Member Update November 30, 2018
Quick update covering items discussed at the November General and Executive Meetings in Brantford.
Meeting Schedule for 2019
January 22, 2019 - Mississauga
March 19, 2019 - Burlington
June 18, 2019 - Ottawa
Sept 17, 2019 - Scarborough
November 19, 2019 - Kitchener
We want to be prepared as possible for bargaining, and have had some preliminary discussions with the company in regards the format and timing of the upcoming Collective Agreement bargaining. Both sides are interested in exploring Collaborative Bargaining in an attempt to get both parties interests addressed as effectively as possible, and will be doing joint training in the bargaining style. This means we would like to have our negotiating committee selected as soon as possible to allow us the most time to prepare. Our tentative timeline will have nominations open next week, voting packages go out at the beginning of January, and the committee selected by the beginning of February.
Health & Safety
Our current focus is to audit and fill all worker Joint Health and Safety Committee members or Health and Safety Representatives as needed (based on office size), and make sure all persons are appropriately trained. It is important for H&S persons to be committed and properly trained to protect the safety of all.
There are many items arising from vehicle defects which the company maintaining are not Out of Orders, and requiring members to complete the tests. This ranges from defective Supplemental Restraint Systems (SRS or Air Bags), reverse lights, and other items on classified vehicles. Regardless of whether or not the company recognizes the defect as an out of order, all members are reminded they have the right to refuse work they believe to be unsafe. We are in discussion with management to resolve these items, but in the interim, it is recommended all members keep themselves and their coworkers safe.
Any items regarding Health and Safety issues should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org This email address goes directly to the Health and Safety Committee.
Mass Text Messaging System (MTMS)
We have set up the MTMS, giving us another means of communicating with the members across the province. Members can sign up to receive the alerts by texting USW9511 to #32323. Standard text messaging rates apply, and many plans include free incoming texts, so this will be free for most people. This tool will provide is with much faster and direct means of communicating, and will be invaluable during bargaining. Please sign up, and please ensure your fellow coworkers are aware as well.
7AM to 7PM Offices
The current arrangement with the MTO has seen the 7 to 7 hours extended tentatively until March 2019. The MTO has also agreed to close all offices at 5PM on December 24th, and December 31st.
Members have raised concerns about USW 9511 voting. These include things like long turnaround times associated with postal delivery, labour intensive to prepare and tabulate voting packages, and undeliverable mail, etc. We had investigated electronic means of voting, however, the Canadian National Office has determined this to not be suitable at this point, so we are continuing to look at alternatives. Suggestions include having executive/stewards conduct in person votes, exploring hiring a security company, etc, and other suggestions are welcome.
Applicant Code of Conduct
There has been concerns raised in many offices regarding the behaviour of applicants being threatening or inappropriate. There should be signs posted in conspicuous locations in each office outlining unacceptable behaviour will not be tolerated. If you feel you or your co-workers are not being supported in situations with applicants behaving inappropriately, please alert me and your Regional Manager. It is unacceptable to have members being berated or threatened while at work.
All offices have an Emergency Response Binder, outlining procedures for various emergency situations (fire, robbery, etc). Ask your supervisor to see it and ask for time to review it and/or training on it.
Change to Benefit Provider
The company is changing benefit providers from Great West Life & Cigna to Medavie/Blue Cross. Blue Cross will be handling all of our current benefits (Extended Health/Dental/Prescription/Vision/etc and Long Term Disability), and introducing Short Term Disability. Our LTD premiums will be decreasing with this change, however, our coverage is remaining the same. An information session will be happening at the Mississauga DTC on December 6th. Members who cannot attend will be provided with information, and opportunities to phone in with questions at a later date.
Greater USW Updates
The Canadian National Policy Conference is being held in Vancouver in April 2019.
USW is starting a mentorship program meant to train and coach potential members for positions outside of their units with the USW regional or district offices. Members selected for the program will be recommend by current USW staff, and will need to have completed suitable USW training courses (negotiations, arbitration, etc) to be considered.