September 14, 2021 (virtual update meeting)

National Executive Minutes

National Executive Meeting

Virtual Bilingual Zoom Meeting

September 14, 2021

 

 Chair June Winger National President
Benoit Laberge Executive Vice-President
 Members Terry Kiley Vice-President (NS)
Johanne Roberge Vice-President (QC)
Jeff Wrinn Vice-President (NCR)
Grant Tennant Vice-President (ON)
Mona Simcoe Vice-President (MB/SK)
T. Mark Miller Vice-President (BC)
Cathy O’Kane Vice-President (NPF)
Eugene Stone Vice-President (CSE)
Paul Jones Human Rights Advisor
Recording Secretary Sandra Mombourquette
Absent Dan Frost Vice-President (NL/NB)
Bryan Meakin Vice-President (AB/North)

The National President welcomed everyone to the National Executive meeting, the first meeting after summer.

 

The Harassment Statement was read aloud by Human Rights Advisor Paul Jones, he was also named as the intervenor.

 

UPDATE FROM THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT:

 

-Sept. 30 “National Day of Truth and Reconciliation” has been designated a new holiday;

-Mandatory vaccinations announced in news for public servants, no direction given to TBS;

-Federal election was called for Sept. 20, however Treasury Board bargaining continues;

-All are encouraged to attend election webinars in order to cast ballots with a good understanding of what this could mean for their future employment;

-Treasury Board announced that former and retired PSAC members will have access to the claims process for Phoenix general damages December 2021, details will be released closer to launch date.  PSAC continues to pursue the taxability.

 

 

Check-in meeting with Department of the Deputy Minister: 

 

CAF/DND Class Action Restorative Engagement Program: Application process ends on Nov. 24th, claimants must submit before this deadline.  Claimants have options to speak to someone from a restorative perspective. Paid leave for this is in negotiations, so that it can be made available for those who participate while maintaining confidentiality.  They will be offering a 1-800 number to help those having further challenges, as a result of the harm they endured.  This number will be posted on UNDE website and social media.

 

Covid-19 update:  The directive on re-opening has been sent out.  Members employed by DND are still expected to work from home when able to.  If there are issues with this, the National President asks to let her know if these are not being permitted so she can get these corrected.  Members should be working from home if they are able to and want to.

 

UNDE Triennial Convention:  Registration has been sent out, closes October 1.  Despite extending the timeframe to receive resolutions, very few resolutions were received. With the exception of one Officer, each of the National Executive Officers confirmed to the National President that they were in agreement with the shortening the convention period due to the limited amount of convention business. The National President noted the one Officer she did not speak with did not return her call despite leaving a voicemail advising on the subject matter and requesting her call be returned. The new convention dates as agreed to are the following:

Nov. 13 NE Travel to Ottawa (for those who are attending in person);

Nov. 14-15 NE meets for two days;

Nov. 15 Delegates attending in person will travel to Ottawa;

Nov. 16-17-18-19 Convention held for four days;

Nov. 20 Everyone travels home.

 

The EVP asked about the Convention fees of $230 since there is no Banquet or other activities and since we are not having any of these, will the fee be reduced?  The National President said she is looking at options, perhaps having a virtual banquet event, if not, then funds will be refunded.

 

VP BC asked about observers to Convention since his Locals have asked.  The National President said she is still determining how observers will participate at Convention, it might be safer for the members to have them attend online only to minimize numbers during this pandemic and decrease exposure.   Instruction will be sent out shortly to observers.

VP BC also has concerns about revised Convention dates above announced by the National President.

 

Human Rights Advisor Jones said he didn’t see any communication beforehand about observers not attending in person even though they have paid a registration fee.  The National President repeated that the decision has not been made yet as protecting the safety of the delegates while completing the business of the convention is her primary focus at this time.

AGMs: VPs are asked to contact Sandra or Kim for a tutorial on how the Local can conduct these virtually if they cannot have them in person.

 

PIPSC member passed: DND rep Glenn Maxwell passed away this summer so close to his retirement.  He was a strong activist and good friend.

 

Passing of UNDE Member Grant McCullough: Grant was a CFB Borden firefighter and had recently retired from a workplace injury.

 

** Moment of silence **

 

Firefighter Petition: VP BC also asked about FR petition to leave and if there is any news.  The National President said she does not have an update.  VP NS said he has no update on this either. If a formal complaint is received, it will be dealt with accordingly.

