April 25 , 2017  

Calendar highlights for April 24 to 28:
Upcoming events:

Prairie School for Union Women
June 11 - 15, 2017
Waskesiu Lake, SK
Learn more about the school and registration here

SFL Summer Camp
August 27 - September 1, 2017
Camp Easter Seal ~ Manitou Lake 
Register early! This popular camp fills up quickly!
Learn about the camp and how your camper could win free registration here.  

SFL Occupational Health and Safety Conference
September 6 - 8, 2017
Radisson Hotel, Saskatoon 
Learn more here.

Contact your GSU staff rep for more information about these events, GSU's expense policy, or to register. 

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

Click here
or visit www.sfl.sk.ca for information about Day of Mourning events in your area.

Members at Country Elevator locations are under constant pressure to make themselves available "in case" car loading becomes necessary during time off shift or on weekends.  This can result in working excessive hours on days off, or being unable to do the things you want and need to do with family and friends.
The Company does not own your time while you are away from work. You are not obligated to "hang around" in case the cars show up. Your time off is yours and you are not required to put your life on hold just in case the railway decides to spot cars. 

GSU has bargained provisions to help ensure you get the time you deserve and are entitled to. Check your Local agreement or contact your GSU staff rep for the provisions that apply to you.
  • The first provision is stand by pay. Employees who are required to "stand by" and be ready to report for work must be paid 1.5 hours for each eight hour period or part thereof that they are required to stand by.  If your days off are Tuesday and Wednesday, and you are told on Monday at the end of your shift to "stand by" then you are credited with 1.5 hours worked for each eight hour period or part thereof for the entire time you remain on call. If you are not on call, you don't have to answer the phone.
  • The second provision is the rule regarding maximum hours of overtime required. Employees are  not required to work more than 12 hours in any one shift, nor more than 8 hours of overtime in a one week period. The week starts at 12:01 am on Sunday morning, and ends at 11:59 pm on Saturday night. If you work 12 hour or 13.3 hour regular shifts, you are not required to work after your shift. On 8 hour shifts you have the right to go home after 12 hours. No one has to work more than eight hours of overtime in a week. 
Your health, safety, and family time are at stake.

Do you have questions about your collective agreement or an issue in your workplace?

Don't be shy! Contact your GSU staff rep. Their services are provided to you as part of your union dues and there is no additional charge for assisting you. Your inquiry will be treated with strict confidentiality.

GSU staff representatives Dale Markling and Steve Torgerson attended the Interest-Based Negotiations Workshop presented by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service on April 18-20. 

Interest-Based Negotiations:
Proposals don't always reflect concerns of the members who put them forward 

Last week, Dale Markling and I attended the Interest-Based Negotiations Workshop presented by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Simply put, interest-based negotiations aim to get to the root issue of a problem and then figure out a solution that is beneficial to both parties.
"We need a 5% pay increase in each year of the agreement." "I think we need double-time overtime for all overtime hours worked." We hear ideas and proposals like these each time a GSU bargaining unit prepares to enter into negotiations. These are legitimate proposals union members want to be included in their collective agreement, but sometimes proposals don't actually reflect the concerns of the members putting them forward. For example, perhaps the issue is that members are not feeling valued and respected in the workplace, and so they seek more money to 'make it right', or they are tired of working overtime on a weekly basis and want more overtime pay in compensation. In these examples, the underlying issue is respect in the workplace or for work-family balance. 
Traditional (adversarial) collective bargaining is more proposal-based negotiation with both sides coming in with a list of demands and presenting them.  In theory, interest-based negotiation is a more collaborative process with union and company representatives working through the issues to find solutions. These are two very different and styles of negotiating, and while interest-based negotiations don't work in all circumstances, there is much to learn from this approach
The workshop explored how unconscious decisions can be detrimental to effective communication. For example, how easy it is to forget what your goals are and look to punish the other side when you feel you have been slighted or disrespected. The workshop also showed how much can be achieved if there is trust and mutual respect between the employees and the employer.
I took away a number of ideas that I will attempt to put into practice. In addition, new ideas were collected for the education and information of GSU members.

There are many opportunities for union education. Contact your GSU staff rep to learn more about what we have to offer.

GSU is pleased to offer $2,000 scholarships to five students who demonstrate an ability and a passion to inspire positive change in their community. 

Scholarships are available to GSU members and their immediate families - including spouses - who are enrolled in a diploma, degree, or certificate program at a community college, university, trade school, or technical institute as a full-time student in any country. 

Deadline for receipt of applications is June 1, 2017.

Detailed information is available on GSU's web page:  www.gsu.ca.

Saskatchewan people make their opposition known,   
provincial government reverses decision on library funding
On April 24 the provincial government announced that it was reversing its position on regional and municipal library funding and restoring nearly $5 million to the Ministry of Education budget.
The March 22, 2017 provincial budget included slashing $4.8 million from libraries' funding. The reaction to the budget cut was swift as a broad cross section of Saskatchewan people made their opposition known through demonstrations, media events and online protest activities.
"The Wall government's policy reversal illustrates the power behind organizing and expressing opposition to actions against the people," said GSU general secretary Hugh Wagner. "There is so much more to do as the March 22 budget contained so many harmful public policy decisions, but the reversal on libraries shows what can be done when people unite for the common good."

Hot-desking: Could you share your desk with your co-workers?

More employees are working away from the office at clients' workplaces, hotels, coffee shops, and other remote locations, leaving expensive office space unoccupied. A potential solution and cost-saving measure? Hot-desking. 

In a step away from assigned seating and empty workstations, hot-desking allows employees to report for work, choose an available workspace that meets their needs for the day, and set up shop. Depending on the workplace, employees can choose a quiet corner to work alone or a bench desk to collaborate with others. 

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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