December 15, 2020

Calendar highlights and upcoming events:
GSU Local 5 (Western Producer) bargaining

The two sides met on Dec. 8. Additional bargaining dates have not been scheduled.

GSU Local 5 bargaining committee members are Sharlene Tetrault, Michelle Houlden, and GSU staff rep Dale Markling.

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Local 6 (Wild West Steelhead) bargaining

The latest bargaining session was held on Nov. 25 in Lucky lake. Additional dates have not been scheduled at this time.

GSU Local 6 bargaining committee members are Amber Pearson, Pasha Mughal, Amanda Pearson, and GSU staff rep Dale Markling.

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Defense Fund board of directors meeting

The directors will meet on Dec. 16 to consider and discuss changes to the Fund's RBC investment mandate. (See related story, below.)

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Members vote to approve constitutional changes, continue Defense Fund dues

Members attending GSU's annual general membership meetings were asked to vote on amendments to GSU's constitution and whether to continue paying dues into the GSU Defense Fund. Meetings have concluded, the results of the votes have been tabulated.

Majority approve continuing Defense Fund dues
In the closest results on a continuation of Defense Fund dues vote to date, a majority of 63.82 percent of GSU members attending annual meetings voted in favour of the motion to continue paying additional dues of $10 per employee/member per month into the GSU Defense Fund. Accordingly, the additional dues will continue for 2021 and the question of continuation will be voted on again at the autumn annual GSU meetings.
“This question has been voted on every year since 1996 and, while the margin has fluctuated from year to year, the ultimate outcome remains the same,” said GSU general secretary Hugh Wagner. “After 25 years it may be time to ask whether the Defense Fund has reached a sufficient size, suggesting a new approach. I expect this will be a topic at GSU’s policy convention scheduled for March 18 to 20, 2021.”

Overwhelming majority approve GSU constitutional amendment
A 98.59 percent majority of GSU members attending annual meetings this autumn voted in favour of amending the union’s constitution to change the holding of biennial policy conventions to every two years in odd numbered years. The first GSU policy convention under the amended constitution is scheduled to be held from March 18 to 20, 2021.

Questions? Comments? Contact your GSU staff rep.

GSU Defense Fund directors meet to review investments, finances
The board of directors of the GSU Defense Fund met on Dec. 10 to receive an update on the financial position of the Fund and hold an investment review meeting with representatives of RBC Dominion Securities.
The reports received by the directors show that the market value of the Defense Fund investments stood at $5.1 million as at Nov. 30, 2020. The directors also considered changes to RBC’s investment mandate and will meet again on Dec. 16 to discuss the matter. The Defense Fund maintains a cash account at Affinity Credit Union to receive members’ dues and all investments are held with RBC.
GSU Defense Fund is administered by a board of directors elected for two-year terms by delegates to the union’s biennial policy conventions. The current directors are Wilfred Harris (Local 1 – Carnduff), Darryl Knelsen (Local 1 – Fairlight), Dennis Piasta (Local 14 – Kindersley), Barb Healey (Local 14 – Edenwold) and Ron Gerlock (Local 8 – Regina). Day-to-day management of the Fund is the responsibility of GSU general secretary Hugh Wagner and financial representative Debbie Head.

If you have questions about the Defense Fund or are interesting in running to become a director on the Fund, contact Hugh Wagner.

Do you check your pay stubs?
GSU staff reps have been helping Local 15 (Nutrien) members check and understand their pay stubs as a result of changes in their newly implemented collective agreement. Salary calculation changes on the paystubs were noticed and brought to our attention by several GSU members in the local who make a point of regularly checking their pay stubs.

Checking your pay stub regularly is a good practice. You should also make sure you are keeping a good record of any time you have taken off, overtime you have worked, and when you have been away sick to help you ensure they have been recorded and reflected correctly on your pay stub.

Confirm your employer’s math. Ensuring that every calculation has been done accurately on your pay stub can also help you avoid an unpleasant surprise at tax time. You should also review the accuracy of your benefit and other deductions, including things like health, dental, charitable donations, or your pension/RRSPs. If they aren’t listed properly, you need to get things straightened out. 

Make sure the seemingly foolproof items on your pabstub are accurate, too. While it may seem inconsequential, you need to ensure your name, social insurance number, and other contact information is accurate, particularly when you start a new job. Catching errors quickly can save you problems down the road, and if you wait too long it may be challenging or even too late to get some things fixed. If your SIN number is incorrect, payments you make won’t be attached to your account, and you are pretty much guaranteed a call from Revenue Canada when you file your taxes. Reviewing your paid time off balance, pay rates, and other information to ensure accuracy can save you from a hassle later, too.

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As always, don't hesitate to contact your GSU staff rep if you need assistance. Our services are provided to you as part of your union dues, and there is never an additional charge for assisting you.