This month was challenging in terms of finding time to report out, so here we are at April 11 already! We have a long weekend coming up and I hope all of you incredibly hard-working folks are able to take some time to recharge and regenerate. I’ve been in some deep conversations with many members who are really feeling the stress of a heavy workload and sparse coverage – this is across locations and classifications. We heard from a number of you at our last General Meeting and brought the issue again to our Union Management agenda, where we plan on having it remain until we see some relief.
The Occupational Health and Safety Committee met tonight in preparation for our regular joint monthly meeting happening next week. As reported in an earlier post, this committee has recently expanded with a number of new and returning members. It is an incredibly strong group and they are already working towards creating well-researched recommendations for the employer that would have positive effects on the membership’s health. We are also looking at ways to improve the Terms of Reference and have it become a truly robust guiding document for this important work.
At the invitation of Paul Faoro, CUPE BC President, I attended a Greater Vancouver Board of Trade breakfast to hear Mayor Kennedy Stewart present a talk, “Building a Vancouver that works for everyone.” CUPE BC had booked a table for the event so it was a great opportunity to talk with some other CUPE Local Presidents, CUPE BC staff, and Laird Cronk, President of the BC Federation of Labour. The event also provided an opportunity to meet some of the mayor’s staff and I’m looking forward to continued conversations with them and Mayor Stewart.
In March I spent four days in Saskatoon at the CUPE National Moving Forward Bargaining Conference. While it was cold outside, the internal temperature went up while hearing about the inspiring labour action taken by the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) and the pretty spectacular gains they made: “more librarians and nurses for their schools, smaller class sizes, and nicer campuses.” The gains were hard-fought and hard-won, through smart long-term campaigns. Lots to learn from!
The next two weeks I will have an opportunity to visit Carnegie and Collingwood Branches – looking forward to seeing some of you there.
Yours in solidarity,