President’s Report December 2012

Season’s greetings brothers and sisters: I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and those close to you the best of this festive time of year.  No matter how you celebrate this season, we hope you find this time filled with joy and peace.  While you are out celebrating, please remember to designate a driver.

 

Accolades

I would like to take a moment in my report to mention a few of the accolades that have been bestowed upon many members of CUPE Local 30.

Forestry: Edmonton hosted this year’s Communities in Bloom conference.  This was a great opportunity to showcase the excellent work our horticulture and forestry departments do to keep this city looking bright.  During this conference awards were handed out for various achievements; best community program, best use of colour etc.  One of the awards is for best urban forest program which looks at many aspects of a forestry department from overall impact to diversified species to public information and involvement.  Points are then awarded for every category and sub category and tallied up to determine a winner.

It gives me great pleasure to announce that our forestry department scored the highest in the country and was presented with the National Urban Forestry award.  Recently I had an opportunity to attend the appreciation lunch where the official award was presented and they shared the points for every area.  It was great to see some of the highest marks were awarded for the quality of the crew and the maintenance program.  Congrats on a well deserved award.  We know we have one of the best urban forestry programs in the country if not North America, now all of Canada knows this too.

Fleet Services:  Over the past few years the fleet services branch has been entering into the “100 Best Fleets in North America” competition.  This program looks at all aspects of fleet services with an emphasis on “Doing it Right the First Time.”  This is where they gauge the turnaround time for vehicles that have been in for service and look at whether the return trip was due to something missed on the first call.  They also look at innovations within the department, quick efficient turnaround and a high level of trust amongst the staff.

In 2010 they made it into the honourable mention ranks.  Last year the branch was the 69thranked fleet.  This year the cracked the top twenty ranking 13thin all of North America and are the number one managed fleet in Canada.  The closest Canadian city was Vancouver with a rank of 71st  Here’s a tip of the hat to the brothers and sisters who keep one of the largest fleets in Canada running smoothly and efficiently.

Manager’s Awards of Excellence 2012:  CUPE Local 30 members shone in three areas at this year’s manager’s awards winning in two categories and taking honourable mention in another.

Stewardship Category:  Congratulations to Dave Abraham from the transportation department for his tireless work on the multi use trail that runs adjacent to the LRT line in the Boyle/McCauley neighbourhood.

Innovation Category:  Over at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre the crew that works at the Mixed Construction and Demolition area won in this category for their program the diverts more than 40,000 tonnes of construction waste from the landfill.

Honourable Mention:  Back at the aforementioned Fleet Services, Greg Hammett received honourable mention for his redesign on the Olympia Ice Resurfacer.  Greg noticed a high rate of board brush incidents requiring him to spend valuable time servicing these brushes.  He also noticed that unlike the Zamboni, the Olympia brush sits out more on the machine.  He then redesigned the side panel of the Olympia to allow the brush to recede further causing less chance of impact.

Waste Management:  Customer service reports have been released from the Waste Management branch and they are a shining example of the public’s feedback on the great work they do in that area.  The results show 89% of the public are satisfied with the service they receive at the curb.  92% of the customers at Edmonton Waste Management Centre and an overwhelming 97% of the people who utilize the Eco Stations are pleased with all aspects of the service in these areas.

Congratulations one and all for yet another area where CUPE Local 30 members have gone above and beyond the regular call of duty. The above is just a small sample of the great work we do for the City of Edmonton, EPCOR, Northlands, Thorsby and Fort Saskatchewan.  Our work does make our city work.

 

Steward Restructuring:

Over the past few months our stewards have been engaged in monthly workshops that will hone their skills representing the members at the work site.  We have been going over the aspects of every collective agreement that come up most frequently like bereavement leave, union representation, the grievance process and other frequently asked questions.  The goal is to reduce the volume of calls that come into the office on a daily basis and create a network of stewards who can answer these questions, talk to management and solve small issues before they become bigger issues.  In the future we will be holding workshops on note taking and facing management to name but a couple.  If you are interested in becoming a shop steward for your work area please give me a call at the office or contact your chief shop steward.

 

Committees:

It’s nice to see the committees up and running and presenting us with regular reports.  That said we have realized there are some holes that need to be filled.  Vacancies are in the following committees:  Environment – responsible for reporting on all matters of the environment and changes in laws and legislation that may have an impact on the member’s jobs. Editorial/Communications – this committee is responsible for communicating the message of the local to the membership, no matter the vehicle.  Historical – this one takes care of and preserves the history of the local.  As we move towards our 100thanniversary this committee will become busier as they plan the celebration for 2017.  Resolutions Committee – creates resolutions for National and Divisional conventions.  Finally the Standing Motions Committee – reviews all the motions made over the years that still have an impact on how we conduct business at Local 30.  Then they check to see if any can be rescinded or moved to our By-Laws.  If you are interested in sitting on any of these committees please contact the office and fill out an application.

