What about free child care for families who earn less than $40,000 a year? What if Early Childhood Educators earned an average of $25 an hour?

Cultural: Matthew Quiring

K-12: Peggy Wong, Warren Williams


Michele Alexander, Kenny Brett, Karla Mairena

Staff Representatives:

Kathie Currie, John Geppert, Keith Graham, Graeme Moore

Office & Administrative Staff:

Mark Gloumeau, Accounting Coordinator Rosemary Matheson, Office Manager Barbara Simpson, Office Assistant Nadia Thibault, Office Assistant

Building Maintenance: Jeff Zaharia

CUPE National Representatives: Justin Schmid, Tina Meadows, Matt Yun Designed by

Child care services make it possible for parents to participate in the paid workforce while their children grow and thrive. But for many parents child care is still unaffordable and unavailable. Fees are too high and spaces are too few. The Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC and the Early Childhood Educators of BC have developed a Community Plan for a Public System of Integrated Early Care and Learning to positively effect change for children, families, caregivers and communities across the province. The Plan builds on research that demonstrates public spending on the early years is a wise social and economic investment and that quality child care IS early learning.



This “made-in BC” plan incorporates the best of child care and the best of public education. It addresses the urgent need to provide children and families with quality, affordable early care and learning services – a key missing piece of BC’s family policy.

Highlights of the Plan include:

• $10 a day child care, $7 for part-time, free child care for families earning less than $40,000 a year • New legislation - A BC Early Care and Learning Act • A new home for child care in the Ministry of Education • A new role for Boards of Education • The development of Early Years Centre Networks • Enhancing kindergarten and grade one • Strengthening school age care and family child care • Developing the Early Childhood Educators’ workforce We invite you to join the growing enthusiasm for the plan spreading across the province. Visit for more information and to endorse the plan.

CUPE Local 15, Vancouver Municipal Education and Community Workers

February Member's Voice  

February Member's Voice

February Member's Voice  

February Member's Voice