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May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada

“Recognition, Resilience, and Resolve” is the theme for Asian Heritage Month 2021. This theme represents the myriad of sentiments that peoples of Asian descent in Canada have experienced and honours their contributions and their diverse stories which are rooted in resilience and perseverance.

Asian Heritage Month presents Canadians an occasion to talk about the Asian diversity of cultures and peoples and to appreciate the extraordinary contributions that communities of Asian descent in Canada have made and continue to make to our country.

It is also an opportunity to raise awareness of the on-going challenges faced by Asian communities across Canada and to confront and denounce anti-Asian racism and discrimination in all its forms. Sadly, the Covid-19 pandemic has increased anti-Asian racism and discrimination, and Vancouver alone reports incidents of anti-Asian hate rose by over 700% in the past year!

The rise in hate crimes targeting Asian communities is a call to action for all Canadians to come together to combat all forms of anti-Asian racism and discrimination. Let us celebrate the incredible diversity that is our strength and be resolute in our stand against all forms of anti-Asian racism and discrimination.

Here are a few ways to demonstrate solidarity and support:

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Happy anniversary to our CEU family!

May 23rd marks forty-seven years since the Compensation Employees’ Union was certified as a Union. Since that time, we have grown in many ways. From membership numbers to office Staff and locations to budgets to the defense fund to the Collective Agreement – it has all grown to keep pace with a membership that started at 730 people and has increased by approximately 2000 since that time.

While we sometimes have a louder, in-person celebration with cake, we find ourselves at home again for this anniversary. I also know that some of you are struggling and it may not be the time for a party anyways. Still, I wanted to take the opportunity to reach out today and say happy anniversary on behalf of the entire executive and staff. We really have come a long way when you consider that while we were fighting to form a Union in 1974 the objectives were:

  • (Obtaining) extended medical
  • Fairness and consistency in administering annual vacation scheduling
  • A bi-weekly pay period
  • Enlarged and improved cafeteria
  • Transfer of superannuation
  • Sick Leave
  • Substitution Pay
  • (Obtaining) Dental Plan

After achieving these objectives, the CEU shifted to new goals to reflect the needs and requests of our members. Every round of bargaining we try to increase member rights and it was many years of these improvements that led to our current CA. As the membership you continue to shape future rounds of bargaining by participating in the bargaining survey or even running for a member at large position on the bargaining team.

Although we are working on many of your concerns with the employer on almost a daily basis, like workload and mental health, I want you to take a moment and remind you of the importance of the labour movement globally, nationally and locally. Things like safety and health at work, decent wages, medical, dental and other collective agreement gains have been hard fought for in order to establish a base of agreed to rights and benefits that you and every co-worker is aware of so everyone can play by the same rules. Affiliating with the BCGEU and participating actively with the BC Federation of Labour and other labour organizations like NUPGE has only amplified our CEU voice to larger tables. We continue to learn from our sister organizations so we can all beat the drum to the same rhythm and continue to work together for labour rights locally and around the world.

Happy anniversary

Laura Snow, CEU President

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Why is the Union in the room?

When WCB meets with staff there is no obligation on the employer’s part to invite a union representative unless the employer intends to discipline the member in the meeting; the meeting could lead to the discipline (eg. an investigatory meeting where allegations of wrongdoing are being raised by the employer); or, the subject of the meeting is to discuss the member’s work performance.  Aside from these limited situations, the union has no right to attend employer-initiated meetings where a manager and/or director meets with the staff.

So, if there is no obligation to invite the union, why does a union representative sometimes attend staff meetings?

The union representative is there at the invitation of the employer, to observe the message the employer delivers to the staff and to listen to the discussion that flows from an announcement. Our participation is quite often limited to listening, witnessing, and understanding firsthand what transpires at the meeting, in case there are future discussions with management and/or members.

The union’s attendance does not, in and of itself, indicate that there is agreement with the employer on the topic being presented or the way it is presented by the employer.  We may disagree with the merits of an employer initiative, but, if the employer invites us to attend a staff meeting, we always try to send a representative.  We want to be able to hear directly what the employer tells the staff and what the members raise as positives and negatives of the employer’s announcement.  We also usually ask the employer if we may speak with the members privately at the end of the meeting, on work time, so that we can hear any concerns that may not have been raised in front of management. And then, based on all the information gathered from employer’s statements and members’ feedback, the union can move forward, better informed, to advocate on behalf of the membership in future meetings with the employer on the topic.

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BC commits to permanent, paid sick leave

BC announced changes to the Employment Standards Act that will bring permanent, paid sick leave to workers in BC.

Click on the red link to read about the BCFED’s commitment to continued advocacy to ensure all workers have access to paid sick leave as a basic public health protection and employment right for all.

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National Day of Mourning

On April 28, 1991, the federal government officially proclaimed the National Day of Mourning to honour workers who have died from a workplace injury or disease and to acknowledge the grief of all those affected by the loss.

Thirty years later we continue to observe this Day of Mourning and though there have been numerous improvements made to workplace safety over the past years, efforts must go much further as work-related fatalities are on the rise. One life lost is one life too many.

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Vaccination Appointment Leave

Recently CEU was able to negotiate an agreement with the employer whereby our Members may use work time to get their first dose of vaccine if the appointment given to…

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