January 24 , 2017  

Calendar highlights for Jan. 23 to 27:
  • GSU staff reps are finishing up their non-union CPS location visitations this week 
  • GSU general secretary Hugh Wagner is meeting with labour representatives at the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) today
  • Hugh Wagner will meet with an arbitrator and attend a grievance meeting on Wednesday
  • on Thursday Hugh Wagner and GSU staff reps Lawrence Maier, Dale Markling, and Steve Torgerson will attend a labour law conference in Regina
  • GSU staff will be in a staff meeting in Regina on Friday. Leave your phone, text and email messages as staff will check for messages throughout the day. Staff contact information is available here.
  • the Tuesday Members' Memo is emailed to GSU members weekly on Tuesday. If you know a co-worker who hasn't received the TMM and would like to, they can call GSU toll-free 1.866.522.6686 or email at gsu.regina@sasktel.net

Upcoming events:

60th Annual SFL /CLC Spring School
April 3 to 7, 2017 ~ Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa, Moose Jaw, SK
Learn more about the school and read the course outline here.
Contact your GSU staff rep for more information or to register. 

GSU's calendar of events is regularly updated and available on GSU's web page - www.gsu.ca.  

Until the outcome of GSU's grievance is determined, union members who have unused vacation and are planning retirement are encouraged to contact a union rep before finalizing their plans.

Work for Viterra? Planning to retire? 
You need to read this.

Over the years numerous GSU members planning to retire have taken unused vacation between their last day at work and their retirement date. This is precisely the course a union member working for Viterra followed recently only to discover that as a result of a change in company policy the employee's last day at work was determined to be his last day of employment instead of his retirement date of December 31, 2016.
The practical effect for the union member was the termination of his insurance and benefits coverage as of his last day at work and the denial of holiday pay for December 25 and 26. The member only became aware that his employment had been terminated by Viterra when he received his pay stub.
GSU was also unaware of Viterra's change in policy and took up the matter with company management. In a meeting on December 21, 2016 management advised that the company's policy regarding using vacation as a bridge to retirement had changed three or four years ago. A subsequent check by GSU failed to yield any evidence that Viterra had notified the union or employees of the change in policy.
Following a review of union records, on December 23 GSU general secretary Hugh Wagner wrote Viterra management requesting that the employee be paid for December 25 and 26 and that a second meeting be convened to discuss the matter. Despite Wagner's offer to meet on December 28, 29 or 30, a response wasn't received until January 9, 2017 when management declined to pay the employee for the stat holidays and dismissed the proposal to meet.
In response to Viterra's unilateral policy change and defensive reaction, GSU commenced an executive grievance on January 11.
"GSU is seeking to restore the ability of employees to access paid vacation immediately prior to retirement without triggering the termination of their employment," Wagner said. "In addition, we are seeking to defend employees' terms and conditions of employment from unilateral change by stealthy management actions."
"Viterra's response to this situation is disappointing especially since we've been through this kind of movie before on the subject of vacation pay on overtime pay when a unilaterally action by the company was overturned and hundreds of thousands of dollars were recovered for union members by GSU," said Wagner.
Until the outcome of GSU's grievance is determined, union members who have unused vacation and are planning retirement are encouraged to contact a union rep before finalizing their plans.
Updates will be provided as developments occur.

It's the last week for CPS non-union employees to return their ballots
On January 9 the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board (SLRB) sent ballots to CPS non-union operations employees by registered mail on the question of being represented by GSU. Now the  January 30 deadline is fast approaching for those employees to return their mail-in ballots to the SLRB. 

GSU staff reps have recently spoke to the employees of many 
non-union CPS branches in Saskatchewan  and urged them to vote to become part of the union and enjoy the access to the collective agreement, GSU staff representatives, and the many other services that come with being a GSU member.

CPS non-union employees or anyone with questions about GSU and the representation vote can call a GSU staff rep toll-free at 1.866.522.6686 (Regina office) or 1.855.384.7314 (Saskatoon office) or send us an email at gsu.regina@sasktel.net .
Additional information can be found by visiting GSU's web site at www.gsu.ca.
Employees who have not received a ballot can contact the SLRB at 1.306.787.2406 or 1.306.787.7210. 

Board dismisses application to remove supervisory employees from Library Board bargaining unit
The Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board (SLRB) has dismissed an application by the Saskatoon Public Library Board to remove supervisory employees from the bargaining unit represented by CUPE Local 2669.

The application before the SLRB was selected as a "test case" out of a number of similar applications by employers seeking to remove long established union representation and collective bargaining rights of supervisory employees. The employer applications were initiated under a section of the Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA) which came into force on April 29, 2016.

The new Subsection (4) of the Act provides that supervisory employees can be included in a bargaining unit that also includes the employees they supervise if the employer and the union in question make an irrevocable agreement to that effect. Subsection (4) of the Act also enables the certification of bargaining units comprised only of supervisory employees.

In dismissing the Saskatoon Public Library Board's application, the SLRB has made it clear that in its view Section 6-11 of the SEA only applies to new applications for certification and not to existing certifications.

"This is an important victory for employee rights," said GSU general secretary Hugh Wagner. "I hope the employers and the government accept the SLRB decision and employees' established rights. No one needs the uncertainty and cost that an appeal to the courts would entail."

Visit GSU's web page at www.gsu.ca for complete details and a copy of the SLRB decision.


 Bargaining updates and reports are also available on GSU's web page -  www.gsu.ca.


Discovery Co-op

In response to the Notice of Impasse which was served to the Minister of Labour Relations, Conciliator  Kevin Eckert has been appointed to assist the parties. 

Dates for conciliation continue to be considered. 

The Conciliator has a 60-day mandate which can only be extended by the agreement of both parties.

GSU's Local 17 bargaining committee members are  Shelbi Prescesky, Glen Morrison, and GSU staff rep Dale Markling.   

Western Producer

The new collective agreement is being prepared for signing and distribution to members.

The main terms of the settlement are salary increases of 1.25% Aug. 1, 2016; 1.5% Aug. 1, 2017; and 1.5% Aug. 1, 2018.

GSU's Local 20 bargaining committee members are Kim Quintin, Michelle Houlden, Laurie Michalycia, and Dale Markling (GSU staff rep). 

CHS Canada
The union and company have agreed on wording and signed the new collective agreement. A copy of the new agreement is available on GSU's web page at www.gsu.ca

Questions or Concerns? Contact GSU staff rep Steve Torgerson. 

Take care of your mental heath

Mental health isn't just about mental illness. It includes the ability to:
  • recognize the stresses and stressors of life, 
  • identify and operate within our own abilities and limits, 
  • function in society, and 
  • contribute to our family, workplace, and community. 
Our mental health affects every aspect of our lives. When we are struggling mentally, everything becomes a struggle.   

It requires effort and work to be physically fit, and it also requires work to be mentally fit. Fortunately there are simple things you can do every day to help keep yourself in good mental health. Learn more here:  Maintaining your mental health .

This article has been printed for entertainment purposes. The views and opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of GSU, its members, officers, or staff.

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