President Report – May 2023
Dear Members, as we move into spring from winter, I hope that everyone is enjoying the weather and time with loved ones. I am excited to have my daughter home for the summer from university. This is exciting as my husband and two adult children are home. I am looking forward to spending some much needed family time.
Over the past couple of months, I have supported the unit chairs, as well as the 1st vice president in all the grievances that we have going on in the units. The support to the executive as we go through the transition of winter to spring. I have also attended the JLMs (Joint Labour Management meetings) in each of the units. I have been supporting units with health and safety issues and members being told not to fill out paperwork when there is an injury. If this happens, please let the unit chairs and your unit health and safety committee in each of your units. This information is found in the OH&S report and the local 523 website.
A couple weeks ago I attended the CUPE BC Convention in Victoria. This was a great experience to attend, and we were able to pass about 50 resolutions this year. We had guest speaker Adriene Smith with a panel one night. They discussed organizing members and groups of people and shared their experiences throughout the process. This was a great night to be part of. It was a great convention and one that I am proud I was a part of.
There is an OMDC (Okanagan Mainline District Council) meeting that will be happening on May 27th. On May 26th there will be what is called a Think Tank. I will be attending these meetings along with 5 executive members. At this meeting we will be bringing the OMDC executive ideas of what we as locals would like to see them do for our members. This will be a brainstorming night full of ideas such as bringing in more training opportunities for our members, more shop steward training, and retirement seminars for the Okanagan members.
A couple of Unit Chair updates for everyone:
TPCS – I would like to personally thank Kaj Paggat for the time he stepped into the role as unit chair. Kaj has had to step away from this role and we would like to thank him for everything that he has done for TPCS members. This position remains vacant. If any members want to find out more information about this role, please contact me.
SCS – Sunnie Waters is the unit chair, but due to unforeseen circumstances, Zoe Clark has stepped into this role. Zoe has had to step away from this role for a few weeks and I am the person that members are to reach out to in the meantime.
There are vacancies within the units for shop stewards and committees. I encourage all members to reach out to their unit chairs to see if there are vacancies and find out more about what they do. I can tell you that all of our units need more shop stewards. Shop stewards play a huge role in the union supporting members.
As all members are aware, the role of the President is a big one that is booked off for 40 hours a week. I can tell you that in this role, I put in between 40 to 65 hours a week, depending on what is happening each week. Each unit seems to be busier these days and more support to the executive and members is needed. I want to thank all members in our local for the continued support while I do this president role and as the executive do their roles. We really appreciate it.
As May and June and then summer approaches, I hope that you are all able to find some time to rejuvenate and spend time with your loved ones.
Local 523 President
PRESIDENT REPORT – February 2023
President Message for Membership- Feb 2023
Thank you all for your patience in getting this report out to you. As I mentioned in the February 4th, 2023, general meeting, I was verbally giving out a report as my mother had passed away unexpectedly two weeks prior to this meeting. I let people at the meeting know I would be sending something out afterwards so that is what this will be. I would like to personally thank Samantha Symons, the previous unit chair for NOYFSS, for all that she has done for the unit and executive. I would like to welcome Rob Young into this role. I am excited to have you onboard and look forward to getting to know you as well.
I would also like to welcome Kaj Paget into the role of TPCS Unit Chair. This role had been vacant for some time, and I am happy that we have someone in this role to support the members from TPCS. I look forward to getting to know you as well Kaj. Even though my mom had passed, I still attended winter school as she would have wanted this. It was hard to do, and I am thankful that I was able to as I have learned a lot. I took Arbitration to go or not to go. I learned a lot in this course, and I am looking forward to sharing this knowledge with the executive and shop stewards in all units. When looking at grievances and deciding whether we go or not to Arbitration is always tricky. I’ve learned strategies to gather facts, look at other cases in the law and really make sure we have all the facts we need from the beginning of all grievances. Building a case and being able to answer questions that may arise before they arise by an Arbitrator. Some skills that we will continue to build as a union. This course is great, and I recommend it for others who are interested in taking it and getting involved.
Over the past couple of months, I have gone to the JLM (Joint Labour Management) meetings with most of the units and will attend one this next could of weeks. I have been working closely with Shawn, the 1st vice president, as we prepare a few step 3 grievances as well as other grievances, issues and assist the Unit Chairs in what they need as well. I have also attended SD83 swim day they had which was hosted by Courtney the unit chair. What a great day this was, and it was nice to see and meet some members from SD83 as well. I look forward to the invitations from other units in their fun days that they may have.
