Masks – Covid Update

In light of the decision by the City of Regina to lift masks in step with the Province of Saskatchewan, we sought a legal assessment and a review of the Risk analysis that the City of Regina conducted.

We have received our assessment and it is under review to determine if the City of Regina erred in their assessment or if we ought to seek action against the City of Regina.

While this analysis is underway, we ask any and all members who feel unsafe in their workplace due to Covid do two (2) things:

  1. Contact our office.
  2. Register the complaint with their shop OHS representative

We will be making a decision at our next Executive meeting on two (2) points:

  1. Was the assessment reasonable?
  2. Has the City of Regina met their obligations to ensure a safe workplace?

We will advise the membership via our website after the decision is made.

Thanks,

Laird Williamson / President 

City council votes to remove masking and proof of vaccine orders, in line with province

The City of Regina will move in lockstep with the province as COVID restrictions are set to lift next week and at the end of the month

Author of the article: Alec Salloum

Publishing date: Feb 11, 2022 / Leader Post

The City of Regina will follow the province as it plans to remove proof of vaccination orders starting Monday and will look to phase out mask mandates at the end of February.

City councillors had four matters to vote on during Friday’s special meeting of council, which recommended an end to all current municipal orders related to COVID-19.

The motions, which were recommended by administration, were:

– to immediately rescind emergency powers delegated to the city manager (this passed 9–1 with Coun. Andrew Stevens (Ward 3) the sole detractor);

– lift masking restrictions for transit at the end of February (this passed 6–4 with Coun. Cheryl Stadnichuk (Ward 1), Coun. Bob Hawkins (Ward 2), Stevens and Coun. Shanon Zachidniak (Ward 8) voting against);

– for council to return to in-person meetings on March 1 (this passed 7–3 with Stadnichuk, Hawkins and Zachidniak voting against)

–  and to remove proof vaccination or negative test requirements for City of Regina facilities as of Monday (this passed 8–2 with Stadnichuk and Zachidniak voting against).

Coun. Dan LeBlanc (Ward 6) was not present.

Asked if she felt the city was strong-armed into following the province Mayor Sandra Masters said, no.

“We are going based upon the consistency of continuing to follow the public health order” she said.

“If things change, well, then we’ll adapt again just as we have for the last two years.”

Louise Folk, executive director of people and transformation, said the city administration’s recommendations were made to be in line with other jurisdictions in Saskatchewan. She also said without provincial backing, it will make it hard to maintain the current measures.

“It’s very difficult to maintain the restrictions we have in place without a provincial health order,” she said, adding it contributes to confusion if there are different rules across cities and regions.

Folk said the city will continue to encourage mask use and will stress public health messages.

Saskatchewan Government Covid Update

With most Omicron COVID-19 cases resulting in mild illness, these cases can be self-managed with self-testing and self-isolation. Effective immediately, Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) PCR testing will be reserved for priority populations at elevated risk for severe outcomes, which include:

  • Hospitalized patients, those admitted or transferred between acute, long-term care or personal care homes
  • High risk populations as ordered by the medical health officer: residents in long-term care, personal care homes and congregate living facilities; and international or travellers from areas of concern
  • Priority symptomatic persons: health care workers or essential workers who have a negative rapid antigen test but remain symptomatic; those with chronic illness (diabetes, history of cancer, cardiac failure, etc.)
  • Symptomatic people living or working in First Nation and Métis communities
  • Surgical patients with symptoms or a positive rapid antigen test if scheduled or expecting to receive surgery within the next 90 days
  • Pregnant patients who are symptomatic and more than 30 weeks gestation
  • Symptomatic immunocompromised individuals including all transplant donors and recipients prior to and post-transplant; all oncology patients prior to, receiving or post chemotherapy
  • Newborns born to COVID-19-positive parents, prior to discharge

Additionally, health care workers and essential workers as defined under the current public health order with negative rapid antigen results who remain symptomatic will continue to be eligible for PCR tests to protect Saskatchewan’s essential services.

Residents who require PCR test results for travel, insurance claims including potential Workers’ Compensation Board claims, or in lieu of proof of vaccination, will be required to purchase a test from a private lab service provider for that documentation

https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/news-and-media/2022/february/03/living-with-covid-transition-of-public-health-management

Regional Trial Panels – Panelists

We are seeking applications from our membership to serve on CUPE’s regional trial panels. If you are interested in being nominated to the roster of trial panelists for your region, apply before February 25, 2022. If you have other questions, please email us at trials-proces@cupe.ca and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

What is the trial procedure?

The trial procedure came into effect on June 1, 2020 and replaced the former local union trials. Under procedure, a complaint from a member of a local union against another member, that alleges an offence under the constitution, is dealt with outside of the local.

