President’s Report – May 27, 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers, Colleagues, Friends:

As we approach June 1st, and a resumption of school services to the youth, I am grateful for all the many blessings, for your friendship, and for all you do.  Thank you.  We are all living and working through very uncertain times.

As June 1st approaches we still have many questions on school reopening.

I am not big on “what if’s.” Speculating on all the possibilities causes increased anxiety, worry and harms our solidarity.  We can only deal with what we know. As things unfold and as issues arise, we will address them. So far, we have had many concerns raised that we successfully resolved.

We worked hard to provide, first, for continued employment, and thus income at a time when many other workers received layoffs and businesses shut down.  Second, we worked to address system-wide failures or complications, that reflected the realities members reported to us.  Third, we addressed countless individual matters that arose concerning specific members.

All in all, we did very well.  Everyone received regular income while that was possible.  Now, most people are working, and those who are unable to come to work are either on government support or are using their sick days. Most people are not working full time hours but are getting paid full time wages.  This is something we should be thankful for and something that happened as a result of concerted efforts both at our Local level and at the provincial and regional levels of our union.

It is important for members to understand that a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to provide for everything positive that happens.  We have been meeting with the employer to deal with issues as they arise. Things are changing daily, if not hourly.

Something else I want to clarify. It is my job to meet with the employer and fight for your interests. Meeting with the employer does not mean we are necessarily in agreement with a particular directive or policy. It also does not mean that because we disagree with a particular decision there is anything we can do about it.

I am not happy that managers and administrators have been telling you on occasion that “the union agreed to this”.  We have been advised or consulted on many things we don’t agree with but cannot change.  Some of the decisions being made are not made by the district. They are being made by the Ministry of Education, Provincial and Richmond Health officers and the CDC and BCCDC. In a state of emergency, they have extraordinary powers to assure maximum public welfare.  You should also know that your managers also tried very hard to look out for your welfare.

The union is here to advocate for you and to uphold the Collective Agreement. The employer has the contractual right to manage. Management is also human.  They also do not have all the answers.  We have a very good working relationship with the employer. There are some issues neither they, nor we, have control over.

Moving forward I urge everyone to work through this together.  I ask our members to engage with openness and flexibility and give each other the benefit of doubt.  There is often a lack of information or incomplete information. I am happy to answer any questions.

Being divided or having unnecessary conflict, or scapegoating, or jumping to conclusions benefits no one.

Many of us are scared.  I’m concerned for you, I’m concerned for my family. Same is true for managers and everyone in the organization.  Everyone is trying their best.

There are many unanswered questions. But nothing in life is certain and we surely stand a better chance when we confront adversity together.  Please join me in being a United team.


In solidarity


Ian Hillman

President CUPE 716

Colleen Martins Candidate Profile Vote 2020

Fellow Brothers & Sisters and Friends,


I would like to take this time to thank my nominators for nominating me for Education Assistant Shop Steward.


I have had the privilege of serving on the Executive for three years now.  I have been an EA in the district since 2003.  I had wanted to be involved with the Union for a long time.  When the position of Sergeant at Arms became available I thought it was a good way to get involved and to see how the Executive worked.  Although it might not be obvious, the Sergeant at Arms position is an important one.  They are responsible for:  Guarding inner doors at meetings, tiling the doors during elections, overseeing and compiling attendance records at regular meetings, notifying the Chair of new members awaiting initiations or if we have fallen below quorum.  It also involves attending all regular membership meetings and Executive meetings and having a voice at the table.


Following Sergeant At Arms, I served as Para Educator Shop Steward and later as Education Assistant Shop Steward.  In the year that I was Education Shop Steward I met with several members during and after school to listen to their concerns.  I have dealt with conflict resolution both with members facing Human Resources as well as with their School Administration. I have worked with groups concerning their refusal of unsafe work, represented members during disciplinary meetings as well as advocated for members’ health and safety. Outside of this role I have, during my own time, also helped the Chief Shop Steward (2nd Vice President) research past files to gather information to assist with a member’s health and safety claim.  While doing this I also amalgamated and reviewed past WVRAs into a cohesive and up-to-date database.


Committees and courses that have helped me to serve the membership better are listed below.



  • Bargaining 2019
  • Communications
  • Site Health & Safety



  • Intro to Stewarding
  • Creating an Accommodating and Friendly Workplace
  • Representing Members in Front of Management
  • Creating Gender Equality
  • Growing and Mobilizing Power
  • Mental Health in the Workplace
  • Duty to Accommodate
  • Psychosocial Factors at Work
  • Human Rights
  • Handling Discipline and Discharge
  • What Stewards Need to Know About Bargaining
  • Conflict resolution


In closing I feel that I am approachable, compassionate, a team player, a good listener, empathetic, and always endeavour to get answers for our members in a timely manner.   I have the experience and look forward to another term as your Education Shop Steward.


Thank you,


Colleen Martins


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Dianne Ryan Candidate Profile Vote 2020

May 13, 2020


Hello Brothers and Sisters,

I was nominated to run for EA Shop Stewart in this election and after giving it a lot of thought I have decided to let my name stand. I have been an EA in Richmond for 20 years. My hire date is September 7, 2000. I have worked all over the district, spent a lot of time on call going everywhere (even Hamilton). I spent most of my time in Elementary School (Grauer, Byng, Gilmore) and a few years at McMath. I owe a debt of gratitude to the many EA’s I have worked with over the years who have taught me so much, mostly by example, about how to help stu- dents be the best that they can be. I have been down-sized, declared surplus, laid off, had hours cut, been spit on, yelled at, bitten, disrespected, not invited to important meetings,    asked to do the job of 3 people and all the other things that happen to EA’s. I know what it’s  like. The EA Shop Steward represents the largest group in the district and is deserving of better representation than they have been getting.