Health and Safety has been a concern in most units, unsafe work is high, and I encourage all members to reach out to the unit chairs, and the health and safety person in your unit as well as your work site if you need assistance. We cannot help you if we do not know. Contacts can be found on the local 523 website under contacts.
Some sites do not have any reps and we need this for each site, it is an important role for sure. If you are interested, please reach out to your unit chairs and health and safety contact person. Our local health and safety meeting is on February 21st, and I am looking forward to seeing the team there and working through some issues that each unit has been going through. Lastly, I would like to acknowledge that I will remain the president for another two years, I am personally looking forward to this and thank you all as I have been learning and doing the best that I can.
Local 523 President
PRESIDENT REPORT – November 2022
PRESIDENT Report – September 2022
Welcome back to all those who had the summer off. For those who worked throughout the summer, I hope you found time to rest. As we move into fall, I can say it seems busy for all.
As you would have read in your emails over the summer, Local 523 welcomes a new unit to our umbrella. Welcome Summerland Community Support (SCS) to our local. We look forward to being able to support you as our members.
Local 523 has always been a composite local. We still are and now our structure looks like this: 3 school districts (SD53, SD83, SD67), and 3 Social Sectors (TPCS, NOYFSS, and SCS).
Since the last report out to members, I can say that it has been a busy one with supporting members in all units, meetings all unit Chairs, National Rep meetings, Grievance Meetings, bargaining meetings and prep to get ready to mobilize our members and strike prep in case we needed to enforce a strike. There are a lot of things that need to be done to make a lot of things happen for our members and I am honored to be in this role to do so.
The Provincial Bargaining teams for the K-12 and CSS have been in full swing as well. I, myself sit on the K-12 Provincial Bargaining table, and yes, there has been a tentative agreement. This tentative agreement will go to the President Council and then once they agree it will be brought to the members. Hopefully you will get an update this week.
The CSS Provincial Bargaining Table, Bob Crozier, member of TPCS. They are still bargaining and as we know more information, we will share it with you all.
As you continue through the fall, I encourage you all to reach out to your unit chair, or steward if you need help or have questions. If you are interested in getting involved in a big or small way, please do so. We are stronger together and there is always something that can be done. Enjoy the fall weather while it lasts and stay healthy.
I am Tammy Carter; I know that this may cause some confusion as former President Tammie Koroluk and I share the same name. I will completely understand if we get mixed up from time to time, and this is okay.
I wanted to introduce myself as many of you may be meeting me for the first time. I am an Education Assistant for School District 67 – Okanagan Skaha. I live and work in Summerland. I have been working with the District since January of 2007. Prior to working for the District, I owned and operated a daycare and a preschool in Summerland. I have been married for 22 years to my husband Shawn. We have two children, Simon is 21 years old, and Emma is 18 years old and is graduating this June.
For the past 9 years, I have been involved with the Local at the unit level in various activities and committees. I have helped plan entertainment functions in SD 67 including; Winter fun day dinner, Local Landing family fun day and a family event up at Apex. I have sat on the education and communications committee at the unit level. I was also a shop steward for a year and participated yearly on my school site JOH&S (Joint Occupational Health and Safety) committee.
I am also involved with OMDC (Okanagan Mainline District Council) and have been attending these meetings for the past 6 year. I am their communications person as well as their trustee. As the communications person, I manage their website as well as their Facebook page.
I am also involved with the labour council. I was the secretary for the SOBLC (South Okanagan Boundary Labour Council). I am the trustee for the labour council and manage their Facebook page and website.
For the past two years I have been sponsored to sit on the CUPE BC Provincial Education committee. I have learned a lot through this committee and look forward to putting my name forward in the spring to sit on another provincial committee.
I began my role on the Executive of the Local two years ago when I was elected to the position of 3rd Vice President. The third Vice President chairs and manages the entertainment and the good and welfare committee at the local level. During this time, I was able to gain a lot of executive experience and participate on a senior level. I was first appointed and then elected to the position of Unit Chair in November 2019. As Unit Chair of SD67, I have been able to work directly with the employer, chair meetings, manage grievances, help Stewards and members interpret the Collective Agreement and oversee all of the Unit committees. All the experience and learning in the past 9 years have helped me develop the skills and strategies to do the work of the Union for the members. Not only did this role teach me about the Local and Union work in general, but it also taught me about myself as well. The learning and confidence I have gained in all the aspects of being a unit chair has made me feel like this is the role I am most proud of.