The complaint is first reviewed by an investigator who determines if there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial. If there is, the National President appoints a trial committee of three members to hear the complaint and decide if there was an offence. These trial committee members are selected from a regional list of trial panelists appointed by the National Executive Board.

The procedure can be found at Appendix F of the National Constitution.

What is the role of a trial panelist?

Where an investigator has determined that there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial, and the matter has not been settled through mediation, a trial committee will be appointed and tasked with deciding the complaint. The main elements of the process outlined in the National Constitution can be summarized as follows:

The National President will appoint three members of the regional trial panel to serve as the trial committee.

The trial committee will convene a teleconference with the complainant and respondent and their respective representatives to deal with preliminary matters.

The trial committee will hold a private hearing into the complaint. It will decide its own procedure in accordance with the rules of natural justice. The committee can accept any oral or written evidence that it considers proper, so long as every member receives a fair and impartial hearing.

The trial committee decides whether the respondent is guilty of the offence and, if so, the trial committee will decide any penalty and what, if anything, the respondent must do or not do. The committee will issue a decision with reasons in writing.

The details can be found at sections Appendix F, Sections F.4 and F.5 of the National Constitution.

What are the requirements to apply?

We are looking for people who:

  • Will make themselves available on short notice to hear and decide cases.
  • Have the capacity to listen and understand different perspectives.
  • Have an understanding of human rights.
  • Are comfortable explaining a decision in writing.
  • Any CUPE member in good standing is eligible to apply, and we encourage you to seek the support of your local union for your application. As part of CUPE’s commitment to equality, we encourage applications from women, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, black or racialized people, and LGBTQ2+ people.

What is the term of the trial panelist’s mandate?

Trial panelists are nominated to the regional list for a term of two years and may be called at any time during that period to serve on a trial committee.

Will there be training for this role?

Yes. CUPE will offer specific training to members who will have been selected as trial panelists so they can be ready to serve on a trial committee on short notice when a case arises.

Are there any costs for my local union associated with this role?

No. The National Constitution provides that the cost of the trial will be borne by the local union where the complaint originates. The cost of conducting a trial include lost wages and reasonable expenses for the trial committee members. Trial panelists will not be assigned to hear complaints from their own local.

Where will the trials take place?

Trials may take place anywhere within each region depending on where the complaint originates, and most trials will take place virtually, on a platform such as ZOOM.

 

President’s Message

Good day everyone:

This year, much like last, has not been easy on the members of Local 21, families, friends, and our community. We are in the midst of uncertain times but I’m certain that this community will get through this challenge and any others we may face in the future.

I’m pleased with the work the membership and our Executive Board have done over 2021 and I’m encouraged by what lies ahead in 2022.

Please review the following updates as a snapshot of 2021 and some of the items we can look forward to in 2022.

Covid Grievances:

Through our grievance procedure and productive conversation with the City of Regina – the Union has accepted a resolve to one (1) of our Covid-19 related policy grievances regarding the utilization/prohibition of sick entitlement usage for procuring a negative test during work time.

This resolve was tabled and accepted by the Executive Board and this policy amendment will come into effect on 27 December 2021 on a go forward basis.

Your manager will have received a Q&A from the City of Regina and we encourage you to ask them if there is any confusion. Please contact the Union office if any further clarification is required.

This resolve does not prejudice our other position regarding the testing policy as a whole and that grievance is still going through the process and will likely not be resolved for several months. (* Please continue to track your testing costs and continue to check our website for details).

2021 – Labour Relations Summary:

  1. We currently have forty (40) active grievances.
  2. We advanced and presented forty-three (43) grievances on behalf of members in 2021 – nine (9) of which are advanced to Arbitration. The remaining have either been resolved satisfactorily or still working through the grievance process.
  3. We held four (4) arbitrations digitally in 2021; we were not successful with one (1) / and successful with one (1) / one (1) is currently under review / and we are awaiting the decision on the fourth (4th).
  4. We resolved another four (4) additional arbitrations prior to hearing them.
  5. We currently have thirty-seven (37) files advanced to arbitration, with eight (8) being scheduled between January and April of 2022.

