Welcome Back

Welcome back to all students, staff, and faculty to the 2019 fall semester at Thompson Rivers University (TRU).

The members of CUPE 4879 are support staff who work at TRU in Kamloops and Williams Lake. We are very pleased to be a part of every students’ journey, as they study, learn, find their path, and prepare for new careers and life experiences.

Our work contributes to the success of post-secondary students in earning their certificates, diplomas, degrees, and apprenticeships. We directly support students, faculty, administration and maintain the campus infrastructure. We are proud to provide necessary services that benefit TRU, the Kamloops and Williams Lake communities, and the province as a whole.

CUPE 4879 represents between 600-700 workers. Our membership includes employees in roles such as utility workers, technicians, admission officers, electricians and carpenters, administrative assistants, library workers, course editors, production technicians, marketing writers, orientation leaders, advisors, coordinators and student positions on campus, to name but a few of the many roles we fill.

We know that post-secondary education benefits everyone in the community, and we are very proud of the work we do for all students. We look forward to supporting every student throughout their time at TRU.

Best wishes for a successful school year! “We’ve got your back!”

CUPE 4879 November & December News

 

THREE $1000 EDUCATION AWARDS UP FOR GRABS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every year CUPE 4879 offers three education awards of $1000 to our members and their family. This year’s deadline for applications is December 20.

One award is for a student in a trade, technical, or vocational program; the second award is for a student in an academic program; and the third will be awarded to a student in either a trade or academic program.

Applicants must be in a full-time course load and must be a member in good standing of CUPE 4879, or have a parent, guardian, or partner who is a member in good standing.

Visit the CUPE 4879 website or contact the CUPE office for an application form and to find out the award requirements.

Don’t forget! The deadline for applying is noon on December 20, 2018.

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MARK YOUR CALENDAR: IT’S ALMOST TIME FOR CUPE 4879’S HO-HO-HOLIDAY SOCIAL!

It’s that time of year again when your CUPE Social Committee and Executive work like Santa’s elves to put together the CUPE Holiday Social. This years’ event will follow our (very short) December General Meeting, held on Wednesday, December 12th at 4:35 pm in OL 127.

There will be finger food, drinks, fun holiday games, prizes, and festive tunes, but new to the party this year is a craft corner where you can make an ornament for the tree and/or a Christmas card.

So, bring your holiday spirit and Christmas cheer and join us for what is sure to be a fun-filled evening (but not too much fun because YouTube exists).

We hope to see everyone on Wednesday, December 12th at 4:35 pm in OL 127.

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CUPE 4879 NATIONAL SECTOR COUNCIL CONFERENCE 2018

 

 

 

 

Lois Rugg, Debbie Wasylyshyn, Karl Fultz, and Linda Fleck represented CUPE 4879 at the CUPE Sector Conference in Ottawa. This years’ conference was held from November 6 – 9, 2018. Many of the themes covered are important for our workplace: fighting privatization, protecting our pensions, precarious work, funding for post-secondary, anti-oppression and anti-racism, making progress towards truth and reconciliation, and preventing violence and sexual harassment in post-secondary institutions.

Jagmeet Singh, Leader of Federal NDP, gave the closing keynote address. He spoke of our “courageous optimism” to continue fighting for public infrastructure, including internet, to be kept in public hands.

“The Struggle is something we have to do – it is an act of love and courage.” Jagmeet Singh

Our members were active throughout the conference, and brought back some important take-aways to share:

  • Violence in the Workplace: Violence in the workplace can impact any of us, but is especially bad in health care and education sectors. Check out CUPE’s Violence: It’s NOT Part of the Job campaign. We learned of staff being told to expect to get hit/abused by patients, teachers and teacher’s aids to expect to be hit/abused by students, high school janitorial staff are expected to clean up after a suicide and only offered a EAP phone number instead of any kind of critical incidence debriefing/meaningful care.
  • Pensions Are Under Attack: The University of Saskatchewan is threatening to make unilateral cuts to their support staff’s pension plan. CUPE 1975 is fighting back with a “Paws Off Our Pension” campaign. We can see what is happening at universities across Canada, and we will stand together to protect our pensions.
  • Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action: We need to create space for marginalized peoples to participate in our workplaces and the labour movement: Celebrate special days, hand over some of the power, CUPE 3902’s “Sick of Racism” campaign, etc.
  • Crisis in Post-Secondary Funding: “Our Time to Act” Campaign: Government funding and precarious work are two issues that affect all of us at TRU. Under the BC Liberals, federal transfer payments for post-secondary actually INCREASED but provincial funding to universities went DOWN. Meanwhile, our wages have stayed frozen or been downgraded due to rising cost of living. Many of us at TRU are living pay-cheque to pay-cheque in uncertain jobs that could expire at any time. We know what has been happening, and we know that together we can reverse this. The 2019 Federal election is fast approaching. Now is our chance to put these issues on the ballot in 2019 through the “Our Time to Act” campaign.

“We need to take a longer view, look at what the fallout will be if we don’t look after these things. For example, a university that saves x-thousand dollars today on decimating pensions will cost general taxpayers x-MILLION dollars in future welfare payments to retirees.”

OUR TIME TO ACT!

After years of government underfunding, access to high quality Post-Secondary Education is at risk. It’s our time to act!

CUPE 4879 and many CUPE Locals representing post-secondary institutions across the province and across Canada are raising awareness through the “Our Time To Act” campaign. We hope you will join us. It’s time for the federal government to be a real partner in post-secondary education again. The campaign is asking for the federal government to:

  • Adopt a Post-Secondary Education Act with clear conditions and accountability measures for federal funding.
  • Create a dedicated Post-Secondary Transfer.
  • Increase transfer funding by 40 percent to restore the level of per-student PSE funding that was provided in 1993.
  • Work with the provinces to reduce and eventually eliminate tuition fees for post-secondary education.

High-quality, funded, and accessible post-secondary education is essential for all of us. We’re asking everyone to help:

To learn more about the campaign, please visit https://cupe.ca/our-time-act.

CUPE 4879 COMMITTEE MEMBERS APPRECIATION LUNCHEON

A appreciation luncheon was held for our committee members on November 22, 2018.

Thank you so much for all your hard work throughout the year!

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WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

 

 

 

CUPE 4879 Communication Committee (comm comm) has been busy updating and making changes to our websiteFacebook page, and Twitter account.

We’re 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.

CUPE 4879: SUPPORTING STUDENTS AND THE TRU COMMUNITY

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

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.