Decriminalization a ‘good first step’ in destigmatizing drug use, says CUPE Health Care Presidents Council

On June 1, 2022 the CUPE Health Care Presidents Council released the following statement:

VANCOUVER—Yesterday’s announcement that the federal government plans to decriminalize small-scale possession of illicit drugs in B.C. represents a long-overdue policy shift away from stigmatizing substance use and instead addressing drug addiction as a health issue, says CUPE’s Health Care Presidents Council (HCPC).Starting next year, Canadians aged 18 years and older will be able to possess up to a cumulative 2.5 grams of opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA within British Columbia. This exemption from the law criminalizing drug possession means there will be no arrests, charges or seizures for personal possession at or below the 2.5-gram threshold.

The new federal policy follows a request from the provincial government for an exemption. Both federal and provincial ministers for mental health and addictions, Carolyn Bennett and Sheila Malcolmson, respectively, announced the policy shift together at yesterday’s media conference.

“CUPE health care workers are encouraged by this first step in addressing the opioid crisis that many of our members have been working for years to combat. It’s a good first step,” said HCPC chair Tuesday Andrich.

“We have been calling for just such a policy change for a very long time, so it’s good to see all levels of government taking the issue seriously. This kind of collaboration is difficult, but the united front that B.C. and Ottawa have shown demonstrates that all levels of government can work together to effect positive change.”

Andrich added that much more work needs to be done to address the poisoned drug supply crisis in B.C.

“Now that we are seeing this change around decriminalization, let’s see if they can do it on the safe supply issue,” she said.

“Many people still hide their addiction and use drugs alone, and with an epidemic of illicit drug toxicity, this can mean dying alone. Evidence-based research—and our own experience in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island—tells us that safe supply will have the greatest impact on saving lives, and CUPE will continue to advocate for these necessary changes.”

 

PHS Nurses License Fee Reimbursement

To: PHS Nurses

We are now prepared to start collecting information from the members to begin
processing the fee reimbursements for the annual license fee paid to the BC
College of Nurses and Midwives. This is to be done in-line with the Provincial
Collective Agreement (the NBA), Appendix GG. For your reference the NBA is
viewable here.

Eligible employees will be reimbursed $215.00 of the annual license fee.

We require specific information from employees who wish to apply for the fee
reimbursement.  The information that we will need is:

  1. Your name (as recorded with the Employer);
  2. Your Practicing License Renewal receipt OR a copy of the confirmation email
    from BCCNM confirming your Practicing License renewal; and
  3. Your current postal address so that we can mail a cheque to you.

If you have already applied for the License Fee Reimbursement through the BCNU
(i.e. if you work as a nurse at an additional employer where you are a member of the
BCNU and applied through their online portal), you do not need to apply a second
time through CUPE 1004.

Please send all the information we have requested to info@cupe1004.ca, in an email
titled ‘Nursing License Fee Reimbursement – [YOUR NAME]’.

We kindly request that you provide us with your information by May 31st, 2022.

If you have any further questions, please contact CUPE 1004 Business Agent Alex Braidek at
alex.braidek@cupe1004.ca.

2022 COV and Parks Bargaining Committee Election

Nominations were held to elect a Bargaining Committee in preparation for upcoming City of Vancouver and Parks Board collective agreement negotiations.

Elections will be held electronically (online) from May 2 to May 9, 2022.   Voter credentials are being sent via email to all Local 1004 City of Vancouver members that have a valid email address on file with the Local. Anyone who does not have email or did not receive their voter credentials and wishes to vote, please contact the Union office asap at 604-324-2440.

Three committee members and one alternate will be elected from both the City of Vancouver and Parks.

The following candidates were nominated for the City of Vancouver (click here to view their bios):

  • Paul Baratta (Waterworks)
  • Michael Lupo (Streets)
  • Scott McIntosh (FMS)
  • Adwin Pal (Waterworks)
  • Greg Royle (Sanitation)

The following candidates were nominated for the Parks Board (click here to view their bios):

  • Saul Blakey (Horticulture)
  • Julian Bogas (Horticulture)
  • Jason Keurvorst (Beaches/Pools)
  • Shawn Philley (Horticulture)
  • Alex Rothbauer (Urban Forestry)

*Please note:   If you do not receive the email notices or do not have an email address and would like to vote, you can contact the Union office before noon Monday, May 9th to arrange for voting credentials. 

If you have any questions, please contact the Union office @ 604-324-2440 between 9 am and 4 pm weekdays.

CUPE mourns Local 1004 member killed on the job

VANCOUVER – CUPE 1004 and the entire CUPE family are mourning the death of Gord Dolyniuk, a 32 year member of the Local and employee with the City of Vancouver Engineering Streets Branch, who died while on the job.

CUPE 1004 and the entire CUPE family express our deepest condolences to Gord’s family, friends, and co-workers—particularly the members who were involved in the incident and with him when this tragedy unfolded.

