President’s Report

Written by Communications Chair. Posted in Uncategorized

Welcome to fall from your Local Executive Committee!

To date the local has had a very busy 2017! As discussed at the 2016 AGM, the local has made it a priority this year to develop a strategic plan. Planning meetings commenced in February; once in place, the strategic plan will help the local prepare for its future needs and work towards identified short, medium, and long-term goals. We will be sharing more details of the strategic plan at our AGM on November 22.

At the beginning of 2017 the local also sent six members to political action training held at the CUPE BC Regional Office. This workshop provided members with some very useful tools and skills which prepared them to go out and volunteer on various political campaigns in their own communities. It was a busy spring, especially with a provincial election being held on May 9th.

In April the local sent a contingent of members to attend the CUPE BC convention in Victoria, BC.  The convention is always an exciting event and is an opportunity for members to engage with other activists and share their stories. One of the highlights of the convention was the Day of Mourning ceremony and march to the Parliament Buildings in honour of all those workers who have been killed on the job.

Members of the CUPE Pension Committee who sit on the Employees Joint Pension Committee (EJPC) continue to work on a proposal to improve pension plan benefits at SFU. The EJPC and members of the university administration continue to meet on a regular basis and we hope to have some concrete news for you later this fall. It has been a very, very, long process but CUPE and other members of the EJPC are very optimistic that we will have a proposal in place for everyone soon. There has been a very positive change in the tone of labour relations on campus and this has allowed for some very productive meetings and respectful conversation – a welcome change indeed!

Many of you may have noticed that the Highland Pub and Higher Grounds coffee shop are now closed as a result of a decision by the Simon Fraser Student Society to shut down its food and beverage operations. This was especially difficult for Unit 3 (SFSS Food and Beverage) members, as this decision saw the local lose 26 positions, 6 of which were continuing full-time CUPE staff positions, some with upwards of 10 years seniority. 

The local currently has a robust Grievance Committee, with many new stewards attending the “Introduction to Stewarding” course that the local hosted at Harbour Centre. Having an active Grievance Committee is one of our immediate goals. This allows the local to help provide assistance to those members who may be experiencing distress in their workplace. The local is always in need of more stewards, in all of our units, as each workplace has its own different sets of challenges.

Members of the Executive Board meet regularly with our Unit 5 members whose employer is the Simon Fraser Student Society. The SFSS Board has a new CEO who handles labour relations and employment issues.  The local meets once a month with the Unit 5 members and meets monthly with the employer to identify and help resolve issues of concern in the Unit 5 workplace. The new regime has meant for a more structured and regimented workplace. In addition, the workplace is evolving, and change can be difficult for members, but we are committed to making a better workplace for our members there.

Over the summer, after 6 days of mediation with the guidance of Jim Dorsey, the local and employer reached a settlement and protocol agreement on sick leave aggregation. This has been a long-standing issue for the local, with some of the grievances going back 17 years. In October Unit 1 members will be invited to attend lunch time meetings to find out about some the changes with respect to how your sick time hours will be aggregated going forward. Please plan on attending one of these upcoming information meetings.

As far as bargaining goes, the local is currently in bargaining for approximately 100 Unit 4 members who work for BEST Services, SFU’s cleaning contractor. We have launched a yellow button “Working for you at SFU” campaign for our BEST members, and are encouraging our BEST members to wear this yellow button on their uniforms whilst they are at work. The local has a few of the yellow buttons left, so if you are interested wearing one as a show of solidarity, please get in touch with the union office.

This past spring and summer saw the retirement of two of our long-serving activists:  Joann Field, from the Bookstore, and Lynne Fowler, from the Library – both former Presidents. This has left big shoes to fill, and was part of the impetus for the local to start planning for its future.  The local wishes to thank these two hard-working sisters for their many, many years (upwards of 20 years) of dedication and commitment to the labour movement and to both the AUCE and CUPE members at the SFU campuses! They will be well missed.

