Putting employees’ well being before politics – Proposed reduction in work hours

Earlier today, Premier Brian Pallister suggested that public sector employees deemed non-essential will need to work part-time to help divert funds to front-line services in the province. One scenario he proposed included employees working two days a week and applying for Employment Insurance (EI) to help offset the other three days not worked. He proposed this as a way to avoid layoffs and to help the province address some of its financial challenges as it deals with reduced sources of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As expected, many of you have brought forward your concerns and questions about how these proposals for reduced hours could potentially affect us as WCB employees.

It is your Union’s position that WCB employees should not be asked to reduce their hours. The Provincial Government does not fund the WCB and would achieve no cost savings by having staff reduce their work hours. Instead what this would do is create financial hardship for our members at an already enormously stressful and uncertain time.

I have reached out to WCB President and CEO, Winston Maharaj, to inform him of our position regarding reduced work hours for members. I have asked that he provide us with assurances that our members won’t be forced to work part-time, especially when we know that doing so would be of no help in funding critical services in the province. As your Union, we see this as an opportunity for WCB Management to go to bat for employees, and to prioritize employee well being over political considerations.

Your Union executive and I will continue to keep you informed as we hear more. In the meantime, we ask that you share with us what a reduction in hours would mean to you and your families. We will look at sharing some of these (without using members’ names), with WCB Management so that they can see first-hand how this decision will affect our members.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns related to COVID-19, please reach out to Brothers Rick Rennie, Bob Sawchyn and/or myself. We will also continue to post information at https://1063.cupe.ca/.

Wishing you and your families safety and health during this difficult time.

In Solidarity,
Dennis Kshyk
CUPE 1063, President