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CUPE 905

NEWSLETTER March,7,2018

Meet your CUPE 905


Meet your CUPE 905 Communications Committee


To grieve or not to grieve: Exercising your collective rights Pages


Time To Care About our Long-Term Care Crisis Pages


We are pleased to Announce the availability of over 280 Prepaid Online Training Courses for You our Members and your Friends and Families


Come out to the next CUPE 905 LGBTQ Movie Night


CUPE 905 General Meeting Schedule


International Women’s Day March

Rayanne Lees Robert Sudak has been a CUPE 905 member since 2007 - when he joined York Region as a summer student - and recently became a steward, helping members since early 2017. Having an educational background in journalism and communications, he joined the Communication Committee late last year. Rob is passionate in the idea that a betterinformed membership invokes a greater sense of unity and solidarity. This is the driving factor for him to be an active writer for CUPE 905 and encourages all members who have a passion in the labour movement to contribute their skills where they can.

Robert Sudak Robert Sudak has been a CUPE 905 member since 2007 - when he joined York Region as a summer student - and recently became a steward, helping members since early 2017. Having an educational background in journalism and communications, he joined the Communication Committee late last year. Rob is passionate in the idea that a betterinformed membership invokes a greater sense of unity and solidarity. This is the driving factor for him to be an active writer for CUPE 905 and encourages all members who have a passion in the labour movement to contribute their skills where they can

Hamid Osman Hamid Osman is our Unions Full-Time Communications Officer. Prior to joining CUPE 905 Hamid was an activist in the Student Movement, where he was elected to serve as President at his local student union and being elected to the National Executive of the Canadian Federation of Students. In his role as the Communications Officer Hamid aims to highlight the great work our grassroots activists, meanwhile using our strength in numbers as leverage to gain community and political support on our issues. Outside of CUPE 905 Hamid loves to watch soccer, play with his two young children, and spend hours reading Buzzfeed articles.

Paul Beal

To grieve or not to grieve:


By: Robert Sudak Date: February 20, 2018

CUPE 905 is comprised of over 5,000 members working in the Municipal, Library, Social Service, Paramedic and Long-Term Care Sectors. Having such a large membership it should be no surprise that disagreements erupt within the workplace between union members and the employer. An ideal outcome to such disagreements is a peaceful and quick resolution sought by both parties, but this scenario is not always the case.

from being blown up into major problems’.”

In a union environment, if a member believes their employer has violated the collective agreement in ways that harm them specifically, they can file a grievance. CUPE defines a grievance as a complaint about something the employer did or did not do. This can be:

CUPE 905 does not grieve all complaints, nor does it encourage members to immediately venture down this avenue should they feel the employer may have violated the collective agreement. However, filing a grievance in not an uncommon practice in York Region. In CUPE 905 YRU/LTC units, on average, a grievance is filed once every three days.


A violation of the collective agreement


A violation of federal employment related laws


When the employer changes the way they apply collective agreement language



The grievance procedure places limitations on the employer’s ability to act arbitrarily and, to some degree, brings the rule of law to the workplace. For many non-unionized workers in Canada, there may not be a grievance procedure in place for them to take advantage of, making their rights more fragile as their employer is able to act more arbitrarily. “Filing a grievance is about exercising your hard-gained rights as a worker,” said Katherine Grzejszczak, Chief Steward of CUPE 905 YRU/LTC units since 2012. “Your right to participate in legal union activities is covered by the Ontario Labour Relations Act (OLRA) and is in your collective agreement.” Under the OLRA, when a union and employer have agreed to a collective agreement, the union gives up its right to strike and the employer to lock out its workers. However, the act entitles workers to a formal dispute resolution to have their complaints addressed, i.e. the grievance procedure. In Sean C. Doyle’s article titled The Grievance Procedure: The Heart of the Collective Agreement, he said, “[…] the grievance process serves to ‘channel conflict into an institutional mechanism for peaceful resolution, thus preventing minor misunderstandings

In a worker-employer relationship, the employer holds the power. For CUPE 905 members this statement holds true, however, the collective agreement ensures this relationship is not weighted too heavily on either side. Should a disagreement occur, the grievance procedure provides an avenue for the member and the employer to sit as equals to resolve the workplace issue.