When I started to work at Byng in 2001, I was brought to the union meeting by a coworker.   She thought I should know something about it (thank you Melanie). I have always gone to meetings, sometimes more than others, when issues seemed pressing, but I found them interesting and I understood that I had my decent job with pretty good benefits because of the union (among other things). Last year, the executive was struggling for people to help and I became involved as the Sargent at Arms. I was told that my job was to buy the coffee and the donuts for the General Meetings and come to the executive meetings once a month. I was promised a voice at the table. I started to get more involved because I wanted to help. My friend and co-worker Loreen came along with me and volunteered too. We did it together.

Once I was elected, I started attending executive meetings (as well as General meetings) once a month and listening to what was happening. It was interesting. I learned a lot about the managers and the problems people were having. I was privileged to go for shop steward training the end of February and became the IT Shop Steward around the same time because it seemed that nobody wanted the job. That’s how a lot of jobs get filled in the Union unfortunately. Then March hit and all this has happened around us and to us and the plight of EA’s got real interesting. That’s when we really needed a strong EA leader to step up and help us. The concerns were many but there was no EA Shop Steward to guide us or give us information. It became clear to me then that there is more that I could do.

The Shop Steward is an important link between the union members and the Union leaders. A link that has been missing. If I am elected as your EA Shop Steward I will listen to your concerns. I will work to establish regular communication among EA’s and I will bring your concerns forward to the executive meetings and inform you of what has happened. I will be accountable to you by providing regular reports. I will represent you to the best of my ability to management. I will seek out training and workshops to become better trained to serve you better. I  have a special love/concern for Health and Safety and will be really interested in all things related to that, particularly as it concerns EA’s.


I see a vision of our Union, Cupe 716, working together with the managers and stakeholders of District 38 to make Richmond a great place to lead and learn or something like that.


Please register to vote, and vote for me on May 19. I will do my best for you.


In Solidarity,


Dianne Ryan

Please email with any questions

thank you for your time and consideration.


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CUPE 716 Election Nomination Results

Dear Members,

Here are the results of the CUPE 716 Election Nominations:

NOTE: *Not enough meetings:


Unfortunately, the candidates did not meet the requirements of the Bylaws, which state:


Only those members with one continuous year of membership, in good standing with this Union and in attendance of not less than 50% of the general membership meetings during the past twelve months shall be entitled to be nominated for an Executive position. (Article B.2.3/B.7.1)


It is not my desire to exclude anyone from participating, but the bylaws are fairly clear.  We received a motion through the email to waive the requirements of the meeting attendance provisions.  This motion, however, would be out of order, since the requirements in the bylaws exist to create an equal playing field for all candidates, and it would not be fair that they be altered right before the election.  This requirement has been waived in the past only in circumstances where there was a vacant position with only one candidate who did not meet the meeting attendance requirement.  Given that in this circumstance, the positions have another candidate who does meet the meeting requirements, it would be improper to apply a rule to one candidate, but relax the rule on another.


In assessing the meeting requirement, I attempted to give the benefit to the candidates, but the requirement was still not met:  the bylaw requires 50% of the meetings in the past 12 months, which would be 50% of 8 meetings total; even when we subtract 2 meetings not held due to COVID-19, this leaves 8 meetings total.


If we credit the candidates “virtually” for a meeting that would have occurred in May, and count that meeting as part of the calculation, this would bring the total number of meetings up to 9.

  This leaves the following positions where an election is still required:

  • Shop Steward Education Assistants
    •  Candidates: Colleen Martins and Dianne Ryan
  • Shop Steward Information Technology
    •  Candidates: Colleen Martins and Dianne Ryan
  • Sgt -at- Arms: Depending on the outcome of the other elections, this position may be filled or become vacant and will then be on the agenda for the next meeting.
  • Shop Steward Transportation
    • Vacant
According to past practices when there is a General Election if a position has nominee(s) and they decline when called upon, then the position is closed til the next meeting. It is not put the floor again.
The position is then picked up by the Chief Shop Steward (2nd Vice position now) until it is filled.
So I will be going with this past practice for the Transportation Shop Steward at this time.  It will be on the agenda for the next meeting.
It is not my place to urge candidates to work out their differences given that there appears to be sufficient number of positions for those who have met the eligibility, but in the interest of saving the local unnecessary expense,
this may be a prudent decision.
Suzzan Poppell
Election Officer

Election 2020 Update

Sisters and Brothers:

I hope this finds you well and healthy. I know for myself, the weather outside has definitely helped improve my mood, and I am always encouraged by the arrival of the spring – life in all its forms – goes on.

I am informed by the Election Officer Sister Suzzan Poppell that the nomination period has closed and she has tabulated all the nominations and arranged the candidate lists. Unfortunately, we will not be able to release this information this evening (May 11, 2020) but look for it tomorrow (May 12) to be posted here and also sent to the email address you provided when you registered to vote.

My thanks to Sister Poppell, everyone who participated in any way, to the members who registered to vote and participate in democracy, to all the candidates, for all your excellent work on behalf of all the students and for your friendship too,

In solidarity,

Dan Todd
National Representative