Cupe National Reconciliation Webinar

In honour of the new National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, CUPE National hosted two virtual discussions on reconciliation, one in English and one in French. The panelists provided a powerful conversation touching on their own personal experiences, the new National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and the legacy of residential schools.

Sharing this video for those of you that were not able to attend the CUPE National Reconciliation Event.  Thank you for putting on such a powerful event, and making it available for us to view.  More information and resources can be found here.

CUPEBC: Vaccine Mandate for Provincial Public Service

Vaccine mandate for provincial public service makes sense—CUPE BC

Given rising cases in public schools, K-12 system vaccine mandates next logical step

BURNABY—Today’s announcement from the B.C. government implementing mandatory vaccinations across the public service makes sense as they are the best proven measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, CUPE BC President Karen Ranalletta said today.

“Throughout the pandemic CUPE BC has supported the efforts of public health officials as they’ve led the fight against COVID-19, and the introduction of a vaccination mandate for the public service is the next logical step to protect our communities,” said Ranalletta. “Given the rise in COVID cases in our schools, we think it also seems prudent to apply this mandate to the K-12 system.”

Ranalletta said that CUPE locals representing workers in the B.C. K-12 education system are ready to work with school districts and the provincial government to ensure any immunization plans are effective, efficient, and respect the rights of K-12 school workers.

“Although individual school districts are responsible for bringing in such a mandate, there can’t be a patchwork quilt of differing approaches to this across the province,” said Ranalletta. “We are urging the provincial government to develop a uniform set of standards to guide the implementation of mandates so that all districts—and all employees—have a consistent framework. And of course, there needs to be reasonable accommodation for the small number of education workers with recognized human rights exemptions.”

CUPE BC continues to strongly encourage all its members to get vaccinated, as it is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. In addition to considering vaccine mandates, CUPE is urging school districts to expand safety measures that promote clean and healthy schools, such as permanent daytime custodial services.

Vaccine mandate for provincial public service makes sense—CUPE BC

Given rising cases in public schools, K-12 system vaccine mandates next logical step

BURNABY—Today’s announcement from the B.C. government implementing mandatory vaccinations across the public service makes sense as they are the best proven measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, CUPE BC President Karen Ranalletta said today.

“Throughout the pandemic CUPE BC has supported the efforts of public health officials as they’ve led the fight against COVID-19, and the introduction of a vaccination mandate for the public service is the next logical step to protect our communities,” said Ranalletta. “Given the rise in COVID cases in our schools, we think it also seems prudent to apply this mandate to the K-12 system.”

Ranalletta said that CUPE locals representing workers in the B.C. K-12 education system are ready to work with school districts and the provincial government to ensure any immunization plans are effective, efficient, and respect the rights of K-12 school workers.

“Although individual school districts are responsible for bringing in such a mandate, there can’t be a patchwork quilt of differing approaches to this across the province,” said Ranalletta. “We are urging the provincial government to develop a uniform set of standards to guide the implementation of mandates so that all districts—and all employees—have a consistent framework. And of course, there needs to be reasonable accommodation for the small number of education workers with recognized human rights exemptions.”

CUPE BC continues to strongly encourage all its members to get vaccinated, as it is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. In addition to considering vaccine mandates, CUPE is urging school districts to expand safety measures that promote clean and healthy schools, such as permanent daytime custodial services.

Options Paper on Paid Sick Leave

Dear CUPE member,

As working people, we all know that access to paid sick leave is much more than just a workplace issue. During an ongoing pandemic, it’s also essential to maintaining public health and building a resilient province; it’s critical to ensuring that our workforce is prepared to weather this COVID storm and confront future crises. But most of all, it’s a matter of equity and fairness: workers should never have to be forced to choose between their health and their financial well-being.

According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, only 53 per cent of working people have access to paid sick leave in B.C., and nearly 90 per cent of low-wage workers have no paid sick leave at all. The provincial government is now seeking public input to create minimum standards for paid sick leave. Using an online survey, they are gauging public support for three options: the provision of 3, 5 or 10 days of employer-paid sick leave for all workers.

These changes will benefit all workers—including CUPE members, many of whom do not have fully-employer-paid sick leave at 100 per cent of their pay rate. Many earn sick days over the course of the year based on time worked; they have to wait, unpaid, for a number of days before they can access short term disability or other sick leave protections. Ten days of fully-employer-paid sick leave at full wages would make a significant impact for CUPE members and all workers in the province, including some of the most vulnerable.

