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CUPE 4879 Newsletter January, February and March 2019 Edition

Meeting Highlights

So far, in 2019, we have had two General Membership Meetings.

At the January 9th meeting, the Trustees presented their findings from their 6 month audit. The Trustees usually provide an annual report, but we are in a transitional year so they reported to us early. The Trustees found that our finances are being managed responsibly by the Executive, per the motions made by our members. Recommendations previously made by the Trustees have been implemented and the audit process is efficient. Following the report by the Trustees we held elections. While some positions were acclaimed at the November meeting, the remaining nine positions on various committees were voted on and members elected to fill the vacancies. We thank everyone who put forward their names to serve on a committee. For the most up-to-date list of our committee members, please see our website: https://4879.cupe.ca/about-us/

The February 13th General Membership meeting was predominantly informational. We discussed holding a special meeting towards the end of February to review any resolutions that the membership would like to endorse or put forward at the CUPE BC Convention in May. A report of the grievances filed, settled, and outstanding from the beginning of 2017 to the present was given by Lois.

In addition to the General Membership Meetings, we also held a Special Meeting to ratify bargaining proposals on February 12th. This well-attended meeting began with a presentation of the proposals by the Negotiation Committee. The remainder of the time was open for any member to speak about any resolution(s) to our bargaining proposals. Thanks for everyone’s contributions, the proposals were ratified at this meeting. Participation of the membership in the bargaining process has been, and is still, invaluable.

General Membership Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of every month at 4:35pm. Members in Williams Lake can attend via video conference. Our next meeting will be held tomorrow, March 13, at 4:35pm in HOL269A. We’d love to see you there. And please bring a friend!

CUPE 4879 Ad Campaign.

Have you seen our members featured on the back of Bus and Billboards around Kamloops?

News release from CUPE BC:

KAMLOOPS – CUPE support workers at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) are featured on digital billboards on Highway 5 and on local buses this month as part of a campaign to raise public awareness about the varied services that students and the campus community rely on.

“CUPE 4879 is so proud of our members and the excellent services they provide,” said CUPE 4879 President Lois Rugg. “Our work is integral for post-secondary students to earn their certificates, diplomas, degrees, and apprenticeships – benefitting everyone in the community.”

CUPE 4879 represents 600 support staff at TRU in Kamloops and at the Williams Lake campus. These workers provide a wide variety of services including administration, bookstore staff, course editors, marketing and events, grounds, IT, library, student support, and utilities, to name a few.

The ads will be running February 4, 2019 to February 24, 2019 and May 6 to May 19, 2019.

Member Engagement: We Are Coming to Meet You!

In celebration of CUPE 4879's 10-year anniversary as our own local, representatives from our executive are visiting as many work sites as possible to meet our members. In March they visited approximately 1/3 of our members on the Kamloops campus, and expect to visit nearly everyone in the coming weeks.

We are celebrating not only the anniversary milestone but also the invaluable work we all do. Along with the visit, our executive are giving out special CUPE 4879 pins featuring our new branding colours.

"The focus is a celebration and chatting with members, but it is also a good opportunity to visit where our members work on campus."

Keep an eye out for our CUPE 4879 Executives around campus. They’d love to hear about the good work you do for TRU.

OL and PLAR Tuition Waivers Available

One common thread among CUPE 4879’s members is the value we place on education. Our work helps students achieve their educational goals, and many of our CUPE members are actively taking courses as well.

Tuition waiver has been a popular benefit for our members. It allows full-time CUPE employees and our dependents to enroll in certain undergraduate courses and have the tuition reimbursed. Recently this benefit was extended to include Open Learning courses and PLAR.

“Starting from January 2019, CUPE members can apply for tuition waiver for Open Learning courses and Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR).”

Open Learning offers over 500 courses, and many of them are taught online. Full-time CUPE members can study after work or on weekends, and they can learn from home or anywhere. This flexibility will help our members balance work and life demands while pursuing their educational goals. This pilot program offers tuition waiver for one OL course per employee, per calendar year, but unfortunately the program is not open to dependents at this time. For more information on how you can apply for tuition waiver—including eligibility details, timelines, application forms, and processes—please visit HR’s one.tru site.

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is a process that grants academic credits for skills and knowledge acquired through work or life experiences. Our work as CUPE members—including professional development workshops, courses, or private study—may contribute to a PLAR assessment. During this trial period, tuition waivers for PLAR will be available for up to 10 employees who are currently enrolled in an OL program.

If you have questions about these benefits, please talk with the CUPE office, view HR’s one.tru site, or email hrlearning@tru.ca.

CUPE Scholarships Awarded

Each year CUPE 4879 awards three $1,000 scholarships to our members or their family. Applicants must be enrolled in a full-time course load for academic or vocational studies, and the deadline for applications is December.

This year, the selection committee’s task was especially difficult because all of our applicants were such strong contenders. Congratulations to this years' winners: Paul Simmonds, Sherryl Bryant, and Mitchell Dixon.

Scholarship winner, Paul Simmonds, accepting his award from Cindy Ozouf, Education Committee Chair.

CUPE 4879 thanks our Education Committee members -- Cindy Ozouf (Chair), Cynthia Bosdet, and Rhea Clements -- for their work.