 

NEW BUSINESS

 

MOTION – Host Committee                                                                          m/s Wrinn-Stone

 

WHEREAS the world has been in pandemic mode for a year and a half; intermittent lockdowns are the new normal;

WHEREAS it is impossible to predict the restrictions that will be in place during the scheduled convention period in Ottawa;

WHEREAS the uncertainty on the restrictions in place prevents social gatherings that the Convention Host Committee normally schedules.

BE IT RESOLVED the requirement for a Convention Host Committee as identified in UNDE Bylaw 11, article 4 (b) be suspended for the planning and duration of the 18th UNDE Triennial Convention.                                                                                                   RV 1 – DEFEATED

RECORDED VOTE #1

Frost, D. 4
Kiley, T. 2
Laberge, B. 2
Meakin, B. 4
Miller, M. 2
O’Kane, C. 1
Roberge, J. 2
Simcoe, M. 2
Stone. E. 1
Tennant, G. 2
Wrinn, J. 1
Winger, J 3

 

 

REGIONAL UPDATES

 

BC Update:

VP Miller said the region was returning to normalcy when cases started to rise again when guidelines changed again.  Everyone is encouraged to stay in their worksite when able to.  Some IMP concerns in Gander that he is dealing with.  He’s also trying to get some movement out of RP Ops at the ADM level to get appropriate compensation for some families.

 

ABN Update:

National President Winger gave the update on behalf of VP Meakin who is absent.

AGMs are progressing.  Majority of his Locals are planning on having virtual meetings once again with a few already with dates in October.

FR Situational Committee has been pushed back to November and VP ABN is hoping to have a FR Situational Committee meeting in October.

Module 8 and 9 are being held in the region, Sister Danielle Poissant has done a great job organising this.

 

Man-Sask Update:

 

VP MS reported the following:

 

Manitoba now has had a vaccine card for a while.  If you are not double vaccinated you can’t go into restaurants, movies, events, etc.  I am advocating for those that can’t be vaccinated due to a disability or medical because now they can’t go anywhere with their family.  Just this week Manitoba is talking about a separate card for those that meet this group.  They will need to be referred to a specialist and then follow protocols from there, this is a long process and will not be solved quickly.

 

Manitoba has announced they are on the beginning of the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.  “Everything we know about delta has told us that this is exactly what would happen, that when the virus hits communities, it will get into communities that have low vaccination coverage and it will spread very, very, quickly, and were seeing that.” MB provincial public health officer.

He also stated “if transmission continues on this way, then we could be at risk to look like some of our neighbours to the west – In Alberta they are 130% over capacity for intensive care beds.

 

So again, I ask that all VPs stay knowledgeable on all provinces as we move closer to convention.  I currently have three members that will be attending virtually due to one their spouse has advanced cancer, two is immunocompromised, and three cannot be vaccinated due to allergies where their doctor has stated the risk of not being able to breathe is greater than the risk of COVID.

 

I encourage all to be cognizant and understanding of all delegates attending, the risks that some will be taking, the accommodations, considerations and changes that may need to take place during a pandemic, to ensure that all members rights are being considered. To also remember convention is to do the business of the union.

 

So that being said, MB-Sask region has been busy this summer.  I want to thank LRO Colleen Strong for being available for the advice on the several very complicated cases that have been coming forward.

 

Local 50705 Winnipeg:

1 CDN Air div in Winnipeg has moved to the workplace being the primary location. They have also set up mandatory briefings for all staff to take place in person in the workplace.  This is a concern, and I am speaking with L Col Netta on this change of posture.

It is interesting how one Commander can change the whole dynamics of an organization.  Listening to managers and not considering the union concerns is creating stressors for the local.

Wing Cleaning is in trouble as they have basically disguised disciplined or made work life so horrendous that the long-term cleaning supervisor is retiring, which brings concerns that management is setting Wing Cleaning up for contracting out.

 

Local 50704 Shilo:

They continue to telework.  Few issues with subcontractors doing more than their scope of work and creating an asbestos exposure.  H&S is looking into this and the President is sending a report for the uncoverthecost.ca campaign.

 

Local 40801 Dundurn:

Telework issue of a member in serious family crisis has been corrected by LCol Sharpe RPOUw.  An AWA was requested and manager has been quoted “if an employee wants to work from home and a compressed work week then they should retire.”  This manager has been corrected by LCol Sharpe.