 

Dues Restructuring: 

Later this year we will be presenting the members with three choices on our new dues structure.  This has been hanging over us for the past several years and has been top of mind with me since the election.  It is widely agreed that our dues need an overhaul, especially if we are to move forward with many of the changes we have in mind for the local.  We have been operating with an ‘80s finance structure with a 2012 economy.  Can you run your household budget today on ‘80s wages?  Watch for information sessions to begin sometime in the New Year.

 

Membership Engagement:

Over the past few months I’ve continued reaching out to new members as they go through a city orientation.  I will be asking the Chief Shop Stewards and VPs to conduct these as well.  With this approach, we are hoping to contact most new employees within the first few days of their start dates.  This has been a great way to introduce new employees to the union and what we do on their behalf.

 

Jobsite Visits:

Along with membership engagement this is another aspect of the job that I feel is very important and the two go hand in hand.  We understand that with complicated schedules members don’t always make it out to our meetings.  I like to bring the information of the local to the members.  I also use this opportunity to field questions.  In most cases these questions have been answered within 24 hours.  That said, I have been to several job sites over the past few months.  I was just about to start my rounds at transportation yards when the early snow landed and have had to postpone this for the time being.  I will attempt to get to those yards in the very near future.

I have also spent time at EPCOR assemblies and other large gatherings.  I have asked most branch managers to let me know when such events happen and will be visible for your questions in the near future.  I will also be spending some time in Fort Saskatchewan.  We need some shop stewards from that area and still have a vacancy on the board for that area.

 

P3 LRT:

I have been asked why I am involved with this campaign when its ATU 569 members who will have the biggest impact.  CUPE local 30 will also be impacted by the privatization the SE-West as we maintain the platforms, heaters, multi use trails that run adjacent to the tracks and more.  So while I stand arm in arm with the president of ATU, I am there representing the interests of CUPE Local 30 members.  This will also prepare for future privatization fights that we will inevitably face as Harper continues his P3 stance.

 

Political Action:

The municipal election is just around the corner.  The political action committee is preparing strategies to ensure we work together with our labour partners and coalition of civic unions during this important election.  We are facing another round of bargaining at the end of this year and though council doesn’t have an immediate impact on our contract, they do have the final say and also give direction.  It is important for us to elect those councils members who have our best interests at heart. We will also be looking for individuals who are willing to help out on political campaigns and possibly take a course on running an effective campaign.  This will be presented sometime this spring.  Watch for updates.

 

Executive Board:

I tip my hat to this executive board.  We have a good group of dedicated activists working hard at ensuring you are well represented in all work areas.  If the next 30 months are as enlightening as the first six, it’s going to be more like fun than work.

 

Working Relationship Agreement:

This is a very important document to all of us.  What we are finding is that it’s failing in some areas as some frontline supervisors refuse to uphold the agreement and direct the workforce without regard to the WRA.  Our solution to this issue is to have conversations with directors and stress the importance of upholding and live with the WRA.  I have been test driving this with branch managers and eventually we will have these discussions everywhere.  Just because we have these conversations in your work area does not mean there are issues at that site, we want the same message to be heard by everyone.

 

Bargaining:

We are heading into, what I feel is going to be, a very tough round of bargaining.  Based on some of the things we’ve heard from the mayor and other folks in the administration, we may have to dig our heels in and face some tough offers.  That said we have to ready ourselves with the best bargaining team equipped with the best tools possible.  Recently I’ve attended the CUPE Alberta bargaining conference where I was able to get a few tidbits of advice that will be useful as we near the exchange of proposals.  Further to that we will be sending a couple of delegates to the first ever CUPE National bargaining conference where we will be hoping to gather more information to assist us in achieving the best contract possible.  I’d like to divulge some of my ideas here, but this is in print and we don’t know where this may end up.

 

UMCCs/LMCs:

In every work area and bargaining unit I have been maintaining a presence at these Labour Managements Committees.  In areas where these have been dormant, along with the steward in that area, we have given them new life.  One of the main ones we are working on right now is in aquatics.  I have recently had discussions with Rob Smyth.  We have a target date of early April for the first meeting of this resurrected group.  As mentioned LMC meetings are covering all bargaining units with some meeting more frequently than others.  If you have any issues you feel need to be discussed in your particular area, please contact the steward or Chief Steward for your location.

 

ECECAF:

We just received an update from the Edmonton Civic Employees Charitable Assistance Fund or ECECAF for short which is the small deduction you see on your check every payday under “charitable.”  When your kids enter school, they are eligible for $1200 per semester for two concurrent terms.  The change is the fact that they are able to obtain this bursary until the age of 25 and they do not have to apply the first year out of high school.

Communications:

The new CUPE Local 30 website will be up and running very early in 2013.  We have been tweaking it on an almost daily basis and we are at 90%.

The new Facebook page has been set up.  The privacy settings are adjusted so that the casual passerby cannot read the posts.  In order to post on this page you have to be a member.  Just “friend” someone who is already in the group and they can add you.  I will also create a closed “page” as this can also get the information out via social media.  You can also follow me on Twitter.  My Twitter handle is mikescottCUPE.