June 10, 2020 – Summary of our Membership Meeting via Blue Jeans

Special note:     

Since our meeting on June 10, the Union has met with the employer and we will soon send further updates. We are going to be holding a special meeting on Tuesday or Wednesday next week to discuss the temporary leave letter due to this pandemic. We have decided to bring this letter back to the membership for ratification. In the coming days, we will be providing instructions via email, detailing how you can participate. Please watch out for this notice. 


CUPE 4879 General Meeting Summary – June 10, 2020

Executive present: Lois Rugg, Cindy Ozouf, Laszlo Nemes, Karl Fultz

Regrets:  Cynthia Bosdet, Lyn Ferec

National Rep:  Harry Nott

Recorder:  Melissa Schuurman

Meeting called to order at 4:35

Presidents Report:

The COVID-19 Pandemic has created a potential for a significant decrease in Student enrollments including international enrollments for the September 2020 semester and beyond. In order to mitigate this risk and to address the financial implications of a significant enrollment drop, TRU has made the decision to issue a layoff notice to approximately 80 CUPE members starting June 3, 2020. We know that this worrisome for all of us, but TRU has indicated that they value the relationship with each of their employees and endeavors to maintain these relationships whenever possible. Their hope is to rescind most, if not all of the notices. TRU and CUPE has been engaged in on-going discussions regarding the impacts of the pandemic. We are both working together to consider other strategies that might be possible in order to minimize the potential for layoffs.

Union stewards Lois Rugg, Cindy Ozouf, Melissa Schuurman, and Jackie Enders have been attending the meetings with the affected employees, which began on June 3 through the 9th. Meetings were held discuss the notices and to present the layoff options under Article 10 of our collective agreement. Members were informed that they do not yet have to make any decisions. TRU hopes to have a clearer picture of the financial implications in late August and into mid-September.

The Union continues to evaluate alternate options with TRU to help lessen the impact. One of the options is to include an early retirement incentive. We are still waiting for a proposal from the employer on what they would be willing to do for eligible members. However, they have indicated that this would be an option.

CUPE has also been supporting and negotiating terms of temporary unpaid leaves (furloughs) – about an hour prior to the general meeting, the Union reached a tentative agreement to use temporary leaves as an option. More details will be provided next week as we finalize the details in a meeting with HR on Friday. We are feeling optimistic that we were able to make significant gains concerning the unpaid temporary leave. We held off on agreeing to the original proposal until we could agree on a significant improvement that would be benefit our members. Thanks to Harry for his support in reaching this tentative agreement. It was noted by our National rep, Harry Nott, that there are legal issues/implications with calling it a furlough, so, going forward, it will now be referred to as a temporary leave.  The employer has agreed but you may still hear it referred to by some as furlough.

For members slated to go on the unpaid temporary leave, they will be able to apply for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and a one-time provincial emergency fund of $1000. There will be more details to follow early next week.

Please refer to the CUPE Email list for the detailed answers to questions posed during the meeting.  

In conclusion, please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any further questions. Lois and the members of the grievance committee can discuss the options and support you whenever possible. We are all in this together and must continue to support each other.

Thank you to all of the Committee members and our colleagues who have been supporting members. Thank you to the Executive and our Assistant for ensuring that the business continues to get done through this COVID-19 crisis. Thank you to our National Rep for his support and help to guide us through this unprecedented circumstance.

Meeting was adjourned at 6:15pm.



Update to the information provided at CUPE 4879 General Meeting summary May 13th, 2020

Dear Members:

As the University enters into the next phase of scenario planning that may see reductions in revenues, TRU has stated it will require a reduction in staffing. The University is planning for both the worst and the best case scenarios while keeping a commitment to quality learning and research and working with CUPE, TRUFA and APA to find solutions to preserve jobs in the long term. Many of the Departments have already held meetings and other Departments will be holding meetings soon to discuss this and what the options may look like.

The Union continues to meet with the employer to look at options including furloughs (temporary leaves) for those that can be furloughed for the summer. The employer has again indicated that they are considering, on a case by case basis, temporary reassignments where staff have experience/skills to support other tasks and roles where work may be temporarily increased and their own work has seen a decrease.

Layoff notices for some support staff could still be issued as early as June. However, in this event, the University is planning for worst case scenarios – once fall enrollment numbers stabilized, they will be in a better position to assess lay-off notices that may be rescinded for some positions come the fall. To minimize the impact on members, options such as bumping may not take effect until the layoff is confirmed in the fall while TRU determines if they can rescind some of the layoffs. Their decision will be made once they have a better assessment of their financial situation. The Union will seek a firm date for that decision. We will continue to update you as soon as we have more information.

