Paws off our Pensions

CUPE Local 1975 is facing a serious pension attack from the University of Saskatchewan. The Local represents 1900 members who work at the University in a variety of non-academic positions. Local 1975 members are members of a modest Defined Benefit (DB) pension plan that has worked well for nearly 70 years. The employer has stated that it plans to unilaterally close the DB plan and unnecessarily impose an inferior Defined Contribution (DC) pension plan in its place. What’s worse, the University is threatening to do this unilaterally, outside of the bargaining process!

Local 1975 is currently in collective bargaining, hoping to resolve this issue and preserve both their DB plan and their right to determine any pension plan changes at the bargaining table. Talks, however, have reached an impasse and a provincial conciliator is being appointed. The Local has a strong strike mandate from its members.

Like all workers, Local 1975 members deserve a decent and secure retirement after a career of work. Like all workers, Local 1975 members deserve to be able to bargain the terms and conditions of their employment, instead of having them imposed unilaterally by an employer.

Support from CUPE Locals and labour movement allies around the country plays an important role in helping a Local achieve a bargaining standoff or work stoppage win. An attack on one Local’s pension is an attack on every Local’s pension. An attack on one Local’s bargaining rights is an attack on all of our bargaining rights.

Please take these two easy steps to stand with Local 1975 today:

1. Send Local 1975 a message of support and solidarity. If your Local has been through a pension or bargaining fight and won, tell Local 1975 your story. Show them how CUPE members across the country stick together! Let them know you’ll be standing with them if a work stoppage becomes necessary.

Please send messages of support to cupe1975@sasktel.net

2. Circulate the Local 1975 petition linked below to your locals, networks, social media accounts, etc.

https://cupe.ca/tell-u-s-paws-our-pension

For more information, visit the Local’s website at: https://1975.cupe.ca/

Myth Buster: Federal funding in post-secondary education

For decades in Canada, governments were the most important funders of post-secondary education, providing more than 80 per cent of the revenue of colleges and universities. But over the past two decades government funding has dropped to only 50 per cent, leaving students to pick up more of the tab. We urgently need a greater investment in post-secondary education from the federal government. Don’t fall for these common excuses as to why the federal government shouldn’t provide more money.

Myth: The federal government is already spending a lot of money on PSE.

Reality: The federal government’s cash transfer for post-secondary education is smaller today than it was twenty-five years ago, even after adjusting for inflation. On a per student basis, the difference is even more striking. In 1992-93, the federal government’s contribution (adjusted for inflation) amounted to $3,291 per post-secondary student; in 2015-16, the federal government’s per student contribution was only $2,007 per student. That is almost 40 per cent less per student!

Myth: The federal government can’t afford to spend any more money on PSE.

Reality: The federal government’s capacity to spend depends on the size of the economy, which can be measured using GDP. In 1992-93, the federal government’s cash transfer for PSE was equivalent to 0.41 per cent of GDP. In 2014-15, it was only 0.20 per cent. That is less than half, compared to the size of our economy!

Myth: The best way the federal government can help students is by providing students with grants and loans, not by transferring funding to the provinces.

Reality: The current student aid system is complex, relies heavily on regressive tax credits, and includes too many back-ended programs that require students to pay up front and get reimbursed later. It would be much more efficient, effective, transparent, and fair to fund the institutions and reduce tuition fees. Higher income students can then pay the government back through progressive income taxes once they hit the job market.

Myth: Post-secondary education is a private benefit, so the federal government should not subsidize higher education with public dollars.

Reality: Post-secondary education is an invaluable public good—important to everyone. The post-secondary sector makes a significant contribution to advancing Canada’s social, cultural and economic well-being, as well as its ability to innovate, respond to change, and maintain a vibrant and stable democracy. It ensures that employers have access to a highly skilled workforce, while helping to drive job creation and employment in a new economy. Accessible higher education, provided by public institutions and supported by public funds, also helps to lessen social and economic disparities and to create engaged, well-informed citizens.

Myth: Schools are spending too much money on administration anyways, so we shouldn’t boost their revenue with more federal dollars.

Reality: We may not like all of the budget choices schools are making. But cutting public funding encourages the corporatization of our education sector, which contributes to budgetary choices like valuing management over teaching and research, the core mission of the school. A better way to deal with corporatization is to provide public funding with strict rules regarding transparency and accountability.

https://cupe.ca/myth-buster-federal-funding-post-secondary-education

Article from CUPE.ca/Our Time to Act – Post Secondary Education Campaign

CUPE’s 10th Anniversary BBQ

This year is the 10th anniversary of CUPE 4879. We hope you’ll join us to celebrate at the CUPE BBQ.

This is a great chance to meet your CUPE Exec and connect with other members. We’re serving burgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, chips, soda, and cake. The CUPE BBQ is one of our most popular social events of the year. This year we’re bringing back everything you love and more! There will be prizes, including an overnight stay at SunPeaks Resort, and you can enter our draw for a Harrison Hot Springs vacation giveaway!

