CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! Y010 & YEU’s Whitehorse Food Bank Challenge!

food bank shelves

The Whitehorse Food Bank is in dire straits; their shelves are bare and they’re having a hard time meeting the needs of hungry Yukon families. Summer is always a lean time of year for the community organization; demand goes up while the supply of food and cash donations goes down.

Local Y010 President Tammi Sikorski has issued a challenge to all other Locals: Y010 is donating $700 to the Food Bank and they urge other YEU Locals to donate what they can.  Yukon Employees’ Union has offered to match the TOTAL combined donations from all our Locals, hopefully providing a substantial donation.

What can YOU do? Well, we issue a challenge to all our members as well!

WE CHALLENGE YOU!

SPEND $50 on groceries for the Food Bank, snap a photo and upload it to our Facebook page. Deliver the food & store receipt to the food bank, provide them with your name & address and they will make sure you get a tax receipt at the end of the year. Win-Win!!

This is a great opportunity to give back; let’s show we really do keep UNITY in Community!

This is a photo of what $61.34 can buy;   food bank donation

  • 18 cans of pasta sauce ($1.27 each)
  • 12 cans of chunk tuna  ($1 each)
  • 12 cans of chicken noodle soup ($7.48 case)
  • 12 boxes of macaroni and cheese ($5.98 case)
  • 6 cans of sardines ($1 each)
  • 6 large bags of pasta ($1.17 each)

All items are on the Whitehorse Food Bank’s list of  items most urgently needed at this time.

When all the Locals’ donations have been matched up with YEU’s contribution, we plan a MASSIVE shopping expedition! Join us and show a little YE-Unity! We’ll need helping hands to create a convoy of shopping carts – stocking up, loading up then shelving the food back at the Food Bank’s Alexander Street Location.  We’ll try to go early next Saturday, August 2nd. The more the merrier! We’ll have YEU & PSAC t-shirts for one and all. Please join us!

There are NO prizes except the good feeling that helping brings.  If you feel like making this even bigger, please invite your colleagues, friends and neighbours to do the same. Let’s get everybody shopping, snapping pictures and showing just how much we care. YOU are YEU. Together, we can make a difference!

If you want to join our shopping outing PLEASE contact us ASAP! Call Loralee at 667-2331 or Tammi at 335-1329 or email us and we’ll contact you.

Y010 new logo 2014       

Treasury Board bargaining; Why it matters to you.

all affected

The Public Service Alliance of Canada and its 100,000 Treasury Board members are at the bargaining table with their federal employers. There are greater than 250,000 public servants represented by 17 unions, all united in a solidarity pact; no one union will give in to the federal government’s concession demands on sick leave. The power of many will be needed to fight the intended assault on negotiated benefits.

Tony Clement has come out swinging, spending Canadian tax dollars to damage the credibility of the opponent….workers like you.  Clement has made it clear he wants to dismantle negotiated Sick Leave provisions and replace them with a new short term disability model. That means contracting out the administration of earned sick leave to a commercial, for-profit organization whose interests will be very different from those of the workers they are meant to serve.

PSAC & PIPSC have filed formal bad faith bargaining complaints against the government for sending “misleading and false” communications to employees.  Rather than bring any demands to the bargaining table, the government announced publicly that it was introducing a short-term disability plan as the key pillar of a new “wellness and productivity” strategy.

Everyone is watching what happens in this tense round of bargaining. If Harper’s team continues to press hard and kill the negotiated sick leave, they will be in conflict with labour law. Sick leave is a negotiated benefit; it can’t be withdrawn from a contract and arbitrarily decided upon by either side.

Treasury Board bargaining seems far, far away and not very important until you consider their contract becomes a benchmark for subsequent negotiations nationwide. Labour can’t afford to stand down on the issue of sick leave; unionized or not, all Canadian workers will feel the effects of the contract between the Federal Government and its public servants.

Yukon Employees’ Union lends our voice to the chorus of support for the bargaining teams and professional negotiators beginning this round. It sounds like a battle is brewing and we know you are up to the challenge. Thank you.

This article by Kathryn May explains it very well, including the clever way the government stripped unions of bargaining power in the last term by slipping anti-union legislation into budget bills.

Read more here from PSAC National President Robbyn Benson.


 

What is the Duty to Accommodate or How did THEY get that job?!

 

 

What is the “duty to accommodate”? Human rights legislation protects the right of all workers to be free from discrimination on the basis of a disability. In the workplace this means an employee has the right to be “accommodated” so they can continue to work despite restrictions or limitations.

Have you ever wondered how it’s possible for someone to be “appointed” to a position you thought or hoped you might get at work? Was there an opening coming up, a possible promotion or new challenge you wanted to take a shot at, only to find the position filled without a competition being run? It may have been an “accommodation”.

