April 14, 2020  

Calendar highlights and upcoming events:

Local 8 (Advance)

Executive members will meet with company management later this week.


GSU 2020 scholarship program - Deadline is June 1, 2020

Learn more and download the application forms here.

Prairie School for Union Women - Waskesiu Lake, June 7 - 11
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.

If you have concerns or problems as you deal with your employer's responses to Covid-19, don't hesitate to contact your GSU staff rep.

GSU promotes employee recognition during COVID-19 pandemic 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians have recognized that there are sectors of the economy and society beyond the front lines of health care that are  also  essential to our collective well-being. Like so many other workers, GSU members work in the essential production and distribution supply chain supporting the nation at a time when so much economic activity is severely restricted or shut down altogether.
So far, all GSU members have continued to work and many are exposed to added risk posed by person-to-person contact working in close quarters. Reports from GSU members indicate that employers have generally responded positively to the need for rigorous OH&S precautions to protect those in the workplace against infection or transmission. There is a lot of stress associated with working during an unprecedented pandemic and some employers of GSU members have tangibly recognized the efforts of the workers they employ. (See related story, below).
GSU's leadership knows that its dedicated and committed union members are hard at work to get the job done during this trying time while keeping their customers, their co-workers, and themselves safe. And, as a result, GSU has reached out to employers to propose recognition of their employees' efforts during this difficult time. 
The core component of GSU's initiative rests on an actual boost to employees' pay. In addition, GSU has proposed that benefit plans be opened to include seasonal and temporary employees and, since access to dental and other healthcare services is restricted, that coverage for employees who retire be continued for an extended period of time after they retire.
GSU began its latest initiative on behalf union members on Easter Monday. We will report on employer responses in coming issues of the Tuesday Members' Memo.

Council approves COVID-19 pandemic donation 

During its April 3 meeting, GSU's Joint Executive Council (JEC) adopted a motion that GSU make a substantial donation on behalf of all members of the union in recognition of the extraordinary strain on community organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to the JEC's motion, GSU staff researched organizations that cover approximately the same territory as GSU's Locals. GSU's finances were also reviewed and it was determined the union could afford an $8,000 donation at this time and still have room for more if needed down the road. As a result, at an April 8 meeting of GSU's Executive Committee, a recommendation to donate $8,000 to Food Banks of Saskatchewan was approved, subject to the final decision being made by the full JEC.

"A donation to Food Banks of Saskatchewan was determined to be the most efficient and effective way for GSU to support community pandemic responses," said GSU president Jim Brown. "Food Banks of Saskatchewan is the umbrella for 32 community food banks throughout the province, and the territory represented approximately covers the communities where GSU members live and work."
JEC members voted and approved the donation with no opposing votes. Accordingly, GSU will ask that Food Banks of Saskatchewan distribute the donation as 32 donations of $250 to each of the community food banks under its umbrella. GSU will also make a $250 donation to the Chilliwack, BC food bank on behalf of Local 9 (Trouw Nutrition).


Employers show their appreciation to GSU members with bonus, increase in pay

Amidst the widespread economic pain and disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic some employers have gone out of their way to acknowledge their employees' commitment and dedication with more than just words. GSU members work for two such employers.
Grain Millers Canada Corp. owns and operates the oat milling and processing plant in Yorkton, SK where GSU Local 4 members work. Recently, Grain Millers showed its appreciation of employees' efforts by awarding employees who have over 90 days' service with the company a $1,000 bonus and employees with less than 90 days' service a $500 bonus.
Trouw Nutrition owns and operates a feed mill operation in Chilliwack, BC where GSU Local 9 members work. Recently, Trouw showed its appreciation of employees' efforts by awarding employees with a $1 per hour increase in pay.
"'When you see something, say something' should apply to good things too," said GSU general secretary Hugh Wagner. "Hats off to Grain Millers and Trouw."


Are you interested in becoming a GSU Defense Fund director? Here's your chance
We are accepting expressions of interest from GSU members who are interested in becoming a director on the GSU Defense Fund.

The board of directors of the  GSU Defense Fund is responsible for overseeing the administration and investment of the Fund assets (currently $4.5 million). The primary purpose of the Fund is to provide income protection and assistance to GSU members who are engaged in a strike or lockout.

The board of directors meets three times a year by conference call and at least once per year in person. Time off work for directors to attend to Defense Fund business is paid for by GSU along with directors' travel, meal and hotel expenses.

Members who are elected to the Joint Executive Council of GSU are not eligible for election to the Defense Fund Board of Directors. Of the five Defense Fund Directors, three are required to be from Local 1 (Viterra Ops/Maintenance) and/or Local 2 (Viterra Head Office) and/or Local 14 (Richardson) and/or Local 15 (Nutrien).

The current vacancy on the board is open to be filled by a GSU member in good standing who is employed in any certified GSU bargaining unit.

If you are interested in becoming a GSU Defense Fund director or learning more about the responsibilities of a director, contact GSU general secretary Hugh Wagner at Hugh@gsu.ca or 306.536.3414.

April 30 is the deadline for receipt of expressions of interest. 

Positive social interaction - even through imagination - has measurable impact on our health, well-being

For many, the Easter weekend is traditionally a time of family gatherings and celebration. Even the introverts among us would likely agree that not having the opportunity to spend time with extended family, friends, or even the option to go to a restaurant or hit the movie theater was a bit of a downer.

As one columnist accurately observed about the social and physical distancing limitations in place, "Six feet never felt so far."

If frowning can make you grumpier, and smiling increases your chances of feeling happy, it makes sense that day-dreaming and visualizing positive social interaction with friends and family can help you feel a little more connected during these times of physical disconnection.

Learn more here:

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