Today’s updates (and lots of them)

Best wishes to our hard-working bargaining committee, who are meeting with the employer today. Peter reminds us that they have lots to do right now, so please don’t phone them with questions. (We’ll get our chance to pepper them with questions later.)

A lot happened yesterday, including a visit from the Raging Grannies (dang–how did I miss that?), and some important committee meetings (Executive, Hardship, and Bargaining)–more on this further down.

Latest changes and updates to picketing schedules and locations:
–Saturdays and Sundays picketing is at Central only
–Fridays there will be pickets at the branches (BRI, JF*, KIT, KER) from 9-1 only; allowing staff a choice and also the ability to go to Central for the special Friday activities and events
–The West side branch coverage isn’t changing otherwise, but we will no longer picket at Collingwood. Mount Pleasant will be picketed Monday and Tuesday only, from 9-1.
–We will be instituting flying pickets. Picket captains at various locations will call for members who have cars and then send groups out (with handouts for the public) to different branches for short periods of time
–Please see the Job Action Updates for more details, and check them often; plans will be adjusted as necessary to ensure that we’re as effective as possible

Next strike pay:
Next Friday will be our second (strike) paycheque. From now on the cheques will all come to Central on Fridays to allow most people to get them easily. After that the remaining cheques will return to the Union office (545 West 10th Avenue) for pickup. (Members are encouraged to share rides to go pick them up; this can be done on picket time.) The union office hours are 8:30 to 4:30, Monday to Friday.

News from the Hardship Committee:
–Thank you to the members who have generously donated their strike pay to the Hardship Committee to help their brothers and sisters. Anyone who wants to do this can cash their cheque and then give the cash, or else write a cheque to CUPE 391.
–In the next few days the Hardship Committee will have food vouchers and transit tickets available for members who need them. They will also have application forms for grants under $250 and interest-free loans over $250. Please talk to Inder Pannu (chair), one of the other Committee members in confidence (contact info is at the bottom of this post*), or your picket captain if you would like to find out more.
–Remember that Britannia and Kerrisdale have been designated child-friendly picket sites. They are near playgrounds and include green spaces and areas away from traffic.
–Watch the Hardship Committee blog for more details and updates!

Picketing 101–refresher:
–Some members are coming out to the lines for the first time after vacations. Please fill out (once only) the contact form. There are also weekly logs to complete, as well as the daily sign-ins at each location. Everyone is to sign in at only one location per day (if moving between locations, talk to your picket captain).
–Breaks: If you pick up some take-out and eat it on the line this can count as picket time, however breaks taken off-site don’t.
–If you sign up in advance for picket duty and your plans change, please inform your picket captain so she/he can make sure there’s enough coverage. Picket captain phone numbers are on a printed list available at every location.

Coalition Building Committee:
D’Arcy Stainton is the chair of this group, which is putting together a new brochure for the public, and also producing a petition for us to distribute. This group is still looking for contact info for groups who may be able to support and help us. Bring D’Arcy your ideas!

CUPE 391 Counterspin subcommittee
Tim Firth is the chair of this new group, which will analyse media coverage every day and produce counterspin documents for our members and the public. These will be posted daily as well as sent out to the picket sites. Tim is looking for more volunteers, particularly members with cell phones and/or laptops.

Slogan contest results:
The winning slogan came from Gail Buente (BRI): “My civil city has pay equity.” We will have these printed on buttons for distribution to our supporters. The runner-up–probably to be printed up in a limited-edition staff-only version–is from Jon Whipple (CEN): “Sam hates my daughter.” These must-have political fashion statements are coming soon. Hooray!

Knitting for Solidarity:
The KFS group has already completed 50 hats for distribution in the DTES. We have received many generous gifts of yarn and wool for this worthwhile project–thank you to our donors!

Whew! This is a lot of information. If you’ve got something else you want covered in the blog, or comments or suggestions, please let me know. Thanks, everyone! –Janis

*Contact info for the Hardship Committee:
Inder Pannu (chair) : 604 543-5981
Gerard Batty : 778 230-8382
Angela Ho : 604 261-6672
Craig Searle : 604 708-4628
Karen Sharkey : 778 316-2194
The confidential committee contact e-mail is :