“[CUPE 905] filed many, many, many grievances over the years. We wouldn’t want to get into filing grievances that are frivolous because… you’ll effect your credibility as a union if you’re going to grieve every single thing,” said Nikki Sheppard, Vice President of CUPE 905. “We grieve what needs to be grieved, but we don’t file frivolous grievances.” A good first step for any union member to consider before filing a grievance is to speak with their steward. CUPE 905 requires all stewards to complete an introduction course that goes over the basics of stewarding, how to file a grievance, note taking, etc. Additionally, CUPE 905 offers a twelve course learning series for stewards, so they are better equipped, educated and trained to help union members in any given situation. “Give [your steward] all the information relevant to the problem at hand, even if it doesn’t support your case. Stewards need the entire picture to give you an accurate assessment of the issue and possible resolution,” said Grzejszczak. Remember, you are not alone! Stewards are your advocates that are ready to help at a moment’s notice. Should you feel uncomfortable or worried about addressing a particular workplace situation, it is always a good idea to go over the details with your steward. What is said between yourself and a steward is confidential and it is your choice to move

forward with a grievance. If further fact checking is needed, your steward can tactfully investigate your concern without getting you further involved. “It’s important for us as Stewards to build trust within our membership, so they come to us [with their concerns],” said Sheppard. “Sometimes [a member’s concern] might be something that I recommend they don’t grieve because I know it was done fairly, even if they might not be happy.” Sheppard also commented there have been instances where pursuing a particular grievance might have had unfavourable consequences to the greater membership. In those cases, she recommended not moving forward with a grievance. We need to remember the employer may not be aware of all problems occurring in the workplace. The grievance procedure thereby serves as a medium for the communication of information to the employer, giving them the opportunity to diagnose the problems and take corrective action. Also, it is important the employer is given the opportunity to rectify the issue before the grievance procedure begins. The procedure can be expensive and disruptive since work is disturbed when the griever and employers are taken off their regular duties to participate. “Let the employer know first!” said Sheppard. “We have to give them a chance to fix it before we go ahead and grieve it. […] You’ll speak to […] who ever made the decision, give them a heads up that we perceive this to be a violation of the collective agreement, here’s why, here’s what we want done.” If a workplace concern that is in violation of the collective agreement cannot be resolved using this method, then it is time to file a grievance. By this point, the worker would have given the details of the concern to their steward and they would have determined the type of grievance to be filed. There are three types of grievances that may be filed: 1)

Individual grievances: The union files a grievance on behalf of an individual employee


Group grievances: The union files a grievance on behalf of a group of members affected in the same way and at the same time by an action the employer has taken


Policy/Union grievance: The union files a grievance because the employer did or did not do something that could have an impact on all workers covered by the collective agreement

Once the type of grievance is selected, the griever may work through a four-step procedure dependent on the outcome of the final decision made at a particular step. At STEP 1 the griever and their steward speak with the direct supervisor to rectify the concern. If a decision cannot be agreed upon, STEP 2 is pursued, whereby a grievance is filed to the department head or designate. Again, if a decision cannot be agreed upon, STEP 3 is pursued, whereby a grievance is filed to the Chief Administrative Officer or designate. If a decision cannot be agreed upon at this stage, STEP 4 is pursued, whereby the grievance is referred to arbitration. Arbitration is the final step to resolve a grievance. Both the employer and union select a neutral third party (i.e. arbitrator) they trust to make a final determination of how the collective agreement should be interpreted and how the dispute should be resolved. The final decision made by the arbitrator will be legally binding, even if it isn’t in the griever or employer’s favour. Filing a grievance for the first time may be scary, considering the stigmas attached to the procedure. However, your right to participate in legal union activities are covered in the OLRA and in the collective agreement. “The employer does, from my experience, respect people who stand up for their rights. The employer makes mistakes. Sometimes it’s a lower level manager or supervisor, or new manager that makes a decision and that decision may have been made in error,” explained Sheppard. “But you standing up for your rights lets the employer know that: a) we’re not weak; and b) we’re not just going to let people get away with things. What’s right is right. And the employer respects that.” We as CUPE 905 members have an obligation to stand up for our rights, involve our union representatives when we feel our collective agreement has been violated, and exercise our right to grieve. We should not be afraid to question the actions of our employer nor be fearful of reprisal for doing so. The grievance procedure and collective agreement bring the rule of law to the workplace, thereby placing the worker and employer on an even playing field. If you ever feel you are being treated unfairly or that the collective agreement has been violated by your employer, please contact your steward immediately. Change starts with you, so remember: Be bold, be brave, demand better!

