Communication Update – COVID-19

FAQ:

1. Are the Casual staff employees being laid off?
Yes. Some of the casual staff will be receiving layoff notices for the 31 March 2020.

2. Are any Casual staff employees remaining at work?
Yes. A very limited number of casual staff will remain on who work in critical areas and possess the skills necessary to maintain service levels.

3. What are the critical areas?
As of today (26 March 2020) those identified critical services include but may not be limited to are as follows:

– Cemeteries
– Facilities
– Fleet
– Forestry
– Landfill
– Recreation Staff overseeing the REACH program
– Sewer & Drainage
– Solid Waste Collection (SWC)
– Traffic
– Water

4. Is it business as usual?
No. These identified work units are certain areas in the City that need to be kept open in order to maintain a minimum level of service to the public while balancing the safety and interests of the public and their employees.

These areas will be scaling back their operations to “must do” work instead of the day to day operations.

5. Will permanent staff be laid off?
Not at this time. However, that does not change the possibility that in a worst case scenario we may see this occurring.

6. Will anyone who is laid off have the opportunity to exhaust entitlement banks before burdening our Federal programs?
Staff may access all of their Time in Lieu, or any casual banked vacation time. This will not include sick time entitlements.

If you choose to exhaust your entitlement banks the employer will keep you “on work” until those are exhausted and then issue layoff.

Meaning if you have one (1) week of vacation your layoff will be issued on 7 April 2020, you will still be at home come the 31 March 2020 but your layoff will be pushed back to the extent you have credits.

You must elect to use all of the credits in your time-in-lieu and vacation bank in order to select this option.

7. What is our message to the public as to why we are still working?
The City will be issuing a communication to the public regarding this matter. Additionally, operating areas will be provided a direct answer in the coming days as it relates to providing critical services in our community in a safe and socially minded way.

8. What is our PPE situation at right now?
Good. Right now the City is currently securing a local source for additional cleaning products. The City has also sourced more masks, which should be arriving shortly. Please contact your supervisor if you require any additional PPE.

9. Is my safety secondary?
No, absolutely not.

This has been communicated to ELT (City Executive Leadership Team) and your safety is not secondary. A communication, along with direction will be given to managers / supervisors in the coming days to reaffirm this.

10. Where can I go to use the bathroom?
The City has activated three (3) facilities in which you are able to call and gain access to use the washrooms. They are currently working on getting access to more facilities. Please ask your supervisor for phone numbers and locations.

If your home is closer to your job site than one of the designated facilities, use your washroom. Although we discourage lingering as this will not help the optics of the situation.

11. Can I drive a separate truck to a site so I may maintain physical distancing?
Yes, if possible.

Currently some work units have access to extra vehicles and this is possible, others do not. The City is working with Fleet on this problem right now. Please ask your supervisor if this is an option.

12. What do I do if I feel unwell?
If you are home and feel unwell, stay home and notify your supervisor and call 811 for direction.

If you start to feel ill while at work, inform your supervisor, go home, and call 811. The Saskatchewan Health Authority will direct you on how to proceed. Please then communicate to your supervisor what they have told you to do.

13. If I feel unsafe can I go home and use my banks till this blows over?
Yes and no.

If you feel unsafe at work due to COVID-19 we ask that you express this concern to your supervisor and work with them on crafting a solution to whatever particular problem there may be.

As an example – the “two separate trucks” came from someone working out a creative solution to a problem. If you are unable to find a solution that limits your risk, through changing process, or PPE, you may access your entitlement banks.

The exception being if you have compromised health or are the care giver of someone with compromised health, please communicate this to your supervisor and make arrangements for entitlement usage.

14. Will the employer supplement my EI?
No. At this time we do not have a Supplemental Unemployment Plan in our collective bargaining agreement.

15. Will the employer contribute to my benefit premiums during this short term layoff?
Yes. The employer will maintain contributions until 31 May 2020 excluding pension.

16. When will I go back to work?
Currently there is not a defined return to work (RTW) date. You are still employed with the City of Regina regardless of how this situation plays out. The City and the Union are currently working on potential redeployment options.

17. Where can I find updates?
Our Local 21 website (local21.ca), call the office, your supervisor, or City Connect.

18. What Government benefits are available?
There are many changes to government programs and new items being added or amended weekly. You can access these through the Canadian Government website(s).

19. Where is our Union?
Our Executive is still very much functional although we have adopted a “need” basis for meetings similar to the employer. We are committed to providing updates via phone, email, and our website (local21.ca) and encourage the membership to check in often.

When this situation stabilizes we will be reaching out to very small groups for discussion and engagement if the meeting capacity limits and restrictions loosen.

20. Will our Union help anyone who is laid off?
Currently we are having email / discussions around what help we may be able to offer beyond government programs for those affected by layoff if this situation worsens or is prolonged.

21. Is CUPE National going to help anyone who is laid off?
Presently there is no monetary aid but will provide any guidance in conjunction with Local 21.

In closing:

These are uncertain times and we ask that our membership be patient with the City and the Union while we work together on lessening the impact to our members and citizens. This situation is constantly evolving and what may be the case today may change by tomorrow.

Please reach out to the Union if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions that were not covered in this FAQ or if you need clarification.

Phone: (306) 352-8282
Email: cupe.local21@sasktel.net

PDF communication update poster for printing / circulation:

L21 – Communication Update (COVID-19) – Mar. 27, 2020

Stay safe / Local 21 Executive