As President, I know I have a lot to learn, and I am excited for this opportunity. Our entire executive is dedicated to helping our Local be successful and continue to secure wages, benefits and uphold our Collective Agreement rights. As you are all aware, Local 523 is made up of three school districts (SD53, SD67 andSD83), and two community social service sectors (NOYFSS and Turning Points). I am excited to work with the Executive as well as the Unit Chairs from all the units as we collaborate and assist you as members.
Contacting Stewards and Unit Chairs
A reminder to all our members, if you have any questions or concerns, that you contact one of your shop stewards and unit chair, they are ready and available to assist you. Each of the unit chairs and I communicate regularly (daily) on individual labour issues, questions from members, collective agreement concerns etc. To contact a Steward or the Unit Chair you can visit our Cupe 523 website or find the contact list on site based CUPE bulletin boards, usually located in staff rooms or main offices at each site www.523.cupe.ca .This website is a great way to stay informed, I encourage you all to go check it out. As well if you have Facebook, like our CUPE 523 page.
Beneficiary and contact information Changes
Have you had a change in your life that might not be reflected in the beneficiary form you filled out when you were hired? A move, marriage, email change? If so, we need your help in updating our records. You can do this by going to our website, download and fill out the Beneficiary Update Form, Notice-of-Beneficiary-Form-Update.pdf (cupe.ca) and either mail it to our office or by emailing a copy to the recording secretary – Erica McDowell at email@example.com. If you are not getting your emails and they are not in your junk folder, we may have an old email on file. You can always add or update your email from our website CUPELocal523 (list-manage.com) or email it to Erica as well and she will change it in the database. Next year we will begin our bargaining year, and we would like everyone to be as up to date as possible and get the information we send out.
As we look forward to spring, I am reminded that most of you will have spring break off to rest and rejuvenate. As some of you will be working through these two weeks, I hope you are able to find some time to relax. Hopefully, the weather will be on our side, so we can get out and enjoy the nice weather we have been having.
I am looking forward to representing Local 523 as president and hopefully meeting all of you.
Happy Spring, rest, rejuvenate yourselves, stay safe and enjoy the weather.
President, Local 523
President Message: Printable Version
Presidents Message re: Isolation General Pay
Following a lengthy period of lobbying, CUPE & BCTF secured agreement from the Ministry of Education that they will direct the BC Public School Employers’ Association and the School Districts to assure all employees who need to quarantine by a direction of a public health official are provided alternative duties or paid regular wages during the period of the quarantine.
Click to view the Letter from BCPSEA Outlining the Agreement and below are answers to some of the most common questions. If you have any other questions please contact your Shop Stewards or Unit Chair for clarification. All contact information can be found on our website www.523.cupe.ca
President CUPE Local 523
Who is covered by the changes?
The change affects CUPE support staff and BCTF teachers.
What is covered?
Situations where an employee is directed by a public health official to self-isolate due to potential exposure to COVID-19 and is asymptomatic.
What are the obligations of the Employer
- Explore work from home options in the employee’s current position for the duration of the required self-isolation;
- Where work from home in the employee’s current position is not possible, consider options for re-deployment to work which can be completed remotely;
- Where work from home and re-deployment are not possible, provide the employee with general paid leave, provided the direction of a public health official to self-isolate is directed at the employee, and not a family member or person residing with the employee.
Should a member of an employee’s household, but not the employee, be directed to self-isolate, per current practice, the employee may request vacation, other applicable leaves of the collective agreement or employment contract, or an unpaid leave of absence. Employers are encouraged to exercise flexibility in considering options for such requests.
What is the start date for this agreement?
February 1, 2021 and is not to be applied retroactively. For employees currently in a self-isolation period, it applies from the effective date (February 1, 2021). CUPE and BCTF are still fighting this part.
What about on call workers?
Where an on-call employee had accepted an assignment and is then directed by a public health official to self-isolate, districts should follow the steps outlined above. Where an employee is scheduled to work only a portion of the self-isolation days, the general paid leave would only extend to the already accepted scheduled assignment
Do we have to use sick days?