Provincial Parliament would hear them through the 100-year-old brickwork and vote on brining Bill 33 to its 3rd Reading, so it can become law before the provincial election. For decades Ontarians have been lobbying the provincial government to enact a minimum standard of care for Ontario’s nursing home residents. Currently, a long-term care resident receives 2.04 hours of care per day, well below the minimum staffing standard of 4.1 hours recommended by geriatric experts. “We have never been this close friends,” proclaimed Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario, as he stood on stage outside of the legislator doors, looking proud of all what has been accomplished so far by the labour movement. “In our union, members in long-term care facilities have been campaigning for more than a decade to get seniors the care they deserve… Every politician in that chamber voted in favour of Bill 33 and by God every politician in that chamber better work to make it law in Ontario!” Bill 33, the Time to Care Act, would mandate a minimum average of 4-hours of nursing care and personal support per resident per day. The bill has passed 1st and 2nd Reading in Ontario’s Legislature, however, it requires a 3rd Reading and pass to become law. Ontario long-term care facilities are in a crisis. These facilities are run at extremely high levels of occupancy, whilst being short-staffed virtually all times. What is even more troubling is due to the under-staffing of personal support workers, many of the 78,000 Ontarians in long-term care do not receive the adequate care they need to live happy and healthy lives.

TIME TO CARE ABOUT OUR LONG-TERM CARE CRISIS By Robert Sudak Date: February 27, 2018

As members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario met at Toronto’s Queens Park on February 27, so did hundreds of Ontario union members in support of Bill 33, an act to establish a minimum standard of daily care for long-term care residents. Union advocates from across Ontario gathered in solidarity at the Legislative building, brandishing their local’s flags, and chanting “TIME TO CARE!” in hopes that Members of

“Anyone at any time can be effected by what happens in long-term care. We all have grandparents, parents, someone that we know that may suffer from dementia […] that encounters an adverse event which sends them to a long-term care facility. We all need to be aware of what’s happening and how care is being provided,” said Cindy Martin, ViceChair for CUPE 905 Long-Term Care unit and registered practical nurse with York Region for 37 years. With the passing of Bill 33, the plethora of issues effecting residents in long-term care facilities will be nothing more than a distant memory. These facilities will have the correct number of staff to provide the care residents deserve, personal support workers and nurses will no longer experience exhaustion from working long strenuous hours, and noticeably decrease the incidences of resident-on-resident violence. Long-term care residents need your help to have Bill 33 passed. To show your support, please visit select the Campaigns tab and click ‘Time to Care – Support Bill 33’. A prepopulated letter has been written that is ready to be sent to your local MPP. Just fill in the blanks and click send!

CUPE Local 905 in Conjunction with Union Savings and Vubiz are pleased to Announce the availability of over 280 Prepaid Online Training Courses for You our Members and your Friends and Families

We are pleased to announce that we have prepaid for courses covering subjects from WHMIS 2015 to Back Safety to Basic Finance to Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010. A number of these courses are authored in French. The courses will be available to you and your friends and families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can take and retake any or all the courses. Be sure to take advantage of as many as possible. A list of courses is attached. We are certain that you and all your friends and family members will find many courses that will address both your needs and interests. To start your learning experience, go to: and follow the instruction on the page. We hope that you enjoy the training and make the most of it. We are proud to be able to make this opportunity available to you, our members and your friends and families. 905-967-0823

CUPE 905 Newsletter  
CUPE 905 Newsletter