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Dear CUPE 387 members,
CUPE 387 members have done a remarkable job serving and supporting New Westminster during this unprecedented public health emergency. I know our community appreciates and values everything our members are doing every day to ensure they can count on critical public services during this crisis. Unfortunately, with ongoing facility closures and program disruptions our employers have announced that Auxiliary staff will not be scheduled for shifts or receive pay continuance past April 17, 2020.
I’m writing to discuss the recent announcement and what it means for CUPE 387 members. The COVID -19 crisis is unprecedented for our community, as are the ramifications for all 387 members – many of which were not anticipated in our Collective Agreement
To address effects of COVID-19, your local executive has been working collaboratively with our employers to continue delivering critical public services while minimizing the impact on CUPE 387 members.
We have agreed to a Letter of Understanding with the City of New Westminster, New Westminster Library Board, and the New Westminster Police Board that guards the health and safety of all CUPE 387 members and protects the long-term job security and seniority of members not being scheduled for work or facing potential temporary layoffs.
The Letter of Understanding provides for wage continuance that goes beyond what is provided in our Collective Agreement, allows for possible reassignment to other positions or work locations, and will extend benefits for members no longer being scheduled for 180 days from their last day worked.
I have attached a Frequently Asked Questions guide on how the Letter of Understanding will impact CUPE 387 members, please read carefully. If you would like a copy of the LOU, please contact the local office and we will have it emailed out to you.
We will be holding an online general membership meeting soon to discuss the Letter of Understanding and other issues facing our members during this public health emergency. Please look for details shortly at cupe387.ca and via your personal email. If you have questions or concerns in the meantime, please contact your executive at 604-520-5644.
For members that have been affected by the workforce adjustments, CUPE National has online resources to assist you in accessing COVID-19 income support and other federal relief programs. They can be found at cupe.ca/COVID-19.
This is a difficult time for all of us. Protecting our families during this crisis is a priority, and please know CUPE 387 will be doing everything it can to help its members. We urge you to continue following the directions of the Provincial Medical Health Officer. Stay safe.
Hardeep S Maghera
CUPE 387 – President
Frequently Asked Questions
Letter of Understanding on a workforce adjustment between CUPE 387 and the City of New Westminster, New Westminster Library Board, and New Westminster Police Board
Q: Why is this happening and what is the goal of this Letter of Understanding?
A: Our community, economy, workplaces and way of life is feeling the effects of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) public health crisis, many of which are not considered by our current structures and practices and Collective Agreements. The purpose of this Letter of Understanding is:
- to protect CUPE members’ employment security and seniority
- for our union to work proactively with the Employer to reduce the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on workers;
- to provide as much certainty and information as we can about what you can expect in the weeks or months to come; and
- to do as much as possible to protect workers in the long-term so members’ jobs and livelihood are restored when the Public Health Crisis is over.
Q: Who does this apply to?
A: This Letter of Understanding applies to all members of CUPE 387 at and the City of New Westminster, New Westminster Library Board, and New Westminster Police Board.
Q: Why is a Letter of Understanding needed in addition to the existing Collective Agreements?
A: Our Collective Agreements cover many different circumstances but what is happening currently with the COVID-19 public health emergency is beyond what the layoff and recall provisions of our Collective Agreements can address, or that were ever thought about having to cover. We need to guarantee seniority and job protection for the long term. The Letter of Understanding was agreed to ensure that the principles of the Collective Agreement continue to apply with a different approach during the crisis.
Q: Does my Collective Agreement still apply?
A: Yes, it does. This Letter of Understanding adds to the existing Collective Agreements by modifying or deferring certain Clauses, in particular those around, layoff and recall, and hours of work, which cannot be applied as normal during this crisis. For those items not covered by Letter of Understanding, the parts of the Collective Agreement will still apply as normal.
Q: What if there is a disagreement between this Letter of Understanding and the Collective Agreement?
A: If ever there is a difference between the requirements of the Letter of Understanding and the Collective Agreement, the Letter terms apply over those in the Collective Agreement while it is in force. The Collective Agreement language still applies to all other requirements. There is a special dispute resolution procedure in the Letter of Understanding.
Q: What sort of continuation of wages do I qualify for if I am an Auxiliary employee?
A: Auxiliary employees will receive pay continuance up to and including April 17, 2020, based on each auxiliary’s average weekly hours worked in the prior 3 months. Auxiliary employees are expected to be available during this period for assignment as required.
Q: What sort continuation of wages do all other employees qualify for?
A: All Regular Full Time, Regular Part Time, Temporary Full Time, and Temporary Part Time employees will continue to work their scheduled hours and receive regular wage continuance at least up to and including April 30, 2020.
Q: What happens if they are more staff reductions?
A: Any temporary layoffs will be determined on work unit basis, by classification, and by reverse order of seniority. There is no bumping – this is intended to minimize disruption and to ensure agility in making adjustments.
Staff adjustments are in the following order: Temporary employees if necessary, and then Regular employees if necessary. Exceptions to this sequence may occur based on operational requirements.
Q: What happens with my benefits?
A: Affected employees will receive benefit continuance for 180 days (6 months) from last date worked.
Q: Can I be reassigned to a different job during the COVID-19 crisis?
A: Regular Full Time, Regular Part Time, Temporary Full time, and Temporary Part Time employees may be re-assigned to another location, position, work assignment, or department to perform work for which they are qualified.
If an employee is assigned to a higher paying position, they will be paid the higher rate. If assigned to a lower paying position, they will maintain their base position rate of pay.
Q: When does this Letter of Understanding take effect and when does it end?
A: The Framework takes effect immediately and will continue to be in place until the Provincial Medical Health Officer has determined that the COVID-19 outbreak is “substantially resolved” and will apply until either party gives 30 days notice.