CUPE calls on School Divisions to cancel school bus routes – COVID-19

WINNIPEG – CUPE is calling on School Divisions to cancel school bus routes, following the
Louis Riel School Division’s (LRSD) March 15th email to parents noting that school bus drivers
are expected to conduct medical assessments of students prior to letting them on the bus.
Additionally, according to the email, school bus drivers are required to permit students on the bus
who exhibit flu-like symptoms.

“CUPE is incredibly concerned that the School Division is expecting bus drivers to conduct
medical assessments of students,” said Rick Peschel, CUPE School Sector Coordinator.
“Considering the health authorities’ suggestion of social distancing, we’re not convinced that is
possible on a school bus.”

Bus drivers are not equipped to provide accurate medical assessments of students or parents
entering their vehicle.

Bus drivers do not have the appropriate health and safety tools to perform their duties in an
enclosed vehicle with students who may have COVID-19-like symptoms.

Drivers who identify students with flu-like symptoms do not have the appropriate tools or training
to ensure that the quarantined student follows social distancing procedures.

“Bus drivers should be focused on the road, not on enforcing a quarantine at the back of their
bus,” said Peschel. “For the safety of the students and staff, CUPE is calling for the cancellation
of school bus routes going forward, asking parents to assess their children who may have flu-like
symptoms by calling Health Links, and arranging alternate transportation.”

CUPE also echoes the Manitoba Teachers Society’s call for schools to be suspended as soon as
possible.

Should schools or bus routes cease operations entirely, it is CUPE’s position that School
Divisions should provide full wage continuance for affected members, including bus drivers,
educational assistants, secretaries, custodians and other staff.

The LRSD memo to parents can be found here: https://mailchi.mp/lrsd/important-informationabout-
covid-4351387?e=8123f27ae5

CUPE represents over 5,000 school division employees across Manitoba.

CUPE 204’s March 13 recommendations to COVID-19 preparedness for Community Services and Home Care members

CUPE is committed to standing up for the health, safety, and workplace rights of our Community Services and Home Care members. We have received a lot of feedback from members concerning the WRHA’s response and preparedness for COVID-19.

Thank you to all members who have reached out with your suggestions and concerns.
Our union’s greatest strength is you, the membership.

On March 13, 2020, CUPE Local 204 made the following three recommendations to the employer in the interests of clients, staff, and public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  1. Given the global COVID-19 pandemic and the necessity of “social distancing,” CUPE is writing on behalf of Resource Coordinators in WRHA Community Health Services to request that the DSS Task Efficiencies Review be indefinitely suspended in the interests of client, staff, and public safety. The DSS Task Efficiencies Review requires Resource Coordinators to shadow direct service staff throughout their shifts, entering each client’s home. Given the exceptional circumstances of this global pandemic, the Union requests these door-to-door assessment activities by Resource Coordinators be suspended until such time as it is safe for them to recommence.
  2. Given the global COVID-19 pandemic and the necessity of “social distancing,” CUPE is writing on behalf of direct service staff to request that, during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, they not be mandated to be “in house” (physically inside the access centres) during available hours when they do not have clients scheduled.

  3. CUPE would like to request that hand sanitizer and masks be made available for staff at all access centres. In addition, it has come to the Union’s attention that increasingly clients are denying direct service staff access to washroom facilities including towels and paper towels because of concern about toilet paper and towel shortages.  Consequently, CUPE requests that the WRHA send out a reminder to all home care clients that they are obligated to provide washroom facilities including toilet paper, soap, and a clean towel or paper towel to direct service staff. These circumstances are only expected to escalate without attention.

These requests were sent to the WRHA on March 13, 2020.

We will update members on the responses we receive. We want to remind all members that the COVID-19 situation is changing every day, and CUPE 204 will ensure we continue to represent our members, and our members’ concerns to the employer.

It is important to report lack of equipment or any other concerns you have to your supervisor immediately.

Please contact CUPE 204 if you have any questions or concerns.

CUPE Manitoba Update – COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to affect our community and our workplaces, rest assured that it has the full attention of CUPE Manitoba.

We are monitoring the situation as it affects our members across all sectors, participating in discussions with employers and government, and we are working hard to ensure that our members’ concerns are at the forefront of our union’s response to the pandemic.

CUPE Manitoba’s first priority will always be the health and safety of our members, and of our community.

We are also working on ensuring members are treated fairly in the workplace, and that your rights are protected.

As you all know, the COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly, and things change day-by-day.

We encourage you to contact your CUPE Local representatives, or the CUPE Regional or Area Office if you have concerns related to your health & safety, or if your rights in the workplace are being violated.

Your CUPE Collective Agreement remains in effect throughout this pandemic.

If you are being asked to do unsafe work, you have the right to refuse.
Contact CUPE right away.

If you have questions related to self-quarantine, your personal health, or about COVID-19 we encourage you to rely on official sources only.

Government of Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/being-prepared.html
Government of Manitoba: https://www.gov.mb.ca/health/coronavirus/
Shared Health (including resources for health care staff): https://sharedhealthmb.ca/health-providers/coronavirus-resources/

Additionally, CUPE Manitoba has postponed our upcoming convention in April.

We want to thank all CUPE members for the important work you do in serving our community. This is an extremely difficult time, and we are all doing what we can to keep our communities and workplaces safe. Stay tuned for more updates.

Your CUPE team

CUPE Manitoba Convention Postponed – COVID-19

The CUPE Manitoba Annual Convention scheduled for April 15-17, 2020, will be postponed to a later date.

Out of an abundance of caution related to the COVID-19 pandemic, CUPE Manitoba will not be holding our annual convention until the pandemic has subsided, or until health authorities recommend such gatherings can take place without potentially putting participants at risk of contact with COVID-19.

CUPE Manitoba is the province’s largest public sector union, representing workers in health care, long-term care, K-12 education, post-secondary education, municipalities, crown services, child and social services, and more.

Our members care for vulnerable populations, and CUPE Manitoba takes COVID-19 very seriously.

Health authorities have suggested “social distancing measures”, which include the avoidance of large, prolonged group gatherings.

“Members should rest assured that the postponement of the CUPE Manitoba Convention does not mean that the work of the union has stopped,” says Abe Araya, President of CUPE Manitoba.

“CUPE Manitoba will continue to represent our members, hold government to account, and continue to advocate for strong protections for members who work in sectors with increased risk of contact with COVID-19.”

CUPE encourages all members to avoid misinformation, and read more about COVID-19 from official sources.  CUPE Manitoba also encourages members to follow the recommended guidelines (with the links below) for disease prevention which includes washing your hands.

Government of Canada:  https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/being-prepared.html

Government of Manitoba:  https://www.gov.mb.ca/health/coronavirus/

Shared Health: (including resources for health care staff):  https://sharedhealthmb.ca/health-providers/coronavirus-resources/

For more information related to CUPE Manitoba’s Convention, contact CUPE Manitoba at
204-560-2140.