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

COVID-19: Operational Update

To the members of Local 21: Regarding COVID-19

There is a lot of information floating around from many different sources. We will endeavour to address three (3) pressing items:

1) Facility shut down
2) Meetings
3) Quarantine

Facility shut down: 

The City of Regina will be shutting down all public access to City Facilities effective March 17th.

We have been in discussions with the City and at this point the situation remains fluid. The casual staff in the Recreation world may be kept on for the remainder of this week but beyond that will likely have their shifts canceled.

There is a commitment from the City to honour two (2) weeks of scheduled work but no commitment to maintain wage beyond that at this time. There are also ongoing discussions with our other Union partners about job sharing and the City is asking for our flexibility and creativity to address the work shortage.

Our prime directives are opportunity & safety.

These will be the guiding principles in future discussions with the City.

Meetings:

The City has suspended all non-essential meetings. This includes but is not limited to grievances and arbitrations. There may still be operational meetings held while adapting appropriate social distancing.

If you have a file that is currently being investigated or has been advanced to a grievance, the conclusion of that will be delayed and we ask for your patience on this matter.

There will be no penalty held against any member with regards to items postponed due to this situation.

Quarantine:

This is an ever changing situation but as it stands today Canada has labeled all countries as a level three (3). If you were in transit when this occurred and are returning home you will be required to self quarantine for fourteen (14) days and the City will maintain your wage.

If you become symptomatic over the coming weeks you will be required to self quarantine for fourteen (14) days – please note that this will be coded as unpaid sick, paid sick, or vacation – whatever entitlements you have available.

The City will be waiving all requirements for a physicians note during this time.

This situation remains fluid and will likely change frequently and often. Please take this as an informative notice but the information may change at any moment.

Please feel free to reach out to an Executive member if you have any questions or contact our office at: (306)352-8282.

A lot of this information may be found on City Connect or by asking your supervisor.

Sincerely,
Local 21

ManuLife Beneft Session

Local 21 Members:

A brief presentation regarding the change over from BlueCross to  ManuLife as well as a question & answer session will take place during the 10 March 2020 General membership meeting. If you plan to attend please remember our new start time is 5:00 pm till June 2020.

From the Director of People & Organizational Culture, Marlys Tafelmeyer (HR):

It’s official! Our Benefit Carrier transition to Manulife occurred on March 1st.

After months of preparation and planning, we’re proud to say our project team achieved all of the implementation goals on time by working collaboratively with Blue Cross and Manulife throughout the entire transition. The team has also provided training sessions to employees throughout the organization to help everyone prepare for the change.

Thank you to everyone who joined our information sessions and encouraged their teams to attend. During the month of February, over 700 employees attended 30 information sessions to learn more about what Manulife has to offer. In addition, during the month of March, technology information sessions will be held to ensure employees feel confident with the plan member site and mobile app. Go to the Learning Calendar on City Connect under the New Benefits Carrier – Technology Session to sign up for one of the technology information sessions.

Benefit cards were mailed to employees’ home addresses and are now ready to be used. Claims can now be submitted to Manulife!

Didn’t get a benefit card in the mail? Email benefits@regina.ca
Looking for more information about the change? Visit CityConnect.
Have questions about making a claim? Contact Manulife: call 1-800-268-6195 or visit Manulife’s plan member site, select Send a note under the Contact us tab.

Need to make changes to your benefits (add a spouse/child), want to know more about life insurance or beneficiary information? Contact benefits@regina.ca

Please Note: If you log onto the Manulife website, your benefit balances may not be available to view until mid-March. Blue Cross requires time to finalize claims submitted up to February 28th. Once Blue Cross has finalized those claims, final balances will be provided to Manulife to upload to the Manulife website.

Stay tuned for more information on how Manulife provides tools and rewards for healthy living through the Vitality app. Thank you again for your commitment to sharing updates and easing the transition for our employees.

Communication Update

CASUAL BANK TIME

The Local 21 office has received calls regarding the new casual vacation bank and some general confusion about how it is applied since an internal memo was circulated.