It is devastating when a workplace accident results in any of our brothers, sisters, or comrades not coming home safely after their shift, and for most of us it is beyond contemplation that a family member would not return home at the end of the day. For a member of our union family, that unthinkable circumstance became reality this past week when a workplace accident claimed the life of Gord Dolyniuk from Streets Branch at the City of Vancouver.

The incident occurred on Friday afternoon (Jan. 7) while our members were working in the National Yard. Upon hearing of the accident, your union representatives went straight to National Yard. They spent time discussing with our members and management to get an understanding of what had happened and offering support from the Local. Subsequently, they have been meeting with members and supporting them as they deal with this devastating loss, offering the full support of our union.

Several investigations will investigate the circumstances surrounding this accident in the coming weeks, including the Coroner’s Office, WorkSafeBC, the City of Vancouver and Local 1004.  We are offering our support to these investigations and are encouraging that those with knowledge of the details keep those confidential to the investigatory process until a final outcome is reached and report is published.  The City of Vancouver, as an interim measure and pending any further recommendations arising from the investigations, has already instituted new workplace rules to address preliminary observations from the accident.

In the coming days we will work with the City of Vancouver and the various support agencies and services to ensure that Gord’s co-workers and loved ones receive the care they need in the wake of this tragedy.  It is important that we are all here for each other as we mourn our fallen co-worker, so please reach out to me if you have any questions, need support, or have concerns.

In Solidarity
Dennis Donnelly
Acting President

Community health workers expose pandemic mental health issues

New video reveals CUPE members’ steadfast dedication despite workload, other challenges

CUPE members in B.C.’s community health sector are dedicated professionals who are committed to caring for the people they serve. But as their lives have become increasingly stressful after nearly two years of working through the COVID-19 pandemic, they need to know that health employers value them and their work.

That’s the chief takeaway from a new video released today, “Caring in a pandemic: Living and working through COVID.” In the video, 16 CUPE members from a diverse range of jobs across the sector share their experiences of life and work since the pandemic began. The interviews followed survey results that showed CUPE members have been experiencing significant mental health impacts as a result of insufficient staffing levels, redeployment, additional and excessive workloads, overtime, and lack of leave coverage, among other issues.

“The member feedback we got from those surveys indicated that there is a strong feeling of being undervalued or even considered disposable, and some of that really comes through in the interviews,” says CUPE Health Coordinator Tanya Paterson.

In the video, the members—who work under contracts for both the Community Bargaining Association (CBA) and the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA)—describe the impacts of excessive workload on their personal lives during the pandemic. They also share some of the coping mechanisms they’ve developed along the way, and—in the lead-up to collective bargaining for both the CBA and the HSPBA—offer solutions to help employers improve the working environment.

“As with other sectors, these interviews reveal just how selfless and dedicated to their work and communities CUPE members have been during the pandemic,” says Paterson. “I am so proud of them—not just for their commitment to the people they serve but also for their courage and willingness to step up and demand better from the health care system.”

Paterson added that provincial bargaining for both the CBA and the HSPBA is expected to commence next month.

CUPE represents approximately 2,200 members in the community health sector across British Columbia. These members provide diagnostic, clinical, inspection, advocacy, home support, counselling, preventative, housing, and harm reduction/safe substance use services.

In Solidarity,

Dennis Donnelly
Acting President, Local 1004

Posted by CUPE BC January 10, 2022

Bowen Island municipal workers unanimously endorse first contract

Municipal workers on Bowen Island, members of CUPE 1004, achieved a historic first contract following a unanimous ratification vote that concluded on November 1.

“This first contract sets a good framework for our members to build on in upcoming rounds of bargaining,” said CUPE 1004 President Andrew Ledger. “I’d like to thank the bargaining committee and the members of this unit for all their hard work.”

The three-year collective agreement covers the period from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2022. The contract includes benefit and wage improvements as well as language improvements including seniority provisions, dirty pay and improvements for weekend, overtime, standby and call out work.

Bargaining team member Corrina Headley said that although bargaining took a long time — with many days of bargaining over the course of the last year — the end result is a huge improvement.

“It’s really expensive here and most of our crew have families and want to be able to afford a home here. I can’t even imagine how they were getting by before this,” said Headley.

This group of CUPE 1004 members provides public services and maintains critical infrastructure, keeping residents safe and making Bowen Island a great place to live, work and play.

2021 CUPE Local 1004 Scholarship Recipients

The 2021 CUPE Local 1004 scholarship winners have been chosen!

This year we were so pleased to have such a strong slate of applications for our scholarships.  We are immensely proud to be able to assist our members, and their spouses and children, as they continue learning.  Whether a person is just starting out on their educational journey, or returning to it as a mature student after a time away, education can only serve to better the lives of working people everywhere.  And, as a union, this is something we advocate for every day.

So, without further delay, our 2021 CUPE Local 1004 scholarship winners:

  • Wilf Greensill / Mo Cerra General Studies Scholarships awarded to Klavdia Danilkov and Tara Myketiak.
  • Jody Taylor / Brian Goble Music & Fine Arts Scholarships awarded to Ryder McGinnis and Rejena Rahmani.

Thank you to all our applicants and our sincere congratulations to our winners.