We urge you to fill out the BC Government consultation survey and say that you “Strongly Favour” Option 3 (10 days paid sick leave). A link to the survey can be found here: Options Paper on Paid Sick Leave

Please note that, in completing the survey, you can skip the response sections for Options 1 (3 days of paid sick leave) and 2 (5 days of paid sick leave) and go straight to Option 3 to indicate that 10 days of paid sick leave is the best option.

In solidarity,

Karen Ranalletta

President

CUPE British Columbia

#410-6222 Willingdon Avenue

Burnaby, British Columbia

V5H 0G3

P: 604.291.9119

www.cupe.bc.ca

CUPE BC Statement on Mask Mandates

CUPE BC supports Vancouver School Board mandatory mask mandate for K-3 students, urges all school districts to follow suit

BURNABY— CUPE BC is renewing its call for making masks mandatory for all students in K-12, including students from Kindergarten to Grade Three. This call is being made with new urgency given the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in young school-age children who are still not eligible to be vaccinated.

“Clearly the Delta variant has changed the situation in schools. An extra layer of protection is needed more than ever to protect everyone in the school system,” said CUPE BC President Karen Ranalletta.

CUPE BC, which represents more than 30,000 workers in the K-12 public education system, is applauding the Vancouver School Board’s recent decision to expand the mask mandate to all students.

“We thank the Vancouver School Board Trustees for their leadership on this, and we’re encouraging school trustees all over the province to do the same thing, so that all students and staff all across the province have the same level of protection,” said Ranalletta.

CUPE BC is also advocating for additional measures to keep schools healthy, such as reinstating daytime cleaning by custodial staff to reduce the spread of disease through frequently touched surfaces. Increased ventilation and rapid tests could also be used to deal with the rising cases in schools.

“At this time, it is more important than ever to use every measure available to protect children and workers in our school system,” said Ranalletta.

CUPE BC Statement on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

This Thursday, September 30, is the first observance of the new federal statutory holiday to mark a National day for Truth and Reconciliation. CUPE BC supports reconciliation, and we hope that CUPE members in British Columbia will look at September 30 as a day of commemoration to honour the Survivors of Indian Residential Schools, their families and those affected intergenerationally. This is not only a day to mourn and remember the children who never came home, but to find individual ways to learn more, share more and create a path forward toward reconciliation. The establishment of this national statutory holiday is Call to Action #80 of the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

 

The recent discovery of thousands of Indigenous children buried in unmarked graves on the sites of former residential schools across the country has heightened the awareness of Canada’s racist and genocidal residential school system.

 

We know that September 30th is going to be a very difficult and challenging day for Indigenous survivors and their families, and we urge anyone who needs assistance to reach out for help by calling the Indian Residential School Survivors Society crisis support line at 1-800-721-0066.

 

To mark this first observance of Truth and Reconciliation Day, CUPE BC will be making two donations of $5,000 each to the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Orange Shirt Society to assist with the essential work these organizations are doing to support survivors and to shine more light on the incredible damage done to generations of Indigenous people. CUPE BC will also purchase 200 copies of “Spirit Bear: Honouring Memories, Planting Dreams” by Cindy Blackstock, and will be sending a copy to every CUPE Local in the province. The book is a resource for learning about topics of reconciliation. Reconciliation means something different to everyone, so do your own learning and begin the journey in solidarity with Indigenous people.

 

CUPE BC is calling on the B.C. government to honour the TRC’s Call to Action #82, which asks each provincial government to work with Indigenous Survivors to commission and install a Residential Schools Monument in each provincial capital.

 

We strongly encourage all CUPE members—and all British Columbians—to learn more about the destructive legacy of residential “schools” and the ongoing effects that we also ask that people wear an orange shirt to show solidarity with Survivors and their families, and to remember and mourn the children who never returned home. Here are a few resources:

 

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action can be found here.

First Nations Child and Family Caring Society

Government of Canada National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

CBC’s “Beyond 94” website

Orange Shirt Society

Information on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples can be found here.

 

To participate in a public event, check these listings for an event near you:

BC Federation of Labour: https://bcfed.ca/events/september-30-national-day-truth-and-reconciliation

 

https://www.orangeshirtday.org/british-columbia.html

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Orange Shirt Day is acknowledged on our schools on September 29, due to the new statutory holiday for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30. Please wear Orange. We encourage you to reflect, and think about what your own commitment to reconciliation will be.

The 94 Calls to Action can be found here:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/indigenous-people/aboriginal-peoples-documents/calls_to_action_english2.pdf