So bring your co-workers, friends, and good vibes! Enter to win prizes, and a chance to win the Harrison Hot Springs giveaway!

• Cost: free! All CUPE 4879 members and retirees are welcome!
• Location: TRU Horticulture Gardens
• September 20 from 11am to 2pm
Please RSVP to Connie at cupe4879@shaw.ca.

Website and Social Media Updates

CUPE 4879 Communication Committee (comm comm) has been busy updating and making changes to our website, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

This committee wants to provide relevant and current information to our members and to offer convenient ways for members to stay active in the union. Our website has information about the union, committee members, and resources for members.

The “comm comm” members are looking for story submissions and ideas from our members for future updates. Please let us know what’s going on in your department, in the TRU community, and tell us if there is anything else you may want us to know.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to watch our progress.

CUPE 4879 Marches in Pride Parade

Members of CUPE 4879 joined TRU students and faculty in the 2018 TRU Pride Parade on September 12. Though the weather was cool for this year’s parade, there was a huge turn-out of CUPE members for the parade.

Spirits were high to hear CUPE President Lois Rugg’s speech in support of LGBTTQI workers both inside and outside our workplace: “We know that thirty percent of members of LGBTTQI communities experience discrimination in the workplace, and we recognize that transgender, gender-diverse and two-spirit people experience disproportionate unemployment levels, harassment and discrimination at work. We encourage our members and everyone in the TRU community to work towards equity and fairness.”

CUPE members wore brightly coloured necklaces and carried flags and home-made signs to show their solidarity and support of LGBTTQI students and workers.

The Pride Parade was hosted by the TRUSU Equity Committee to celebrate the LGBTTQI+ community and make TRU a safe space to study, work, and live no matter of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

JE updates

CUPE 4879’s Executive and Negotiation Committee have been working with HR to meet commitments made in the job evaluation letter of understanding (LOU) ratified earlier this year.

Though there was a delay in the first payment, we are happy to report that red-circled CUPE members have been receiving the lump-sum payments promised in the July 2018 LOU. Under the terms of the LOU, members who were red-circled in their positions after JE review between January 2015 to July 2018 have received lump sum payments for lost wage increases during this time period. The July deadline specified in the LOU was not met due to staff shortages in HR and Finance; however, it appears all eligible CUPE members have received the payments owed as of the middle of August. There will be one more payment made for increases not covered by the first payment date, as per the letter of understanding.

Your Negotiations Committee has met several times this summer and brought in an expert in job evaluation from CUPE National to meet the September 28 deadline for an agreement with TRU to improve the JE point system. The Union hopes to be able to negotiate changes that will bring some members out of red-circling completely, and the changes we are suggesting to the point system may also lift other members in positions that are not red-circled into a higher pay band if negotiations are successful. According to Lois Rugg, President of CUPE 4879, “It will be challenging to help those affected by a payband loss of two or more levels. Unfortunately, we don’t anticipate that all members will be un-redcircled as a result of these negotiations, but the employer seems earnest in wanting to make the much-needed changes. It will likely come down to what those changes will cost the employer. We’re doing everything we can to support our members and create a fair system for job evaluation.”

The committee met with the employer on September 13th and 14th to present proposals for changes, and CUPE Executive will report the results once an agreement has been reached. Any changes to the plan will be brought back to the membership for their approval.

Lunch n’ Learn planned for new members

Welcome to our NEW CUPE 4879 members

Bring yourself and a friend to the upcoming CUPE lunch and learn session.  The session is scheduled to take place on:

Date: September 26, 2018

Time: 12:00-1:00 pm

Place: TRUSU Lecture Hall (Campus Activity Centre)

Not only will there be a FREE pizza lunch, but you will also have the opportunity to meet other new members like yourself and learn about what CUPE 4879 can do for you.

Some of the topics that will be covered in the session:

  • Introduction to CUPE 4879
  • What is the purpose of the union?
  • Various ways to get involved
  • Communication and knowing your collective agreement
  • Benefits information
  • Questions and answers

If you would like a FREE pizza lunch and are especially interested in what our union can do to support you, we strongly encourage you to attend this session.  We know that the information that you will learn will be valuable throughout your career at TRU. There is limited seating so please register as soon as possible.

As new members, we would also like the opportunity to get to know you!  Please send us a short introduction about yourself.  We look forward to meeting you!  Send your introductions via email to cupe4879@shaw.ca

 

Welcome Back

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Welcome back students, staff and faculty on behalf of the 600 CUPE 4879 Members at TRU in Kamloops and Williams Lake. We are the support staff, behind the scenes and on the front lines, here to make your TRU experience a positive and successful one as you study and work towards achieving your learning and life goals. Best wishes for a great year.