This is the clause as it stands today with the edit in bold: SCHEDULE B – COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT
B8. Annual Vacation

Annual vacation shall be provided to employees who are covered by this agreement in accordance with the provisions of The Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA) and any subsequent amendments.

All earned vacation pay will be placed in a vacation money bank at the rate that the vacation is earned.

The employee can access this money, on request, by indicating on their timesheet prior to the cut-off date, the dollar amount requested. This money will be included with any current earnings on the applicable pay period.

Any monies in the vacation money bank will be paid out to the employee on the last pay period following their last day of work with the City or the last pay period of the calendar year, whichever period comes first.

A few facts that may help clear this up:

– Casual vacation entitlement is set by the Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA) which is 3/52 your wage if you have worked for the employer for less than ten (10) years and 4/52 your wage if you have been employed longer than ten (10) years.

– This amount used to be paid out on every pay period / cheque.

– Now this money is placed into a money bank to be withdrawn at your leisure.

– Casuals ARE entitled to take vacation time insofar as operational requirements will allow in tandem with Branch practices for vacation. Some areas use a first come first serve model, others go by seniority, ask your supervisor what practice is established in your area.

– Part-time casuals ARE entitled to vacation time.

– Vacation money does not equal vacation time. There was a misconception that because casuals got their vacation pay paid on their cheque that they were not entitled to take vacation, this is FALSE. If that misconception remains, please contact the union office.

– Layoff does NOT constitute vacation; however a casual may choose not to take their entitled vacation time during their season.

– A monies pay out can happen separate from taking the time off.

– You can still have it paid out on every pay period / cheque; you just have to request it.

The easiest way to think of it is separate the time entitlement from the money bank. In most cases you are entitled three (3) weeks a year of vacation TIME; the time will be slotted as unpaid vacation and awarded in the way your branch has normally done it.

At any time you may request whatever money amount from your bank that you wish.

For some people it will be the equivalent amount of lost wages for a vacation, for others it will be none because they want to keep it there for lay off or a rainy day, many will likely choose to take a single week off but pay out the entire amount, or you may have it paid out every cheque.

This item was designed to create maximum flexibility for casual staff and to clear up any confusion about casual vacation time entitlement.

Hopefully this has helped straighten out any confusion regarding this item. If anyone has further questions please call the union office at (306) 352-8282.

GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS – START TIME CHANGE FOR 2020

In December the Executive table voted to move the General Membership meeting start time to 5:00 pm instead of the usual 7:00 pm.

We will try this model out until June and see if this helps with our quorum issue. The meetings will remain on the second (2nd) Tuesday of every month with the exception of July and August in which we do not have a meeting due to vacation season.

Our next meeting is 14 January 2020 at 5:00 pm which will be business as usual except we have to vote on our budget and read five (5) Bylaw amendments.

CITY REORGANIZATION

In 2019 while Local 21 was negotiating our next Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the employer was finalizing the reorganization of their Branch / reporting structure absent of Union input.

This decision unfortunately left us having to make it fit with our current CBA in collaboration with the Labour Relations (LR) team. Our current structure is contained in Schedule B.

This item and any pertinent Letter of Understanding (LOU) were tabled for future discussion and agreement by both parties. Since that time we have invested a considerable amount of time negotiating what this “new world” might look like and have tentatively landed on – placing the structure in the CBA as defined by the employer while having certain LOU’s to make the re-org fit our purpose.

Currently there are four (4) proposed LOU’s:
– Parks districts transfer option
– Roadways & Transportation Services peak season
– Community Services amalgamation
– Water Waste & Environmental (WWE) Branch separation

These four (4) LOU’s will cover a considerable amount of staff and we need member engagement to decide whether or not to accept and sign these LOU’s. We will be setting time aside in the coming weeks together with a mail out to members with dates and times to discuss and vote on these LOU’s.

These LOU’s all contain thirty (30) day out clauses and could be renegotiated if there were some glaring inequality discovered at a later date.

Keep an eye on the website for more details including dates, times, and locations for informational meetings. We are tentatively preparing for the last week in January to have these discussions.

Laird Williamson
Acting President