september member's voice 2011

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September Member's Voice 2011

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  • By Paul Faoro, President

    On August 22nd Canada lost someone very special. I know when we heard the news that Jack Layton passed away it set us all back and I think the country stopped for a moment. I am sure our thoughts collectively channeled to Jacks family especially towards his wife MP Olivia Chow, and his son and daughter.

    Over the years I had the privilege and honour to meet Jack and at times had the opportunity to chat with him. He always seemed to have time for a conversation which always amazed me knowing his busy schedule. I will never forget the passion and energy he had for making our country better for everyone.

    As public sector workers we need to say thank you to Jack for the continually strong stance he took on strengthening public services from coast to coast and keeping them public.

    In one of his many speeches he said, Building this country means building stronger communities. Increasingly, its our cities that attract investment, jobs and immigration. Its

    about world-class infrastructure roadways, harbours, transit, recreation, energy systems.

    Jack was a great person and leader. He was a great Canadian. He truly will be missed.

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

    Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to:CUPE Local 15545 W. 10th Ave.Vancouver, BCV5Z 1K9

    General Membership MeetingSEPTEMBER

    Date & Time: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 5:30 pmLocation: Italian Cultural Centre

    3075 Slocan St. Vancouver, Room 5Under Discussion: BargainingupdatesfromVancouverSchoolBoard,

    Vancouver Art Gallery, Emily Carr University & City et al BCTFJobAction ExecutiveBoardBy-election-MemberatLargeHealthSector

    (HSPBA)

    General Meetings provide all members with an opportunity to participate in decisions that affect the union.

    (Childcare assistance and Interpretation available upon request.) 2011

    The MembersvoiceSEPTEMBER

    2011

    Thankyou,Jack.Building this country

    means building stronger communities.

    Increasingly, its our cities that attract

    investment, jobs and immigration. Its

    about world-class infrastructure

    roadways, harbours, transit, recreation,

    energy systems.

    -Jack Layton1950-2011

  • The MembersvoiceSEPTEMBER

    2011

    2

    WWW.CUPE15.ORG CUPE Local 15, Vancouver Municipal Education and Community Workers

    I hope you and your family had a good summer. It is certainly a summer that I will remember with the unprecedented victory of voting out the HST and of course the sad news of the passing of Jack Layton. I was able to take some time off to enjoy our wonderful city.

    Things didnt slow down much in our union world over the summer months. In July we were able to finalize a new collective agreement for members at Langara College. While we were completely jammed from the get go by BC Liberal Governments net zero mandate we were able to make some key

    improvements. Thanks to Kathie Currie from our staff and to Bob Loitz, Zeljka Loncaric, Brian McGibney, Reba Noel, Chrissy Poulos, Ken Schmunk, and Jim Wong for putting in a lot of work and long hours serving on our bargaining committee.

    In late August we also concluded a new contract for members working for the Students Unions of Vancouver Community College. Good work, again, to Kathie Currie who led our negotiations and Tiffany Kalanj for dialing in an agreement with significant benefit and wage improvements.

    Now with September upon us our Vancouver School Board bargaining committee will be back at the bargaining table in a few weeks and our City et al and Vancouver Art Gallery committees will be finishing up on their preparations. While we thought we had a deal with Emily Carr University in July it unfortunately went sideways due to interference by the Post Secondary Employers Association who, without a doubt, were carrying out their marching orders from the provincial government. As a result our union had no choice but to file for mediation at the Labour Relations Board. If PSEA and the government dont meddle we should hopefully have an agreement by the end of the month.

    Over the coming weeks we will monitor closely the contract negotiations with teachers especially since they have commenced phase one of their job action. Teachers are now not performing administrative tasks such as filling out forms, collecting data, meeting with principals, supervising on playgrounds, or writing report cards. Once again we have to remember that it is the BC Liberal Government who has set the negative tone for all public sector negotiations in British Columbia.

