President's Message

President's Report from the 12/7/2021 General Membership Meeting

Good Evening,

I would like to start by wishing all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season. As I am sure you are well aware, we have a new Mayor and Council. CSU 52 and myself, personally, have congratulated each and everyone on their recent election success, and have begun the process of meeting with every new Councillor and our new Mayor. The Coalition of Edmonton Civic Unions' presidents, as a group, has also greeted and met with the new members of City Council. I am hopeful that this new Council will be one that we can work together with to advance the interests of our members and our communities.

Currently, we are actively bargaining new agreements with the City of Edmonton, EPCOR, and Edmonton Public Library. We are also preparing to open negotiations with Capital Power as that agreement expires at the end of 2021. Needless to say, current and upcoming bargaining in addition to the regular day-to-day work has made it extremely busy at the Union Office.

CSU 52 has been working on jurisdictional reviews at the City and at Edmonton Police Service for the last two-plus years without much success in trying to negotiate with both the City and EPS. We are also beginning jurisdictional looks at both Capital Power and EPCOR. That has resulted in our advancing the applications to the Alberta Labour Relations Board for hearing and decision. Tentative dates have been set for early in the new year - we hope to see a successful resolve in the not too distant future.

I must say, I am surprised at how difficult the process has been and how hard the City has pushed back on this process, as it would over a three-to-five year period saving the employer a significant amount of money. The City has too many departments - both Employee Services and Communications should be branches, not departments, and should have staff embedded within the other departments as a resource. We continue to see to many levels of management making the administration extremely cumbersome and not very efficient or effective. We also have a application in at Fort Edmonton Park for employees that are not currently unionized. We had begun hearings at the Labour Board in November but they have been rescheduled to dates in early 2022, as the City lawyer running the defence for FEMCO and the City has become unavailable.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, for the second year in a row our Social Committee, in good conscience, decided to not pursue booking the Annual Children's Christmas Party that has been traditionally held at the West Edmonton Mall Galaxyland amusement park. I am hopeful that 2022 will bring better days as we move back to a more normal life. In regard to vaccination mandates, testing, and issues around religious and medical exemptions, CSU 52 continues discussions with all bargaining units regarding these issues and how they are being managed - we currently have a policy grievance in place with the City. We believe that if a member is not vaccinated, for whatever reason and opts to go the testing route, they should not have to bear the cost of the testing. That should be paid for by the employer. We are seeing some arbitration decisions starting to emerge that appear to support our position. We are advising members, who are currently being tested and paying for those tests, to save their receipts as we will be advancing their issue with grievances and arbitration, if necessary. To those who have opted out of both vaccination disclosure and testing, the Union will represent you to the best of our ability. However, early arbitration results indicate that if the employer offers testing as a option to vaccination and an employee is not successful in obtaining a medical or religious exemption, that employee may eventually be subject to discipline up to and including termination and we may not be successful in our representation of you.

I know it has been a difficult last 20 or so months with the pandemic affecting our lives both at work and at home. Hopefully, there is a light at the end of this long tunnel and as we move into the new year, we can live and enjoy life once again without the fear and restrictions that we have endured over these last two years. We are seeing a new world emerging from this pandemic, one that will change how we work and play. Your Union will continue to advance issues on your behalf, issues such as hybrid work-from-home and better work-life balance. We hope to engage with a Council more progressive than the last, that is more in tune with a changing world.

Once again, I hope you all enjoy the Holiday season and I look forward to seeing and speaking to you in the New Year.

In solidarity,
Lanny Chudyk