As we start the new Fall semester the local has number of upcoming events that we would like you to make note of:

  1. On September 21, 2017 – there will be a Special AGM where we will receive nominations for the upcoming elections for those positions currently open. You must attend the meeting to accept your nomination in person, or if you are not able to attend this meeting you submit a written acceptance letter to Union Office by this date.  The local will also provide Committee updates and a Business Agent Report.
  2. A September Social, on September 23, 2017 (check date) – it is time to gather off campus for some fun!  This event will be held at Rocky Point Park, and everyone and their family is welcome! Special thank you to our newly formed Social Committee for getting us going on this. Remember, RSVP to by September 20th for catering.
  3. The Annual General Meeting – to be held on November 22


Respectfully yours and In Solidarity,

Fiona Brady Lenfesty, President, Local 3338 at SFU & our Executive Board:
Dave Chokroun,1st Vice President
Craig Pavelich, Secretary-Treasurer
Chika Buston, Recording Secretary
Tom Peacock, Sergeant-at-Arms
Judy Zhu, Member-at-Large
Unit 4 (BEST) – Ann Mitchell
Unit 5 (SFSS) – Ed Deeks
Unit 6 (Grad Students Society) – Jeanette Ordóñez
Business Agent: John Bannister
Member Service Coordinator: Jan Gunn
Temporary CUPE National Service Rep: Ryan Boyce, filling in for Rachel Champagne.

CUPE BC’s 53rd annual convention wraps in Victoria

Written by Communications Chair. Posted in Uncategorized

VICTORIA, BC—Delegates to CUPE BC’s 53rd annual convention in Victoria, which concluded April 30, 2016 after three days of speeches and debate, acclaimed Paul Faoro to the position of president and Trevor Davies to the position of secretary-treasurer. Alison Pringle was elected to the position of general vice president, and Laurie Whyte was elected to the position of trustee (3-year term.) The elections were made necessary by the election in November of former CUPE BC President Mark Hancock to the office of CUPE’s national president.

“I’m honoured to have the support and confidence of the members of our great union to continue our proud tradition of advocacy and representation on behalf of our 85,000 members across B.C.,” said Faoro. “We have much work ahead of us as we mobilize our members as never before to take on and help defeat the Christy Clark BC Liberal government in next year’s election.”

“To have earned the trust of delegates and members to continue in the important role of stewarding our finances is truly humbling,” said Davies. “I am committed to ensuring the Division has the necessary resources to support our Locals, District Councils and members across the province, as well as being able to invest in a robust and effective political action program.”

Local 3338 (Simon Fraser University) sent the following members to Victoria to represent the local in Victoria: Fiona Brady Lenfesty (President), Craig Pavelich (Secretary Treasurer & Young Worker), and Gerdi Snyder (Member-at-Large).

Among the resolutions delegates passed was an historic constitutional amendment that will add two diversity seats to the executive board after next year’s elections, one representing workers with disabilities and one representing LGBTQ+ workers.

I’m thrilled to see delegates at CUPE BC recognize the need for a greater diversity of representation on the Executive,” said Craig Pavelich. “With the addition of a seat for workers with disabilities and a seat for LGBTQ+ workers, the voices of marginalized workers are being added to those of workers of colour and Indigenous workers. We fight every day for equity in the workplace, and now there is greater opportunity for the CUPE BC Executive to hear directly from workers experiencing systemic oppression.”

Reflecting further on his experience, Craig added, “It has become more and more clear to me that there is strength in numbers. We are not alone. Harassment and intimidation have no place in society, and certainly no place at work. We have the right to safe, equitable and fair workplaces. Together, we can create change for our members. Together, we are strong.”

Convention featured keynote speeches from award-winning Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy, outgoing Representative for Child and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, and BC NDP Leader John Horgan, as well as greetings from a wide range of union leaders.

“Convention is always an exciting time of year!  As activists we enjoy connecting with other members of CUPE BC and sharing our stories with one another. It is always encouraging to know that we have the solidarity of 86,000 CUPE BC members behind us, often we forget this as we deal with the day-to-day issues within each of our locals.  One of the many convention highlights for me was Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s address to convention.  Her words resonated with each and every one of the delegates.  Her hard-hitting speech brought the house down with a standing ovation!” commented Fiona Brady Lenfesty. 

For the first time in CUPE BC’s history, the president of the BCGEU was invited to address the Convention, continuing to build the strong relationship between the unions.

Going forward education and solidarity is key!

Gerdi Snyder, Member at Large and first time delegate remarked, “I have learned how many people fight for the same things behind the scenes but we do not ever hear from other locals, or hear what they have to deal with in regards to their employers.  It was very educational to see what CUPE BC and CUPE National does for all its members.  This was very valuable to me.  They both work very hard and are extremely passionate about their work.  I believe we have to do more in educating our members about the union as this seems one area that is lacking a bit.  It was also very interesting to see and hear from all the various speakers from all areas of government, etc.  We have to continue to fight for our rights and for respectful and harassment free workplaces.  Last I would like to thank to local for the opportunity to attend”.

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In Solidarity,

Your 2016 Convention Committee (Fiona, Craig and Gerdi)