    CUPE 15 has a very good working relationship with the teacher unions in Vancouver and we are going to do everything we can to support them in their efforts. We know if we reach the same point our union will have the full support of the teachers. At the end of the day teachers and all public sector workers deserve fair and respectful contract settlements. Ones that are negotiated at the bargaining table without government interference.

    One other serious issue we are concerned with is the poor financial state of the Museum of Vancouver. For the second year in a row our members have been effectively given no choice but to reduce their weekly hours by a full work day. A significant contributing factor is the excessive amount of senior administrators. The proportion of managers to unionized staff at this facility is completely out of whack. This must be rectified if this organization ever wants to become financially stable.

    With the November municipal election only a few weeks away, we will put a lot of energy towards re-electing a COPE/Vision School Board, Park Board and City Council. We cannot allow the right wing NPA to creep back into power. CUPE members working for the City of Toronto are now facing mass layoffs since right wing anti-union Rob Ford was elected. About 17,000 city employees have already been offered substandard buyout packages. CUPE 15 members should have a look at the CUPE Local 79 website at cupelocal79.org to see what Mayor Ford is up too. You should also know that Suzanne Antons NPA party has hired the election campaign company that helped carry Rob Ford to victory.

    Oh ya, on the same union busting theme, the NPA just named Peter Armstrong as their chairman. Mr. Armstrong is the chief executive officer of Armstrong Group that runs the Rocky Mountaineer train. On June 22nd his company locked out their unionized employees and brought scabs in to keep their trains running.

    Followmeontwitter@paulfaoro

    AFallpreviewofthingstocomeby Paul Faoro, President

    Update from your Executive

    by Leanne Toderian, Secretary Treasurer

    As summer draws to a close we can look back over a busy few months since the June Members Voice. While a large portion of members are on summer break, or perhaps taking time off with their families, work still continues around the local.

    Shortly before the summer break members at Langara ratified an agreement. This came after protracted negotiations which were complicated by an Employer Association and Provincial Government net zero mandate. More on that later... Emily Carr bargaining took and unfortunate turn

    after it seemed than an agreement was reached. Complications arose suffice it to say not on our side. There will be an update on that situation posted on CUPE Local 15 website. A disappointing setback, but staff and the bargaining committee are committed to seeing it through.

    The K-12 Sector (Vancouver School Board members) took a break over the summer and

    bargaining will resume in coming weeks. Adding to the mix is the 72 hours strike notice issued by teachers (BCTF) over the Labour Day weekend. This has caused some confusion for our members as the school administrators have been taking advantage of school to school practices and the lack of clear language around duties performed in schools. Members are being asked to do work at some schools, which is otherwise done by teachers. We are anxious to find a resolve to this challenge and continue to support the teachers in their struggle to bargain with their employer representatives and ultimately the Liberal Government.

    Also entering into bargaining are the three Museums: Vancouver Maritime Museum, H. R. McMillan Space Centre, and the Museum of Vancouver. While these contracts are smaller in scope they face serious challenges as do other cultural sectors, such as the Vancouver Art Gallery which is also bargaining. Traditionally underfunded and relying upon donations, strong administration of these types of organizations are critical to their survival. The union continues to look at ways to support the members in these sectors as they enter bargaining.

    To keep things exciting, the largest sector entering bargaining is the City et al (City, Parks, Britannia, and Ray-Cam). The bargaining committee has been working over the summer summarizing bargaining surveys completed by members and preparing bargaining proposals. Look for a ratification meeting notice elsewhere in this issue.

    Back to the net zero mandate There has been much written about the Liberal Governments wage freeze which they have imposed on all provincial government employees, of whom we represent via School, Health, and College boards. Members have faced zero wage increases before the bargaining has even commenced. This certainly hog ties the committee from achieving any improvements which have a dollar value attached. Bargaining? To put it in perspective the Liberal Government voted to give MLAs a 29% increase. Spread over four years, this amounts to 7.25% per year, all front loaded, while every other public sector worker is expected to live with net zero. In rec