What is an accommodation?  Simply, in terms of a worker with a disability, an accommodation is an adjustment to the employee’s job, duties, workstation, tools, schedule or hours that allows the worker to maintain employment. It is an employer’s duty to accommodate an individual suffering from an illness, injury or disability which might make it impossible for them to perform some or all the duties of their substantive position.

What is an accommodation NOT? An accommodation is NOT a handout. It’s not favoritism, it’s not an abuse of the system and it’s not cheating. It’s not something being done TO the co-workers of the accommodated worker and it’s not something done in conflict with the Union. Everyone at the workplace has a responsibility to support an accommodation.

In a unionized workplace, the employee, union and employer have duties and responsibilities in the accommodation process. The employer has a duty to inquire when there is a reason to believe the employee may have a disability. This duty may be triggered by changes in behaviour, performance or attendance. The employee has a duty to disclose that they have a disability that may need an accommodation, and to provide sufficient medical evidence on their restrictions and limitations to support the process. The union has a duty to support accommodations; they may need to authorize adjustments to hours of work or exemptions from the usual hiring practices.

What is the role of co-workers in an accommodation? Union members are obliged to treat their co-workers with respect and to cooperate with accommodation efforts in their workplaces. While it can sometimes appear someone has been given preferential treatment in terms of duties, equipment, flexibility or exemption from competition, it’s important to understand there may be an accommodation in place. A work environment with supportive and accepting colleagues helps disabled workers feel safe. It’s also important to remember that co-workers are not owed full disclosure about an accommodated workers’ medical condition or issues. All workers can expect their privacy to be respected.

A successful accommodation requires the active participation of the employee; they are obliged to maintain communication with their doctor, employer, disability manager and union.  The employee must accept that the accommodation will be imperfect; a role will be found which suits their skills and knowledge as closely as possible.

Experienced workers provide enormous value to any workplace; they hold tremendous corporate memory and organizational intelligence. Workers with disabilities, injuries, addiction or illnesses do not cease being valuable when they face personal challenges. When you think about it, it’s good to know that accommodations will be made for you, should you need them.

No FAIR! The unfortunate race to the bottom for worker rights.

school-lunch

Imagine a school lunch room – hungry kids eagerly opening lunch boxes and bags, ready to dig in. Over at a corner table, a group of kids sit with meager lunches; some have nothing to eat at all. When you consider this image it’s not hard to imagine how you’d feel. Most of us would want to do something quickly for the kids without enough to eat.

Now picture this; the same lunch room, the same kids with healthy lunches and the same kids with little or nothing to eat. Imagine the lunch room monitor throwing away the nutritious lunches because others don’t have as much, saying it’s just not fair that some should eat when others are hungry.  If some have to suffer on next to nothing then everyone should suffer.

The argument that no-one should have more than the least fortunate of us is an increasingly common, divisive and destructive argument.

In this story, unionized workers are the kids with the healthy lunches. The more you hear from the right wing media the more you’ll believe that the economic difficulties faced by western society are all because of greedy union workers. The facts are that corporations have rights similar to those of individuals, that pay levels for CEO’s have ballooned & ballooned again over the last two decades and that powerful corporate lobbies influence and control our governments. We hear again and again how unions are too big, too strong, too powerful – how unions have destroyed the economy, ensuring that jobs are moved offshore, taking with them all hope for advancement and prosperity of the middle class.

The reality is that prosperity and the middle class came to be in North America because of unions. Collective bargaining secured the things we take for granted.  Those advantages will disappear completely with the destruction of unions and the labour movement.

Whatever your opinion of unions it would be difficult to imagine any corporate agenda that would choose to spend any more on worker rights and benefits than absolutely necessary. If unions would simply step out of the way and stop demanding health & safety provisions, liveable wage certainty & health care benefits, more profit could be earned for shareholders and CEO salaries could be even higher. Why would any employer choose to give paid vacation leave if it didn’t have to? Why ensure new mothers can take time off to care for new babies? Removing hard won benefits and lowering salaries in unionized sectors will only encourage private sector and non-unionized employers to continue the downward trend; offering ever lower wages, fewer benefits, part-time jobs and no pensions.

Unions protect workers. Unions create higher standards for all workers, whether they are in a union or not.

In a just society, we try to make sure everyone has what they need; we try to raise people up with dignity. The lunch room analogy is an illustration of the race to the bottom we see so much of these days – the argument that because some don’t have much, nobody should have anything. It’s a mean spirited analogy; a mean spirited belief. It goes against the core values of most of us in this country. When we stop to think about it,  is blaming unionized workers and trying to strip them of their rights any different than throwing out a lunch? Let’s try instead to make sure that everyone has access to a living wage, to health care, to dignity and security. It’s not a free lunch; it’s fair.