Union message re: COVID-19 Update on work agreement with Library Board, Parks Board, and City of Vancouver

Dear 391 family members,

I know that today is one particularly tough day in weeks of tough days. Please know that we are working together with the other union leaders to ensure that the needs of workers are addressed during this time of crisis. You work hard to deliver quality public services that the people of Vancouver rely on every day and those public services are more important than ever as we face the current COVID-19 outbreak. We thank all of our members who are on the frontlines of this public health crisis and we recognize the value of the work provided behind the scenes to ensure the frontline can deliver.

We also recognize the importance of ‘flattening the curve’ as part of our civic duty in mitigating the impact of this virus on the most vulnerable of our friends, family, and neighbours.
We are working with our employers to do everything we can to minimize the impact of COVID-19 in Vancouver, and to follow the directions of the Province’s Medical Health Officer. To this end, CUPE 15, CUPE 1004 and CUPE 391 have reached an agreement with our employers to protect CUPE members during this crisis, while allowing us to continue delivering critical public services.

This agreement is effective March 22nd. It protects the jobs, wages and seniority of CUPE 391, 15, and 1004 members affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Please note: If you have not been formally notified of any change in your workplace, report to work as normal until you hear otherwise from your employer. If you have been formally notified of reassignment, please follow the direction of the Employer subject to your right to refuse unsafe work and other such health and safety standards. If you have questions or concerns, or are seeking an accommodation, please contact a union representative at info@cupe391.ca or call 604.322.4879 and leave a message.

For those members that remain on the job, we will be meeting regularly with the employer to ensure your health and safety are being protected. Every effort will be made to provide personal protective equipment, including appropriate attire, gloves, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes where required. Your OH&S Cte members are meeting tonight to discuss how best to communicate and respond to concerns as they arise.

For CUPE members whose workplace or jobs are shut down, your pay is protected for the coming weeks.

CUPE 391
• For TFT, TPT, RPT (no benefits), and AUX: workers affected by operation suspensions will have pay protection for 28 days on all scheduled shifts.
• For RFT, PPT and RPT (with benefits): workers affected by operation suspensions will have pay protection for 42 days.
• For all workers, the first 14 days will be at 100 percent pay, with the remaining days at 75 percent.

If you receive benefits, they will continue for another 3 months after the 42 days. Life Insurance continues 6 months after 42 days.

If possible and needed, some members will be assigned to work in other locations, departments or other bargaining units. There will be more information on this in the days to come. Working with the Emergency Operations Centre is already an option for some and we encourage you to speak with a manager if that is of interest to you.

Unfortunately, lay-offs are likely. With so much uncertainty around the COVID-19 outbreak, we still don’t know when some units will see reductions, or how many CUPE 391 members will be affected overall. As communicated by Christina today, these are meant to be temporary measures with the intention of having people return to their positions at the end of this crisis. As part of this agreement, employers will not have to give the usual notice if lay-offs are required. Any layoffs will be by workgroups, and by reverse seniority. There is no bumping during these temporary layoffs – the goal is to have members return to their positions when reactivated.

We will do everything we can with the employer to minimize layoffs.

This agreement will continue until the Province’s Medical Health Officer determines the COVID-19 outbreak is resolved.

READ: COVID-19 Framework agreement between CUPE locals 15, 1005, 391 and employers

CUPE BC and CUPE National have dedicated website for public health information, and resources for accessing federal government assistance programs.
For latest and up-to-date information visit the BC Centre for Disease Control.

If you have questions or concerns, CUPE 391 is maintaining full operations to serve members during this crisis. Please email info@cupe391.ca or call 604.322.4879 – we ask kindly for your patience as the volume of correspondence right now is very high.

Please expect to hear more information from your supervisor or manager throughout this afternoon. We will be setting up some online information sessions in the coming days so stay tuned for details on those and watch for a plain language document to accompany and interpret the LOU. Whether you are still on the job, working off-site, or at home – we are here for you and each other. We will continue to do all we can to help every CUPE member get through this crisis.

Yours in solidarity,