CUPE calls on support for Manitoba workers and their families

*note this update is as of March 17, 2020.

CUPE members work hard every day to deliver quality public services that our communities can rely on across Manitoba. We want to thank all members who are working on the front lines of the current coronavirus outbreak.

At this time, we know that public services and the workers that deliver these services are more important than ever as we face a global pandemic.

CUPE Local Unions and CUPE Manitoba have been monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic closely. The situation is evolving quickly, and we know that this is causing stress and confusion for our members as facility closures, school closures and service restrictions are being put in place in an attempt to curb the outbreak.

We remind CUPE members and all workers that it is the responsibility of employers to ensure the health and safety of their employees, and that you have the right to refuse unsafe work. Your union’s resources and expertise are available to help you. Contact your CUPE Local Union or area CUPE office should you have questions.

Your union is working hard to protect our members’ rights and to advocate for our members’ health and safety – as well as your economic stability and income security during this uncertain time.

CUPE Manitoba is calling on the Government of Manitoba to immediately address the following issues to support public sector workers in the fight to curb the outbreak:

  • Workers should not face loss of income due to quarantine or self-isolation measures, and incomes should be maintained for workers affected by temporary closures of schools, universities, child care centres and recreational facilities.
  • All front-line workers need access to appropriate personal protective equipment, including N95 respirators.
  • Workers who have to self-isolate due to illness, travel or compromised immunity should be able to access paid leave without using sick leave banks.
  • We echo the Manitoba Federation of Labour’s call for fourteen (14) days of paid job-protected leave for all workers in the province
  • Doctor note requirements by public-sector employers should be waived.
  • With schools and child care centres closing*, the government needs to provide substantial financial assistance for parents who cannot afford alternative care, or who need to miss work to care for a child.
  • Legislation to protect the jobs of all workers and waive the requirements for sick notes during the pandemic.
  • Call on the federal government to expand access to Employment Insurance, increase benefit levels, and reduce eligibility requirements.
  • Instruct crown and municipal utilities, banks, landlords, credit card companies and financial institutions to extend and relax mortgage, rent and bill payment requirements, loan servicing obligations, and other responsibilities facing consumers and households.

If you are experiencing symptoms and recently traveled outside Canada or you were exposed to someone who has COVID-19, it is advised that you stay home and contact Health Links (204-788-8200) or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257) for instructions.

Shared Health also offers an online self-screening tool: https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool/

*NOTE:  Parents who will be providing front-line health care or are a member of a fire, police or paramedic service and will not be able to find alternative child care while services are suspended are asked to contact 204-945-0776 or 1-888-213-4754 (toll-free).

For the latest news visit:

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/
Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Benefits:
www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html

CUPE will be posting updates as they become available on the CUPE National website at www.cupe.ca/search/COVID.

We recommend checking back regularly.

With thanks to CUPE Saskatchewan. We’re all in this together.

DJ:NM:cbc/cope 491
17-Mar-19

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.