January 21, 2020  

Upcoming events:

GSU Local 15 / Nutrien bargaining - Jan. 28 & 29
Your GSU Local 15 bargaining committee members are Brian Cowen, Curtis Cousins, Lynn Shaw, GSU staff rep Steve Torgerson, and GSU staff rep/bargaining spokesperson Dale Markling. Learn more here.  

Local 7 / Heartland bargaining - Regina, Feb. 13
GSU's collective agreement with Heartland expired Dec. 31, 2019. GSU bargaining committee members are Tyler Sherwood, Heather Makay, and GSU staff rep/bargaining spokesperson Donna Driediger.

Local 5 / Western Producer bargaining - Saskatoon, Feb. 25
GSU's collective agreement with The Western Producer expired July 31, 2019. Bargaining committee members representing GSU Local 5 are Sharlene Tetrault, Michelle Houlden, and GSU staff rep/bargaining spokesperson Dale Markling. Learn more here.

GSU biennial convention - Temple Gardens, Moose Jaw, March 19-21, 2020
If you are a GSU member, we want to hear from you. Join us, share your thoughts and experiences, and let us know what you think your union should be doing for members.  All members of GSU are eligible to attend, but space is limited. Learn more and register here.

CLC/SFL Spring School - Moose Jaw, April 20 - 24, 2020 
This is a GSU-sanctioned event*. Learn more by contacting your staff rep or checking out the school brochure here.

Contact your GSU staff rep if you are interested in attending or learning more about an event.

*GSU members who sign up and are approved to participate in GSU-sanctioned events will have their time off work, wages, and expenses covered in accordance with GSU's expense policies (child care included). GSU staff will also assist you with arranging the time off with your employer.

An intervention by GSU rep Steve Torgerson produced a solution for a member of Local 2 (Viterra Head Office) who had been waiting for seven weeks as their claim for EI benefits languished at Service Canada.
The member in question was laid off in mid-December as a result of the elimination of their position in Viterra's Regina head office. When issuing the record of employment (ROE), Viterra's payroll department mistakenly indicated that the member was on a leave of absence. A co-worker heard of the predicament and contacted GSU. Steve Torgerson contacted HR to sort out the problem and a corrected ROE was issued to Service Canada.
"A lot of worry and frustration could have been avoided in this situation if GSU had been contacted sooner," said GSU general secretary Hugh Wagner. "We do our best to find solutions and answers for GSU members and it all begins with a phone call, email or text message."

No problem is too small. If you have a question or a concern, don't hesitate to contact your GSU staff rep. Their services are provided to you as part of your union dues. There is no additional charge for assisting you.

The 2020 GSU Biennial Policy Convention is coming up on March 19-21, 2020, and we want you to join us for what is shaping up to be a fantastic convention.

We are counting on GSU members - like you - to come to convention, share your thoughts and experiences, and let us know what you think your union should be doing for its members.
We'll have great people, conversation, food, entertainment, and it's all being held at the Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa in Moose Jaw.

Available space is filling up quickly.  Don't assume we know you are attending or your staff rep will register you. 

All members of GSU are eligible to attend, but space is limited.  Approved convention delegates will have the costs of hotel, mileage, food, and wages covered by GSU. 

We've got lots of questions and GSU members have the answers. Come to convention, share your thoughts, and represent your fellow members as we set the course for GSU.

Foreground: ILWU Canada president Rob Ashton on the Unifor Local 594 picket line.

ILWU/GSU delegation visits Unifor Local 594 picket line
On Jan. 25, ILWU Canada president Rob Ashton  led a delegation to visit the Unifor Local 594 picket line at the Federated Cooperative Limited (FCL) refinery in Regina. Ashton was accompanied by five ILWU Canada members from the Vancouver area and GSU general secretary Hugh Wagner.
"The purpose of our visit was to bring solidarity greetings to the Unifor 594 members who are on the line to defend their hard won pension benefits against the efforts of an aggressive employer," Wagner said. "Unifor's brave stand has rallied the labour movement across the country. I was proud to stand with Rob Ashton and members of the ILWU Canada family as he brought best wishes from more than 15,000 members in Canada."
FCL's propaganda about employee contributions is a red herring. The FCL pension plan for refinery workers in Regina is one of the promises made by the employer as part of the give and take of their collective bargaining relationship.
  • In 1979 FCL set up an employer controlled and funded defined benefit pension plan in addition to an employee savings plan. FCL did not ask employees to contribute to the pension plan and, in turn, it had control over the plan - including the ability to make investment decisions and determine how investment surpluses were deployed.

  • FCL proposed the defined benefit pension plan that it now wants to dump in order to attract and retain qualified workers in a labour market that was highly competitive and in a work environment that highly technical, dangerous and stressful. These were FCL ideas and proposals to the union. This was not an arrangement that the union foisted on or extracted from FCL.

  • FCL never took issue with the design of its pension plan until 2017 when it convinced the Unifor local to agree to exclude new hires from the defined benefit (DB) pension plan and have them participate in a defined contribution (DC) pension plan. Unifor members concede that they made a mistake on this issue in 2017, but relied on FCL's promise that all those who remained in the DB plan would do so for the rest of their employment.

  • Now FCL is saying that all Unifor members at the refinery must move to a DC pension plan and/or that those who want to remain in the DB plan should have to pay all of the supposed 11.5 % wage increase being offered into the DB plan in addition to eliminating their company-sponsored joint savings plan worth another 6.5% of employees' pay; all in return for a significantly inferior pension calculation formula and the removal of employer pension backstop guarantees.
"Unifor has always been a strong force for good in the workplace and I urge every GSU member to do whatever they can to support Unifor Local 594 at the FCL refinery in Regina," Wagner said.

Read more on GSU's web page.

Who wants tickets to the Feb. 8 Rush game? 

We've got two tickets to watch the Rush take on the Colorado Mammoth, and we're giving them away to one GSU member. It's easy to enter our contest draw. Just answer our contest question and you'll be entered to win.

What venue and city is the host of GSU's March 19-21, 2020 convention?

Get your answer to gsu@gsu.ca by 9:00 a.m. Feb. 4 and we'll get your name into the draw drum.

Howie Mandel Testimonial: If we take care of our mental health like we take care of our dental health, we'll be okay.

Howie Mandel: If we take care of our mental health like we take care of our dental health, we'll be okay.
Howie Mandel is a mental health advocate who is very open about his struggle with mental illness, but the Canadian comedian, actor, and host wasn't always comfortable sharing his stories about his battle with OCD. The game changer for Mandel came when his private struggle was broadcast during a candid moment on a live radio show, and the public support Mandel received assured him he wasn't alone in his challenges. You can hear his powerful story in the clip, above.

A trip to a counselor or psychiatrist to care for your mental health is as important as seeing your dentist or your doctor to care for your physical health. 

One in five people in Canada will experience a mental health issue or illness in any given year. Stigma surrounding mental health is the number one reason two-thirds of those living with a mental illness don't seek help. We must do better.

Do your part to end the stigma around mental health.

Talk about it, be kind, and be a safe place to allow others to be open about their struggles.

You can help raise funds just by using your phone on Jan. 29.

On Bell Let's Talk Day, Bell will donate more towards mental health initiatives in Canada by contributing 5¢ for every applicable text, call, tweet, social media video view and use of their  Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. 

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