CUPE 391 Update – February 2, 2006

Criminal Record Checks

I sent an e-mail on January 28, 2007 regarding the Criminal Record Checks. The date to have these done is now the end of November instead of the end of April. The Union has not been able to convince Management allot work time for these checks rather than the member’s time. As we disagree with an enterprise which invades members’ privacy and basic human rights, the union finds it odd to then ask for paid time to complete this task. We persevere in spite of these idiosyncrasies.

For those who live outside Metro Vancouver, there is an RCMP Criminal Records check form. One of the members asked which number to check off. There are four options on this particular form. Our national representative says it is #4. This entitles Management to have a copy of one’s criminal record plus any charges that the member was not convicted of. When I asked if charges without convictions would have any bearing on a person’s ability to apply for promotion, ask for transfers or employment; the answer was yes. Yes, even if you have not been convicted, the charge would still taint your employment record with VPL.

The Union is pursuing legal opinions for the appropriateness of the employment checks and will keep members informed. Please contact the Union office if you need any assistance with these checks. We can help and it is strictly confidential.
Part-Time/Auxiliary Pension Plan

The award for the Pension Plan arbitration should be posted in about another week. Watch for it in this space. We have won the arbitration in principle but cannot comment until the award is in print. The City of Vancouver has agreed to drop its appeal of who should be the arbitrator. They would have preferred the authority to arbitrate to pass to the pension plan commission rather than a labour arbitrator.

Code of Conduct

The Union feels that Management occasionally apes the behaviour of City Hall. This is another of those occasions. I will not stretch the metaphor as that would be neither politic or have any satisfactory Darwinian implications.

CUPE 15’s president, Paul Faoro, asked for inclusion of a whistle blower clause. This was watered down through amendments by an unfriendly councillor but still has some relevancy for CUPE 391 members. On July 20th the minutes claim to have invited our participation“THAT Council request the City Manager implement at the City of Vancouver a whistleblower policy similar to the one adopted by the City of Surrey, by December 31, 2006. The City Manager should also ensure that the policy is implemented at the Vancouver Park Board, Britannia and Ray-Cam Community Centres and other Civic Boards. The policy and its implementation should be done with full consultation with all civic unions and employee associations;” page 5 and 6 of July 20th minutes

This clause lost its teeth because of an amendment by Councilor Ball which essentially sent the whistle-blower clause into the bailiwick of Human Resources. However, I am anxiously awaiting my invitation to participate in the consultation process. December 31st, 2006 has come and gone; still no invitation to participate.

The Union thinks that the City of Montreal has much more refined and community development-based document for a code of conduct.  Montreal has developed a Charter of Rights and Responsibilities. This document was designed to promote the security of its citizens and celebrates positive and fundamental values such as:

  • Empathy
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Impartiality
  • Justice
  • Trust
  • Fairness

Such values speak to building healthy communities.


Steven Turner and I have had several discussions with W.E. Insurance are the agent of record who are administering the LTD plan. Sun Life is the insurer. Steven and I were trying to find the reason why the LTD payments were about to rise 21% over what we were previously paying. This means we are presently paying 1.77% of our gross. WE Insurance and CUPE 391 were unable to find a less expensive insurer for the simple reason that we now have 5 members on the plan instead on one.

other companies were offering to increase by 79% and one hundred percent. What we have found is that our LTD premiums go down as people come off LTD. The insurer calculates what they need from us on the theory that the claimants might be on LTD until they are 65. As we have 5 people on LTD at the moment, our premiums are higher.

The good news is that this is a much better plan than most LTD plans. The premiums will go down next year if we have fewer people on LTD.

We need an LTD plan as EI benefits only cover 15 weeks. We only have 300 or so members on this plan so that tends to make it more expensive.

Union and Management will be looking at long term illness together with EAP, Disibility Management, Wellness and the LTD groups to see how we can help workers manage “return to work” programs.

The Bargaining committee meets with the GVRD February 26th.We have only met to exchange proposals so it is impossible to predict how it will go at this point.

The Bargaining committee has participated in workshops, Lower Mainland CUPE locals meetings and done extensive research and surveys to gather information for the proposals for this round of bargaining. We have heard from the membership and that is directly reflected in the prosposals. Please contact us at if you have any questions.

The committee is working at making the collective agreement a more relevent and cohesive document. We are a good mix with 3 senior members and 3 newcomers. New people on this committee give fresh perspective and more experienced members share their knowledge. Jim Gorman, our national representative, is able to give us insight into how other locals bargain. We have fostered very collaborative working relationships with each other (as they say in HR) and our CUPE colleagues. Our bargaining committee members have appeared at 3 other locals tables during bagaining and we had a Richmond member at our table when we exchanged proposals with Management. This has been disconcerting for Richard Scott, the GVRD agent for bargaining.

We don’t usually talk about money, this early in the process of bargaining. The usual school of thought is that this might upset the process. Either you show your hand too early or members are angry because final number may not match the original. In this case, we are going to give some numbers. As you are aware, we asked for a substantial increase across the board. What we asked for when we exchanged proposals was: a two year contract with $1.15 an hour raise in the first year and $1.25 per hour increase in the second. Will we get it? We don’t know, but Bargaining is officially on. With your support, the odds increase that we will get that great contract.


What about that Classification Committee! Aren’t they doing a great job? This committee had to restart itself as it had all new members. The learning curve was very steep and the tasks, on some days, daunting. The members of this committee burrowed into the files and came ups with a great many questions. The budget for Classifications has definitely been overspent but the results of that spending are very evident. We spent money on education and research and it has paid excellent dividends.

The LAVI’s at Central are now LAVII’s. The LAII’s at Carnegie (after several tries) are now LAIII’s. There are more positions currently being reviewed. If you think your position is undervalued, please contact the members of the committee at

Pink Triangle Conference

Our Member-at-large, Peter Degroot, is doing his usual fabulous job of bring pride to the local and the community. Peter is the conference organizer of the Pink Triangle Conference. Our local is basking in national attention for the work that activists like Peter do in support of CUPE members. A big thank you to the awardwinning webmaster, Chris Jang, for all his work in the communications to back these activists.

It was our website and Peter’s activism that brought a sister from New Brunswick to my attention. She wanted help with starting a CUPE LBGTI committee in a small community in New Brunswick. Peter and I have given Sister Chase some support. She is thrilled to have someone as knowledgeable and supportive as Peter to share her concerns. From West to East with pride.
Constitution Surveys

Please get those constitution surveys into the Union mail. At first I had a basket full each day. Now it has slowed to a trickle. I know there are many more out there. Would the Union Contacts please check with members to see if they have sent their constitution survey in?

The results of this survey wil have direct bearing on how manage elections and choose committees. Members had much to say about this last year, but we need concrete answers and suggestions from you before we can make changes. Please fill in the form, send it in and be a part of the process.