In the spirit of openness and transparency, I would like to share with you, our members, a letter that I forwarded today to the WCB’s Chief Financial Officer, Andria McCaughan, regarding the organization’s plans to resume “normal” business operations. This planning process is proceeding without representation from your Union, and we feel that this is a missed opportunity to ensure our members’ voices are represented and heard during this important planning phase.
Dear Ms. McCaughan:
RE: YOUR APRIL 30, 2020 EMAIL – COVID-19 STAFF UPDATE
On behalf of the Union, I am writing to you regarding the above-referenced email sent to all WCB of Manitoba staff.
In your email you refer to “Resuming ‘normal’ operations” and advise staff that EMC is working on a business recovery plan for the WCB that will include the resumption of regular operations. You further indicate that as the recovery plan gets worked out, the Employer will continue to keep staff updated and expect to be able to share some details within the next week or two.
The Employer is aware that CUPE Local 1063 is the sole bargaining representative for unionized employees of the WCB of Manitoba. It is the position of the bargaining unit that the Union has a vested interest in ensuring that members returning to work be treated in a manner that is fair, reasonable and consistent with the terms of the Collective Agreement. We are aware that aside from the normal logistics of returning to normal operations, there are additional circumstances that will potentially affect the ability of employees to physically return to the workplace. One of those circumstances will be the lack of available child care for employees with children as a result of the decision of the Government to close child care spaces, except for essential workers, and to close schools. There are other circumstances that may also affect the ability of individual employees to return to work immediately.
The Union regrets that EMC chose not to include the Union in developing the plan to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe that, at the very least, the Workplace Health & Safety Committee should have been included in any discussions relative to health and safety concerns. I am aware, from speaking with one of Local 1063’s past Presidents, that the Employer had included him, as a representative of Local 1063, in the development of the Pandemic Plan developed years ago.
The Union believes that as one of the Parties to the Collective Agreement, it is important that we be involved in planning discussions that affects the members that we represent.
We respectfully request that CUPE Local 1063 be involved in, and kept fully apprised of, all planning relative to a “return to ‘norma’” operations. We believe that it would be a proactive approach that would enable the Parties to minimize potential problems and allow for a speedier, consistent and fair resolution of concerns.
May we please be advised,
Dennis Kshyk, President, CUPE Local 1063