Job Evaluation Agreement

After many weeks of negotiations, we're happy to announce that CUPE 4879 and TRU came to an agreement on November 29, 2018 regarding the Job Evaluation (JE) points system. The employer agreed to change the JE points for each factor by 4% starting with degree 2.

All employees who have been evaluated on the current JE plan (January 2015 to November 29, 2018) will get an increase in points to some level. This will not mean that everyone will go up a pay band but some positions will as a result of the increases.

This summary explains how these changes will impact our members:

  • The number of employees who were red-circled will be reduced by approximately 1/3 (affecting 25 members in 17 jobs).
  • The number of green-circled employees (who move-up a payband) will more than double (increasing pay for an additional 44 members in 30 jobs).

Retroactive pay may be available for our members as a result of these changes. Contact the CUPE office for more details.

CUPE 4879 Members Fight Poverty at "Coldest Night of the Year" Event

CUPE 4879 talks the talk and walks the walk. On Feb 26th several CUPE 4879 members joined Team Kamloops and District Labour Council. Tony Kuzma, Karl Fultz, Lazlo Nemes and Lois Rugg joined approximately 123 walkers, 30 teams and more than 30 volunteers, braved the cold to raise almost $27, 000 dollars for Mustard Seed Kamloops (Kamloops Community Life Mission).

Although the Kamloops fundraiser unfortunately did not meet its goal, across Canada, more than $5 million dollars was raised in total to support outreach programs like the Mustard Seed Kamloops. This organization helps resolve the root causes of poverty by helping with food, clothing, housing, support, education and employment for those living in poverty. “It feels good to do a small part such as walking 2km or 5km to help raise awareness and support for the local homeless and those in need in our community”, says Lois Rugg. “Walking on a cold night with fellow community members makes you think about and feel deeply for those people who struggle and endure the cold during the winter season and reinforces how fortunate many of us are. It only seems right that we try to give back to those who are in need”. This is the 4th year that CUPE 4879 has participated in the walk and we hope that many more of our members will get out and join us next year.

For more information about the event, please visit the Coldest Night website: https://cnoy.org/location/kamloops. #CONY2019

Negotiations Commence for New Collective Agreement

CUPE 4879 Members have told us what they want and now the Bargaining committee will begin talks with TRU.

Our Collective Agreement will expire on March 31, 2019. To prepare for negotiations, our Bargaining Committee consulted our members. This began with a survey sent to members in the spring to identify the issues, needs, and members’ wants. The bargaining committee put out several calls for proposal submissions over a couple of months leading up to the proposal ratification meeting, which was held in February 2019.

“Over 179 members participated in the survey to identify our priorities.”

Our members responded in a big way, with over 179 members contributing! Members who attended the meeting were given an opportunity to add, delete, or amend proposals that were brought forward. The proposal package has now been ratified.

The Bargaining Committee is now tasked with bargaining the best agreement we can get for our members. Bargaining dates have been scheduled for March, 5, 6, 7, 13, and 14, 2019. More dates will be scheduled as needed.

Many thanks go to our Bargaining Committee for their hard work: Debbie Wasylyshyn (Chair), Lois Rugg, Karl Fultz, Debbie Blackwell, Melissa Schuurman, and Cindy Ozouf. Once the Bargaining Committee reaches a Memorandum of Agreement with the University, it will be brought back to the members for approval or rejection by the membership at a Ratification Meeting.

Cindy Ozouf's experience at this year’s Pacific Region Winter School (Canadian Labour Congress) February 4-8, 2019

Thank you so much for the opportunity to attend this weeklong workshop. I found it to be a valuable experience. Not only did I meet many wonderful people from across Canada, I also took away important tools that can be incorporated in our union. The course I participated in was Member Engagement – Member Action. The course covered engaging and connecting with members and what this means to our union. I learned that not only does engagement ensure all members feel included, it is also important that we know who are members are and what they are passionate about. The goal is to have more of our members feel a sense of community, one with similar values, while protecting their interest.

Winter School Participants

To engage members, I learned to GO, LISTEN, and BUILD.

GO – Start by going where our members are in order to reach out and connect with them. This can be on Facebook. other social media sites, and places of interest. Try to connect with members by listening to their concerns and addressing them. This can help us learn to connect union issues to member concerns because of shared values.

LISTEN – We don’t always listen well and I learned some tips for connecting with our members.

• Listen more to what they are telling you and not what you want to hear.

• Reflecting back on what you hear.

• Body Language and Eye contact to let them know you are listening.

BUILD – We build relationships by connecting with our members through shared values. It makes us feel that we belong and moves members into closer connection with their union. I learned that if we organize and educate together, then we could mobilize.

This week-long course was great learning opportunity. I look forward to the next course.

Our week wrapped up with the yearly tradition of Choir competition. Our group won first place!

Our Choir group. We won first place!

Credits:

Created with images by Aleksandr Kozlovskii - "White and green field in spring" • geralt - "handshake office business" • iQoncept - "Engage Involve Immerse Interact Thinker 3d Words" • dizain - "Negotiation word cloud, business concept" • JJAVA - "Thank You"

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