2022:

  1. We will continue with digital General Membership meetings and decide whether to return to in person or to adopt a hybrid approach as the year progresses. Our next General Membership meeting is 11 January 2022 at 5:00 pm.
  2. We want to thank everyone who registered for the bargaining survey – this will be emailed out in the New Year.
  3. The results of our Culture Survey have been tabulated and the results indicate that we have much work to do. To that end we would like to notify the membership that all Unions and the City of Regina have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to effectuate culture changes in our workplace. There will be more regarding this work in the coming months.
  4. We are reinstating the L21 news letter and will start with a Q4 or Q1 letter that will be found on either our website or Union boards.
  5. We are working with Cupe National on creating a training program from L21 CBA language as a pilot project. This pilot is designed to increase the knowledge and understanding of your rights so that all members know what they are entitled to.
  6. Joint Job Evaluation (JJE) is still active we are just working through some of the mud but we hope to have a more substantial update in the next few months.
  7. Further work is being done regarding bylaw amendments – most notably will be the creation of new Grievance Chair’s.
  8. We have been working with a company regarding rebranding, elevating our public profile, and working towards improving public perceptions.
  9. We intend on revisiting our Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) election process and establishing a robust framework.
  10. The City of Regina Efficiency Review is still currently underway and we will advise the membership when we know more.
  11. The Union Led Efficiency Initiative is still active and we are waiting to roll this out to more operating areas in 2022.
  12. The email pilot project we submitted as a budget review was rolled out and will continue in 2022.
  13. Reclassification backlog is being addressed – we are a quarter of the way through them and this work will continue into the summer.
  14. We are hopeful that we will be able to return to regular in-person tailgates to continue conversations regarding costs, culture, and contract (CCC). Failing that, we will continue in a digital fashion.
  15. We will continue to work collaboratively with our other Union partners on shared concerns throughout 2022.
  16. We will continue to grow our knowledge base through training modules with Cupe National and co-counseling arbitrations.
  17. Our education seminars with our contracted Legal counsel have proven to be an invaluable resource as well as acting as mentor to our Executive Board on important labour issues and will continue in 2022.
  18. We are looking to reinstate our summer fling parties (restrictions permitting).

Lastly, we want to wish everyone a safe, restful, and happy holiday during winter break and again want to thank everyone for keeping this city running.

Thanks,

Laird Williamson  / President

 

 

Presentation to City Council – Efficiency Review

City Council
City of Regina Queen Elizabeth II Court
Regina, SK, S4P 3C8

Re:     CR21-175 Deloitte LLP – City of Regina Efficiency Review 

My name is Laird Williamson, and I am the president of CUPE Local 21 which represents a membership of 1,500 City employees. I am also here today representing the shared interests of CUPE Local 7, ATU Local 588, IAFF Local 181, and the RCMMA whose members combined account for another 850 employees.

We wanted to speak today to share our thoughts on the Deloitte report which was prepared for the City of Regina through the Efficiency Review, and the recent Executive Committee meeting in order to help City Council direct administration ahead of the January report.

To start, all Regina Civic Unions are committed to safe and efficient service delivery. Our members are proud of the work they do for the City of Regina, and are committed to making the City of Regina an even better place to live and work.

To emphasize that fact we would like to share with Council some information regarding our own
initiative. In early 2020 Local 21 started a project called the Union Led Efficiency Initiative in conjunction with the City of Regina. This initiative had the goal of identifying our weaknesses, magnifying our strengths, and improving where we need to improve. As a first of its kind, the pilot project saw leaders from the Union, the City administration, and operational leaders working together without ego or position, in order to have fulsome productive conversation surrounding the improvement of our service level efficiency.

During this pilot, numerous steps were taken such as: identifying performance indicators, creating
roadmaps to success, engaging staff, changing processes with equipment, and creating new scheduling styles. This work saw an increase of efficiency to the tune of 30%. While this pilot was in full swing City Council launched their own efficiency review which eventually gave rise to the Deloitte report.

After reading the report and listening to Executive Committee we wanted to get in front of you to
address some of the questions and comments and give Council the chance to ask us questions directly.

1. There were numerous questions surrounding why action is not already being conducted. In
response we can share that many of the items raised in this report are already underway. In
addition this report served to confirm the work on efficiencies that is happening presently.

2. Within the 53 opportunities identified in the report, there are several recommendations that are
incompatible with our Collective Bargaining Agreements. That being said however, the Unions
and Administration have a good track record for collaboration, and we are confident that with a
cards-up, open and respectful approach, we can action demonstrable change without collapsing
our service delivery.

3. In response to the recommendations for outsourcing, we would like to flag that the Unions have
significant concerns about any move to outsource City services. Outsourcing is not the solution
to address efficiencies. It will result in the erosion of services and a loss of control over those
services. Your own consultant recommended looking for efficiencies internally before looking
externally and noted that there are no huge returns to be had from outsourcing.

4. We want to emphasize that the Unions are not hamstringing efforts to increase efficiencies. In
fact it is quite the contrary as frontline workers often have the best ideas to improve
efficiencies. To that end Local 21 has been leading this discussion in our tailgate talks with our
members on topics such as the Union Led Efficiency Initiative.

