COVID April 1

April 1, 2020

Members of CUPE Local 358

On behalf of the Executive, we hope this message finds you safe and healthy!

We anticipated 2020 would be a very busy year. The thought was we would be busy preparing for bargaining as four of our six units have Collective Agreements that expire on December 31st. Additionally, one has already been completed as Duncan Meadows Golf ratified their new agreement last week.

However, something called COVID-19 has totally changed everything!

Thoughts now are more around how we can adapt to these challenging times. There are so many questions, it is hard to keep up. We are concerned with all our members health. Meetings, including Executive, Unit and Local meetings, have been cancelled until further notice. We share a priority with the rest of the community to flatten the curve and stay safe – so things can improve as soon as possible and we can get back to doing what we do!

Each of our six employers is working out a path through the pandemic in their own way. Some members have been able to continue working, some are now working from home. We have seen modified work schedules/procedures, members asked not to report to work and even some layoffs. Please stay in touch with your Shop Stewards if you have any questions or concerns on how things are evolving at your workplace.

We have all made major adjustments to our lives over the past few weeks. So much has changed in such a short time! We hope that everyone is getting the support you need for family, friends and co-workers. Below you will find a list of links for a variety of information in dealing with the pandemic.

Here is a short message from CUPE BC: Pandemic response is a collective responsibility and we all must take action to minimize the spread of this virus. Furthermore, CUPE members play very critical roles in our communities providing services and infrastructure the public rely on, especially during an emergency. These services are critical and we must take all possible steps to reduce the potential for COVID-19 to spread among our members and communities. Please stay tuned for updates from CUPE BC on upcoming events as we consult with CUPE National and our CUPE BC Executive Board on next steps.

Personally, I have been self-isolating for the past two weeks after a call to 811 (following 3 potential exposures and some mild symptoms.) I was hoping to get out an email to all of you sooner, but the email lists are stored on the office computer and I have been working from home. Although back today, I will continue to work from home as much as possible.

As this unprecedented situation changes from day to day and recommendations from the health authorities evolve rapidly, I am not sure the information at the following links is totally current – but have included them as a starting point for those trying to find answers.

Take care!

Tod LeSergent
Cupe Local 358

A message from Vancouver Island Counselling (EFAP) for those units that have the service:
After careful consideration and much discussion, I have also decided that we will offer clients counselling services only by telephone (and soon, online meeting format) for the time being. We will continue to respond onsite to any workplace emergency/critical incident. We continue to be here for you if you need to consult with us. We will provide compassionate and skilled service from all of our locations using all of our counselling and administrative staff. We will do this though, only in ways that keep everyone safe, healthy and aligned with our Provincial Health officials’ best recommendations and advice.  VIC (EFAP) newsletters

To keep you and your family safe, healthy, and informed on COVID-19, we encourage you to visit the Government of Canada’s coronavirus information.

For more local information, go to the BC Centre for Disease Control or your local health authority website.

Income supports for workers during the Coronavirus pandemic

Canada’s COVID19 economic response plan – support for Canadians and businesses:

Information for employees – pg 68

More information on extended tax deadlines, changes in property tax requirements, and supports like the Emergency Care Benefit are available on this factsheet

As announced, the Province of BC will be joining the federal government in offering economic support to employees and employers. The Province’s press release with links to more detail is available here

Vubiz has offered a free Coronavirus Preparedness for Employers and Employees:

Real Canadian Superstore and Shoppers Drug Mart have offered free resources:
• If you need to see your doctor, consider asking if they have virtual care options available in their practice
• If you don’t have your own physician, consider using our free virtual walk-in clinic.
• If you’re feeling particularly stressed, consider some of the mental health resources we’ve made available through our website free of charge

For those without the EFAP service – Moving Forward Counselling is offering free phone counselling supporting anyone struggling emotionally while in self-isolation. As seen on Global TV.

How to apply for EI and COVID19 emergency benefits