No. For unionized employees, this general paid leave is gratuitous to the collective agreements and is not a deduction of existing collective agreement leave banks. In the same way, this general paid leave is gratuitous to the employment contract for non-unionized staff.
What if it turns out I am sick with COVID -19?
Where an employee is directed by a public health official to self-isolate and is symptomatic, employees are not to be placed onto general paid leave, but rather, should be placed on sick leave. Sick leave is to be administered per the collective agreement or the employment contract.
Sick Leave Provisions
All sick leave Provisions are under Article 21 Short Term Disability program and Article 22 Long term Disability Program.
August 18, 2020
Letter from President 523 – August 18
June 3, 2020
Messages from our President & Unit Chairs for our Units in the K-12 sector:
March 18, 2020
These times of stress and unknown often bring out the best of people who stand in solidarity with each other. That being said, I can understand the stress many are feeling about not knowing what to expect over the coming weeks and months.
At this time, CUPE National has been working with Locals to keep us informed nationally, provincially and locally as to what is happening in our workplaces. The information is ever changing and all Local Executives have been told to continue to monitor provincial and employer websites for updates.
Details pertaining to the COVID-19 virus and the responses by authorities seem to be evolving on a daily basis. As such, we will be doing our best to keep our website up to date with the most recent notifications and links to various websites. If you have concerns about your own health please contact your medical provider and use the following websites for factual information:
BC Centre for Disease Control – www.covid-19.bccdc.ca
Health Canada www.canada.ca
Interior Health Authority: www.interiorhealth.ca
CUPE National and CUPE BC also have websites that are providing information on the virus and outline steps union members can take to decrease the spread. CUPE National has a daily newsletter that members can subscribe to by email. The Executive will do our best to update our website as well with local information:
CUPE National: www.cupe.ca
CUPE BC: www.cupe.bc.ca
Local 523 website: www.523.cupe.ca
BC’s Ministry of Health online symptom checker: www.covid19.thrive.heath
Our Local’s five employers will be taking direction on this pandemic from the Ministry of Education (School Districts) and Ministry of Community Social Services (TPCS and NOYFFS) and the Ministry of Health. We have been told that all employees are to continue to check their individual work emails and employer websites (3 School Districts) for updates and announcements throughout the next few weeks. If you know of someone that does not have access to email or the internet please inform one of your unit’s Shop Stewards or the Unit Chair so we can personally update them:
SD53, SD67, SD83
Contact Lists: www.523.cupe.ca/about-us/your-executive
CUPE National has recommended that our local postpone all Union Meetings in the near future that potentially involve more than 50 people in attendance. This means we are now officially canceling the Unit meeting on April 4th in Salmon Arm for Unit 83 and on April 18 in Penticton for Unit 67.
CUPE National Education workshops have been cancelled for the month of March but are still tentatively scheduled for April (as is CUPE Spring School in Kamloops), however should they be postponed, we will notify those who are registered.
If you have any links/resources to relevant and reliable information to add to the website please email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions that cannot be found in the above links please contact your Shop Stewards, Unit Chair or myself and we will do our best to answer them in a timely manner.
This afternoon the Provincial Government announced that they are directing all school districts to remain closed until further notice. During the announcement Premier Horgan noted that the situation is rapidly evolving and promised that the “government will ensure that British Columbians’ jobs will be protected amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, and that amendments will come to the Employees Standards Act.”
At this time all K-12 Locals are working with their National Representatives with the goal to secure wage and benefit protection for all our members during this difficult time. As the details emerge the Executive of our Local will work diligently send out updates and keep you informed.
As a reminder, please self-disclose to employers if you were out of the country prior to your knowledge of the federal advisory on March 12 and will be in quarantine for 14 days following arrival back in Canada. Please continue to practice active social distancing and universal precautions to help keep those members of our communities at minimal risk of contracting the virus.
Over the last couple of days I have heard of many wonderful stories of our members stepping up and helping neighbors buy groceries, drive people to doctor’s appointments and offer many different kinds of supports to our communities. I have heard heartful stories of many of you giving up much needed vacations to help stop the spread of the virus and wait patiently as information slowly trickles in. We have kept clients and students calm through stressful times and we as frontline workers, have shown how incredibly caring and resourceful we are.
On behalf of the Executive of Local 523, I thank you for your patience as we wade through the unknown.
President Local 523