Dundurn also has a mouse issue in the kitchen.  No one seems to be treating this seriously.  WGSO was contacted.  The solution from the Med Tec was he would be out in two weeks from Winnipeg to investigate and gave an email for kitchen staff to read on cleanup regarding Hanna Virus deer mice.  Again, L Col Sharpe has become involved as pest control for mice is an RPOUw duty.  I stated this may become a refusal to work due to H&S of food standards.

The FR’s sick leave policy has come to my attention.  I will be seeking clarification and having this policy removed or corrected.  There is nothing in this leave policy that is correct.

 

Local 40802 Moose Jaw:

Understanding staffing are the main questions from this local.  Vacancy management reports have been re-discussed.  There are not many places to move on this wing so when a position becomes available many questions are asked from membership.

 

Local 40800 ATCO Moose Jaw:

No update

 

Local 40807 Aramark/Sodexo Moose Jaw:

August 31 was a difficult day saying goodbye to many members that I have had the honour to get to know and call my union friends. Today the Manitoba/Saskatchewan region bid farewell to Aramark workers at CFB 15 Wing Moose Jaw. I thanked them on behalf of PSAC and UNDE for their 20+ yrs of longstanding custodial service to the base and community. I thanked them for keeping all of 15 Wing safe during this COVID pandemic. I sat with these members and listened to their workplace stories and their dedication to the Wing. I sat with these members and listened to their feelings of frustration, anger, and disgust. I sat with these members with tears in their eyes asking them to share their stories, with the broader community. I watched as these members left their workplace taking their skill and knowledge, leaving the Wing in the hands of a new contractor after 20 years with all new cleaning staff, concerns of security and knowledge.  This new contractor Envirosafe is offering $13.00 per hour, no benefits, no sick leave, no extra leave days other than sask stats.  No succession with the UNDE contract.

Below is the media release on Aug 31.

It was also brought to my attention an organization or entity called FACT.  I have not heard of this acronym but it is my understanding they will be taking over MooseJaw accommodations in five years when this contract is done?

 

Departure of Aramark Workers will impact the Community.

 

August 31, 2021

MOOSE JAW – Today, it is with a heavy heart that the Union of National Defence Employees (UNDE) and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) – Prairies bid farewell to Aramark workers at CFB Moose Jaw 15 Wing and thank them for their longstanding service to the base and community.

 

“Thank you cannot quite encapsulate how truly grateful and appreciative we are to this exceptional group of workers,” said Mona Simcoe, Vice President Manitoba/Saskatchewan of the UNDE, ‘Over the years, these workers took great pride in their work, as evidenced in the exceptional level of service they delivered to their workplace and the broader community.’

 

The affected employees have been working for Aramark and part of the community for upwards of twenty years. For decades, they have worked with integrity and quiet confidence to ensure the very best level of service to the facilities they worked in. The exodus of knowledge and expertise will undoubtedly hurt the community moving forward.

 

‘It is important to recognise these skilled workers ensured the environment was always clean and sanitized, allowing the Canadian Armed Forces to remain mission ready, before and throughout the pandemic,’ said June Winger, National President of the UNDE. ‘They were an essential part of the National Defence team at CFB Moose Jaw 15 Wing for more than twenty years and will be missed immensely.’

 

To demonstrate appreciation of the long-service workers UNDE and PSAC Prairies have arranged a card signing table for those on base to write farewell messages to the departing colleagues.

 

‘With great sadness, we bid farewell to this outstanding group of hardworking workers,” said Marianne Hladun, Regional Executive Vice-President of the PSAC Prairies, ‘I want to express our gratitude and thanks to these incredible workers who have gone above and beyond to provide unparalleled service.’

 

FAcT:  VP MS is looking into this and what it stands for.  VP NCR sent some info on it following the meeting: Future Aircrew Contact Training. The program will renew aircrew training services to help maintain a multi-purpose and combat capable air force. The program will include delivery of pilot training, as well as aircrew training for air combat systems officers and airborne electronic sensor operators

Annual Leave: becoming a concern in two places, members are saying they have been told to use all of their excess leave over and above their allotment before the end of the fiscal year

 

Ontario Update:

VP Tennant said not much new in his region.  Members continue to work from home when they can.  The FR petition has had one member from Ontario resign as a direct result from it.  Sept. 30 new holiday has some people upset as they won’t be paid for that day.  AGMs are gearing up.

