Reports were shared among the participants and the following common themes were noted:
Workload – members are experiencing an increased workload. Reduction in staffing levels and reduction of hours is common in most healthcare and education Locals across the province. Locals are seeing more volunteers being used by Employers to do the work of the bargaining unit. Members themselves are volunteering time by working through breaks and staying late to complete duties that cannot be done in their allotted shift.
Human resources and payroll – there has been an increase in grievances and arbitrations by Locals. Each Local reporting had at least one arbitration in 2015, with some Locals going to arbitration for the first time ever.
Employee payroll records need to be watched closely, as many Locals reported frequent and regular errors.
The importance of coalition work within CUPE, other unions and likeminded organizations was discussed by many participants.
Workplace stress and mental health are becoming common issues. The impact of low oil prices and the economy is being felt in CUPE workplaces. Households that had two incomes are now reduced to one as partners lose jobs, creating stress at home and work. Compounding these personal issues is an increase in workload required of many members leading to stress and stress related illness.
Members are also seeing an increase in violence in the workplace with the clients and patrons that we provide service to. The mental health of workers needs to be a priority, and our employers need to properly deal with the health and safety of our members.