5. We also wanted to respond to the idea that the City does not have a service culture. We must
point out that the assertions by your consultant were baseless and couched in anecdotal
evidence. We would submit that our members are service-focused but unfortunately the
infrastructure does not currently exist to allow this to be done to its fullest. In addition, it is
important to understand that the concept of culture is far broader reaching than just service and
performance, which cannot be quantified in this report.

The broader topic of workplace culture is yet another topic the Unions are advancing and working towards changing. With the above being said we would like to thank everyone for their hard work on this and are thankful for the undertakings that were presented at Executive committee. We believe that this additional information will allow Council the ability to fully appreciate the impacts of their decisions.

While we do have concerns with the Deloitte report, it does present an opportunity to advance the
already good work the Unions have put forward. It is through this lens that we should focus, and look to the future instead of dredging through the past.

To close, we would ask that Council direct administration to include in their report: a summary of the
work that is already underway for efficiencies, and that they more explicitly include a plan to engage in meaningful consultation with their Union partners prior to the implementation of these
recommendations.

Thank you and I am happy to take any questions.

Submitted by,

Laird Williamson (Local 21 Cupe)

Richel Nixon (Local 7)

Keven Lucier (ATU 588)

Tyler Packham (IAFF 181)

Ian Cantello (RCMMA)

Collective Bargaining / Membership Survey

Good day everyone:

Local 21 will be entering into a new round of Collective Bargaining with the City of Regina in the New Year. In past rounds, we have asked members to submit their suggestions via email for the Bargaining Committee to review and prepare. This round we want to try a more formalized approach and send out a digital bargaining survey.

In order to participate please email cupe.local21@sasktel.net  and include the following:

  1. “Bargaining” in the subject line;
  2. Your full name;
  3. Your Employee ID number (for verification purposes);
  4. And the preferred email address to send the survey to.

This survey will be digital and should only take a few minutes to complete.

Those members who are already in our database will be sent the survey.

If you are unsure if you are on that list then please submit the above request to be sure.

The deadline to register is 17 December 2021 with the survey being sent out the following week.

Please continue to check our website for updates.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter,

Laird Williamson / President

 

Covid Testing Update

To the members of Local 21:

As you are aware we have filed a Policy grievance on the grounds that the City of Regina is obligated to continue facilitating and paying for testing beyond 15 November 2021. This hearing is scheduled for 1 December 2021 and we will update the membership via the Local 21 website as it progresses.

In the meantime we have taken the liberty of contacting testing facilities within Regina as outlined on the Saskatchewan Government website and have created a short list of businesses that can facilitate testing for you after 15 November 2021.

Those who we were able to get in contact with are listed below (note this is not an exhaustive list):

  1. Ace Integrity Group: $45.00 (single test).
  2. Armour Safety Consulting: $50.00 (single test).
  3. Gimmel Global Trade: Single test $59.95 / Four (4) appointment bundle: $199.80.
  4. Haztech: $95.00.
  5. Nobel HSSE: $50.00.
  6. Outpost Health: Single test: $35.00 / Local 21 members and their family as well / can create bulk time slots for weekly testing.
  7. Prairie Rapid Testing: $20.00 discount code for every Union member / price-match guarantee / and or bulk pricing (even further discounted rate if multiple appointments are booked at a time).
  8. SRX Specialty Health Clinic: $69.00.
  9. ZZ Testing: $39.00.
  • Please note that Local 21 Cupe is not responsible for any price adjustments that any company may make and this list is intended for informational purposes only.
  • Please keep track of your receipts as we will need those if we are successful in our Policy grievance submission.

In addition we are working with a company to secure a mobile trailer to ease some of the travel costs associated with testing. The location or viability of this is yet to be determined but please continue to check the website for updates.

We have also been notified about the following topics / concerns and are in discussions with the City of Regina regarding them:

  1. Will the City of Regina keep a security presence at our facilities for the purposes of ensuring Covid policy compliance and member safety? Answer: Currently a risk assessment is being conducted over the next few weeks and we will know more after the conclusion.
  1. Would policy verification and enforcement be contained within the current job descriptions (JD’s) of our Recreation workers? Answer: This topic may become a moot point if point #1 is resolved satisfactorily.
  1. Can members use sick time to attend Covid testing after 15 November 2021? Answer: The City of Regina is seeking legal guidance on this topic and will get back to us shortly. Due to us raising this prior to the implementation – we ask that everyone log their time related to testing in case we seek a Policy grievance on the matter.
  1. Would the City of Regina allow a Union facilitated testing/verification program? Answer: The City of Regina is not willing to accept the Local participating in the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s (SHA) ‘test to protect’ program.

The above topics may be tabled as prospective grievances once we have a complete understanding of the situation. Again I want to thank everyone for your continued patience and understanding as we navigate these issues.

Laird Williamson / President