December 20 , 2016  

Our Holiday Schedule 
  • GSU offices will be closed December 26 & 27, and January 2.
  • Your next Tuesday Members' Memo will arrive January 3, 2017. 

On behalf of Michelle Houlden, Brett North and myself, GSU's elected officials, I would like to extend holiday greetings to the members, officers and staff of GSU and congratulate you on your participation in your locals and promoting your union in the workplace. 

2016 has been a busy year. We have had success in bargaining and were able to celebrate many victories. GSU's affiliation with ILWU Canada continues to allow us to participate in the Canadian Labour Congress successes for working people in Canada. These successes include public pension plan increases, a ban on asbestos and safer workplaces. Going forward in 2017, we will continue that work in the effort to bring prosperity to you and your family.

We wish you safe travels during the holiday season as you enjoy well-deserved time with family and friends.  May 2017 be a safe, happy and prosperous year for you, your family and your union brothers and sisters.
In Solidarity,

Jim Brown
Grain and General Services Union

Canadian Labour Congress announces three more reasons for workers to celebrate

Workers across Canada have three new reasons to celebrate this month: safer workplaces, stronger public pensions, and more fairness for temporary foreign workers.

We just won a ban on asbestos. 

Canada's unions have campaigned for decades to ban asbestos, sounding the alarm about the leading cause of work-related death in Canada. We ramped up the call this year, producing new awareness videos and taking the issue to meetings with MPs from all parties on Parliament Hill. We won the fight, with the federal government's Dec. 15 announcement that it is implementing a comprehensive ban on asbestos. That will finally put an end to the import, export and use of asbestos, and make workplaces and public spaces safer for all Canadians.

We just won stronger public pensions

On Dec. 15, the same day the asbestos ban was announced, the Senate passed Bill C-26, legislation that marks the first expansion of the Canada Pension Plan in its 50-year history. Canada's unions campaigned for a better CPP because we wanted to win a better future, especially for the next generation. This is an important victory. Strong public pensions are crucially important, not just to the well-being of workers and their families, but to the economic health and vitality of our cities and communities. We will continue to press the government for improvements to ensure that the expansion does not discriminate against groups of workers like those on maternity or disability leave.

We just won more fairness for temporary foreign workers

On Tuesday, the federal government announced that it would scrap the "four-in, four-out" rule, which limited how long temporary foreign workers could stay in Canada. Canada's unions had long argued that eliminating of this rule would be a first step to creating a path to permanent residency. Good enough to work here? Good enough to live here!

These wins are important for all of us

These victories are the culmination of the incredible work of the workers who together make up Canada's labour movement. They are a testament to the incredible power of a united movement with a clear focus, strategic objective and a broad based campaign.

Story Credit/Source: Canadian Labour Congress

Recently GSU general secretary Hugh Wagner was contacted by a group of members working in a terminal elevator who were concerned about their ability to make plans for the upcoming holiday season. Wagner provided the following information to the members in question.
"Call-in pay is intended to address the kind of situation where an individual has left work and is called back or she/he is on a day of rest and is called into work. Anyone who has December 23 and/or 24 as a day of rest who is called in to load can claim call-in pay or overtime pay, whichever is the greater.
In addition, employees who have December 23, 24, 27, 28, 29 or 30 as scheduled days of rest may have a claim for standby pay if they are being asked to make themselves available to load on those dates.
If employees work on the 26th (which is a stat holiday) in addition to eight hours stat holiday pay, anyone who works that day is to be paid at the overtime rate of pay (time and a half). In addition, December 27 and January 2 are to be days off work in lieu of Christmas day and New Year's day falling on a Sunday. As a result, employees who work those days are entitled to holiday pay for the day or to receive another day off in lieu plus overtime pay for those days."
Wagner adds that if employees are on days of rest, statutory holidays or vacation and have not been assigned standby duty, they are under no obligation to make themselves available for a call-in.
Do you need assistance addressing this issue or another problem in your workplace?
Contact a GSU staff representative.
No problem is too small. Identifying problems as soon as they arise benefits everyone. Call us toll-free if you have a question or a problem you would like addressed. Call 1.866.522.6686 (Regina) or 1.855.384.7314 (Saskatoon).

Use it or lose it!
Your Health Flex Spending Account credit from 2015 won't be carried over into 2017

Several GSU agreements contain Health Flex Spending account directives, and December 31 is a common cut-off for using funds from the previous calendar year.

If you need help determining if you have a Health Flex Spending Account in your collective agreement, contact your GSU staff rep .

 Bargaining updates and reports are also available on GSU's web page -


Discovery Co-op

A Notice of Impasse has been served to the Minister of Labour Relations with a request that a conciliator be appointed.

Union and company 
representatives last met November 22 and were unable to reach an agreement, even though they  previously came very close to reaching a tentative settlement when they met on October 14. 

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

Prairie Co-op
Company representatives have ratified the settlement and the master copies of the new collective agreement will be signed in the upcoming weeks.
GSU's Local 19 bargaining committee: Lindsay Hill (Strasbourg), Debbie Hillier (Cupar), and Steve Torgerson (GSU staff rep)

Western Producer

Congratulations to the Local 5 membership who ratified their tentative settlement on December 16.

The main terms of the settlement are salary increases of 1.25% on Aug. 1, 2015, and 1.5% in 2016 and 2017.

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 a tentative settlement and are working to finalize wording for the agreement document. 

Questions or Concerns? Contact GSU staff rep Steve Torgerson. 

Tips to help lower your holiday anxiety 

While are many reasons to enjoy the holiday season, there are just as many reasons why the holiday season can be less than enjoyable. Whether it's tension among relatives, sleeping on the sofa bed at the in-law's, or your family's expectation of the perfect gathering, holiday stress for many of us is about to peak. 

Plan for success! These helpful hints can help you identify the stressors you can control and cope with the ones you can't: Home for the Holidays stress tips

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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