 

NCR Update:

VP Wrinn said it’s been quiet in his region.  Things are ramping up with some guidelines for those returning to the workplace.  In person meetings to maximum of 10.  Issues with some members concerning the Sept. 30 new holiday.

 

CSE Update:

VP Stone said their CA was signed off on this morning.  Not much else going on.  CSE will have their AGM first week of November, they are working with PSAC on using Go To Webinar.

 

Quebec Update:

VP Roberge said there are big challenges this year as 3 Local Presidents are retiring.  They are all young, new members and they are not implicated with the union.  Management takes advantage of this because they have no experience, they refuse union leave saying it’s up to management discretion.  Members don’t want to work nights or weekends.  No one wants to run for the President of these Locals.

Vaccinations are going well in Quebec, not many cases.

Firefighters, there are 40 of them, lots of problems in the firehall, violence in the workplace, hoping for results soon.  Their pays are messed up and overtime not being paid properly.  Lots of new people in HR and don’t know how to fill out paperwork. And if they don’t do the overtime they are threatened that they will hire firefighters from the firehall nearby.   The National President said to advise her of the specifics regarding the pay issues and she will ask the FR Pay Advisors at DND to correct this issue.

The National President suggested VP QC contact her to organise a plan for specific training and local executive development for the region.

 

Nova Scotia Update:

VP Kiley gave update on his Locals.  Have been working full time during pandemic, people working from home can continue to do so.

Greenwood: having regular safety meetings.

FMF: having all their regular safety meetings.

Bedford:  CFAD working full time now, QHM and the Tugs working full time.

DRDC: back to normal, people going out on different projects, some are going for 2-3 months up north.

National Health & Safety update:  Nova Scotia going into stage 5, which means no mandatory masks, will require vaccine passport.  At DND told try to stay in one place, not travel around too much.  Informal meeting on mandatory vaccinations in public service workplaces, coming up with suggestions, no policy yet, waiting to see what government gets elected.  Treasury Board has been dealing with PSAC on this.  Ensuring no one loses their job, finding a way around it. Delta variant is a concern as it is more transmissible.

Convention waiver: VP NS said one member has asked about it, if they don’t sign it then does that mean they cannot attend in person? The National President said that is correct, the member will only have the option to participate virtually.

 

 

Non-Public funds (NPF) Update:

VP O’Kane said not much new with NPF, it’s been quiet.  All 10 contracts are settled.  All expire in 2022.  Good news is that some NPF members are being called back to work.  Short staffed at bases right now.  Goose Bay had a ratification vote and all 11 members showed up to the meeting to vote, which has taken a great deal of work to get these members engaged.

 

Human Rights Update:

Human Rights Advisor Jones said the Human Rights video is in its final stages, it will be ready for the NE to review it by October 15.

Good news about member stuck in Dubai, they have reached a memorandum of agreement, which is satisfactory between both parties.  The family called from Dubai to thank him.

Claims period ends on Nov. 24th.

 

 

 

EVP Update:

EVP said that following an email that was sent out to the VPs, the Local Presidents Conference will be deferred to February or early March 2022.  The reasons behind the decision from the Committee Reps is that the new EVP will need time to get settled in the position after Convention.  Also, the Locals need time to have their AGMs which is usually Nov-Dec and there will be new Local Presidents.

VP MS stated that these are the exact same concerns that she expressed at the March 2021 NE meeting during the EVP report.  VP MS stated now these are the same reasons being used not to have the Presidents conference in 2021.  VP MS stated that the MS region was involved in the resolution put forward at prior UNDE convention so that presidents conference would not be cancelled.  VP MS stated the email from COMTRA to LPC Committee stated that COMTRA was looking for consensus from the current LPC Committee for deferring LPC from December to February 2022.  EVP stated it was a decision made by the LPC Committee to defer the LPC and not a decision made by COMTRA.

Training: in June, the NCR region had training for Stewards, this week there is Classification training for Alberta and in October Alberta will have training for Grievance Handling.

Grievances:  still having problems to receive grievances at 3rd level, Locals not sending correspondence needed.  Ronda has been asked to copy the VP when asking Locals for missing info.

Staff still working from home, some go to the office when needed, working from home guideline has been extended until end of October.

Phoenix issues:  VP MS asked for update on Phoenix issues, inquired if there were trends?  EVP said issues are getting better, less emails from members about problems, issues are getting resolved faster.

 

Adjournment.