Welcome to September!
Dear CUPE 4879 Members
Welcome back to the fall semester!. We hope you are enjoying these last few days of summer heat this week.
We hope you are keeping well despite of the challenges and worry that you may be facing during this difficult time. We would like to continue to remind you to reach out to the Executive and Committee members if you have questions or need assistance. Our contact information is listed on our website, 4879.cupe.ca You may also contact us through our CUPE Admin Assistant, Connie Angman at firstname.lastname@example.org or Presidentcupe4879@shaw.ca
We have been informed that there are several members experiencing some difficulty with access to the CUPE List. IT Services is aware of the problem and they are working diligently to find a resolution. We will send out any important messages to your individual addresses via Mail Chimp to ensure that you receive any information in a timely manner.
Here are some important updates:
CUPE 4879 General Meeting:
We sent out a general meeting notice earlier this week, which will be held on Wednesday September 9th starting at 4:35pm via Microsoft Teams. Connie also sent out the agenda along with an invite to either your TRU email or your personal email depending on the information you provided to us. Please RSVP to Connie to ensure that you receive the meeting information.
The agenda includes reviewing and voting on our annual budget. There will also be some positions up for election for the remainder of the term (to January 2021). If you are interested in running for any of the positions that are available, please send us an email prior to 12 noon on Sept 9th to let us know of your intentions to run and that you would like to let your name stand. If you would like more information about the positions and what they require, please do not hesitate to contact us.
TRU Announces Layoffs will go forward
TRU has announced that we are facing a 9-million-dollar deficit. As you have heard, TRU will act on some of the layoff notices identified in June. This news is very disappointing for all of us. HR is continuing to work with members who have been given notice so they can make informed decisions. Members considering the bump option will be assisted by HR, who will in turn, look at resumes and the job descriptions in detail to determine and confirm their potential bump. Members who were identified in the additional layoffs will soon be receiving a notice as to when or if their layoff will be acted on. Members affected will have their options presented to them and a Union representative will also be available. Please contact Lois or any members of the grievance committee if you have any questions about your current situation. For general information on the layoff language you may find this under Article 10 in our Collective Agreement: https://4879.cupe.ca/files/2019/11/CUPE-4879-Collective-Agreement-April-1-2019-to-March-31-2022_Final.pdf (starting on page 20)
There have been numerous questions raised about the layoff process both from the executive and our members. Clearly, the publicity regarding layoffs and the information shared with constituents has primarily been regarding CUPE members which we know is distressing. It gives the impression that CUPE has made many of the sacrifices during this pandemic crisis. On the contrary, we are hearing informally, that other actions are coinciding with our layoffs with other constituents around the TRU and Williams Lake campus. Some of the actions appear to include administrators who have volunteered to take wage cuts and some manager positions being eliminated. Early retirement incentives will likely be taking place for both admin and faculty as well. With some programs being cut, we know that many sessional faculty contracts are not being renewed and are down by about 20% or more. This is not the kind of news we would like to hear however, it may be helpful for us to understand that it is not just CUPE members being affected by this. We are all in this together.
To leave this bit of news on a positive note, we have had some members whose layoff notice has been rescinded (20 and counting; possibly more to come). Some of our members have also been able to take advantage of the temporary leave.
Temporary leaves have been extended for some members on notice. Particularly, for positions that are anticipated to be recalled in the next 4 months. The LOU was written so that should leaves need to be extended, they would be covered until the end of December, 2020. They are tied to the CERB benefits which will now be converted to EI benefits. TRU has permission to pay the $950.00 top up without affecting individual EI payments. In addition, seniority is maintained, and benefits will continue. Members will also continue to accrue vacation and will be eligible to buy back their pension and TRU will make their contribution. The one time $1000.00 provincial funding is still available until December 2020 as well. Any further leaves would have to be negotiated should the Emergency Benefit be extended and available past December 2020/January 2021.
TRU has also indicated that everyone can still apply for the temporary leave, but it must be approved by your Manager as per the LOU. There will only be a few members who will be approved for the leave, however, if you are interested in being considered, talk to your Manager and HR.
Early Retirement Incentive Package (ERIP)
We sent a draft to the CUPE list to give members a general idea of what the package would look like. Since sending out this information, TRU has discovered that there are 400 plus employees on campus that are over the age of 55. If too many people are interested in the offer, TRU could lose a lot of people and they would be in trouble. TRU is currently looking at eligibility parameters such as who the offer will be available to and confirming details. We will get that information out to you as soon as HR presents it to the Union.
We anticipate that they will select an age group to start with, for example age 62 and up and then expand it to other age groups depending on what the interest is. We are working on some resources for those members considering the ERIP if they are eligible including info on BC Forum, the BC Forum Group Benefit plan, and other helpful resources. TRU will hold sessions for those interested and eligible for the ERIP once it has been determined.
Should there be a substantial interest in the ERIP, we are hopeful that it will mean more notices will be rescinded and further layoffs occurring may be prevented.
We understand that this has been a difficult time for all and especially, for members with layoff notices and awaiting to hear TRU’s decisions and having to make difficult choices. We encourage any of our members to contact Sam Nielsen, our CUPE Wellness Advisor for assistance and resources. Please also contact Lifeworks, our Employee Assistance Program for many other resources available. It has been a long haul and we appreciate all of the support that many of you have provided to our colleagues in this very difficult time, all while supporting our TRU and Kamloops community.
The CUPE 4879 Executive hopes that we will see some of you at our General meeting. It will be nice to see and hear familiar faces and voices again. Please do not hesitate to contact us at any time with questions, concerns or just to say hello.
The Executive is fully aware that our members continue to work hard to encourage students to enroll at TRU, and to make sure that programs are supported and running smoothly and the campus is safe and well maintained. We are all working hard in doing our part to ensure we can return to a better normal. We are forever grateful for all your hard work.
On behalf of the CUPE 4879 Executive