President's Message from the 10/5/2021 General Membership Meeting
I know there are a number of topics that will need to be covered in this report. Let me begin with COVID-19 vaccine mandates and testing. First, I would once again ask that if you have not been vaccinated to please consider doing so, unless you have a legitimate medical issue that prohibits you from doing so or you have a religious exemption. I’m sure we are all aware here that most of our bargaining unit employers are requiring either proof of vaccination or testing twice a week (at the employee’s cost, except Capital Power where employer is bearing the cost of testing).
For those who have determined for personal reasons not to vaccinate, CSU 52 will represent you if there are consequences to your decision. We currently are preparing policy grievances, regarding the issue of cost for testing, that will be brought forward shortly. We have consulted with our legal counsel and have had access to other union legal opinions across Canada and all are very similar in stating that the employer probably has the right to impose vaccine mandates and regular testing if you are not vaccinated. We will keep you informed as things evolve.
The City of Edmonton membership voted in favour of accepting the proposed Letter of Understanding "Amended Hours of Work and Compressed Hours of Work Options (36.9)" from the City. Unfortunately, the employer has taken advantage of some poorly worded language from 35 to 40 years ago that was never intended to be used in this manner. I will once again say the move by the City to move in the direction that they have is not progressive and, I believe, will cause this employer to lose a good number of valuable employees. This move is to the detriment of women and young working families as the number of EDOs will be less than previously – to be continued in bargaining.
In regard to endorsements for City Council and the position of Mayor, it has been difficult due to the length of the nominating process and the number of candidates that have come forward. CSU 52 and the Coalition of Edmonton Civic Unions (CECU) have endorsed a few candidates for councillor but have refrained from an endorsement for the position of Mayor. I would urge everyone to go to the candidates' websites and review their platforms. It would be refreshing to see a number of new faces on council as it is very apparent this current council has abdicated their responsibility around oversight of the administration. We will definitely have a different face in the Mayor’s chair and that is not a bad thing.
Jurisdiction reviews at the City and Edmonton Police Service have now been filed and has prompted some movement from the employer side to seriously deal with the Union’s application at the Alberta Labour Relations Board. The Union has attempted to be upfront and transparent with the employer in regard to this issue and does not understand the push-back from administration as employee’s being properly classified, and therefore properly compensated, would be of benefit to the citizens funding the operation.
Thank you, stay safe and stay strong.