TRU is considering the following when making these decisions:

  • That they are able to provide a safe and healthy work environment for staff and students.
  • That they want to maintain a long term relationship with all faculty and staff.
  • They need to protect TRU’s financial position, budgets and forecasts, short and long-term.
  • They must also ensure that they support student and faculty successes.

Along with these steps, the University has halted discretionary spending, temporarily reduced corporate credit cards, froze many capital projects and continue to hold hiring with exceptions of positions deemed critical to support the response to COVID-19.

CUPE is working with the employer to try to minimize the impact of short and long term effects to our members.

We anticipate that we will know who will be affected by TRU’s decisions the beginning of June or possibly as early as next week. Once the employer provides the Union with the details and information we will set up a special meeting to discuss and answer your questions. We know members will have lots of questions and we encourage you to ask them at the meeting, as many of you will have the same questions.

In the meantime, please feel free to reach and contact us at cupe4879@shaw.ca, or presidentcupe4879@shaw.ca or by contacting Lois on her cell 250.318.9919 with any questions or concerns regarding any issues that may be arising in your workplace of if you just need to talk.

We understand the stress and anxiety that you may be feeling at this time. We will all get through this. Stay safe and be well.

Lois Rugg, President
on behalf of the CUPE 4879 Executive.

COVID-19 Information

Dear Members

The Union office is continuing to monitor information concerning the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and has been in contact with the University in regards to their response to this situation and the impact on CUPE 4879 members and others at our Williams Lake and Kamloops Campuses.

We encourage you to visit https://www.tru.ca/current/wellness/covid-19.html for further information, updates and communications from the University in regard to COVID-19 measures.

The local would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the importance of being extra vigilant in regard to handwashing and other hygiene habits, as well as staying home if you are feeling unwell. It is important that we take care of ourselves but to also look out for others and their well-being.

We are enquiring with the University as to how they will handle any potential closures, having people work from home if they are able and/or ensuring people will be paid in event of any closure or If people are self-quarantining for related reasons.

We will keep you updated with further information as soon as it becomes available.

Lois Rugg

Lois Rugg, President
Pronouns: she/her/hers
CUPE Local 4879
Thompson Rivers University
Support Staff

Congratulations to our 2020 Scholarship recipients!

A BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Danna Bach and Peter Hrkac (Cupe members) and Matthew Falsetta (child of a Cupe member) as our successful recipients of this year’s scholarship!

Wishing all of you the best with your studies! Keep up the great work!

Tony Kuczma, our committee member handing out the cheque to the recipients.

(From top left to right Peter Hrkac and Matthew Falsetta, bottom: Danna Bach:


Coldest Night of the Year 2020

It’s cold out there. CUPE 4879 is proud to participate in the Coldest Night of the Year 2020 February 22.

Members of CUPE 4879 along with members of the Kamloops and District Labour Council are walking the walk in Kamloops for the Mustard Seed Organization. Together with thousands of Canadians across the country, we’re walking and fundraising to support and serve hungry, homeless, and hurting people and families in our community.

Please sign up today for Team Kamloops and District Labour Council and help us reach our goal. Here is a quick link to team Kamloops and District Labour Council page on CNOY.org.


It’s easy to donate or join the team to participate! The first six (6) CUPE 4879 member who sign up will get a donation from CUPE 4879 of $50 to help support your fundraising efforts.

CUPE SCHOLARSHIP 2020 now accepting applications

Three $1000 education awards are available. Preference will be given for one award to a student in a trade, technical, or vocational program; for the second award, preference will be given to a student in an academic program, and the third will be awarded to a student in either a trade or academic program.

Please refer to the downloadable application form for eligibility requirements.

CLICK here to Download a copy of the CUPE Scholarship application form

Negotiated Benefit Improvements

Here is a quick reference to the most recent negotiated benefit improvements for the CUPE 4879/TRU 2019-2022 Collective Agreement.

Article 22 (d) Bereavement Leave. Increased from 4 days to 5 days.

Benefits as of October 2019 – Paramedical increases from $200 to $500 per calendar year, limited to $75 per visit; except unlimited maximum for physiotherapist

As of October 2019 – Surgical stockings (compression stockings) increased form $25 to $100 calendar year maximum

April 2020 – Orthodontics will be increased from $1500 to $3000 lifetime maximum

April 2020 – Hearing Aids – increased from $600 to $1500 per five (5) years

April 2021 – Vision care – (prescription glasses/contact/laser eye surgery) – increased from $300 to $400 per two (2) years