Letter to CUPE members on the Island

Good Afternoon

This is unprecedented times as everyone is saying but it truly is uncharted waters as we have never seen before. CUPE PEI want to assure you that we have been working with all levels of Government to help navigate us through this difficult time. The Provincial Government has been doing a good job keeping up with the ongoing changes as directed by the Chief Health Officer.

The National Executive Board is meeting via Conference Call on a regular basis, we have been discussing discussion what to do as a National union and through those discussions Mark and Charles have been taking our direction.

We have talked to a number of Provincial Ministers and those were very good discussions around front line workers and the great work they are doing as well as the importance that our members be afforded the proper PPE to ensure their safety in the workplace.

We also have been having discussions abut ensuring that our members, as well as public servants, will continue to be at work and not face lay offs. Minister MacKay committed to CUPE PEI that this Government had no plans of laying off public servants and were also encouraging private sector employers to keep as many staff on the payroll as possible.

We want to ensure members that CUPE PEI is here for them and we will continue to work to ensure that this pandemic has as little impact on our members as possible. CUPE PEI will now be having weekly conference calls to deal with any issues that may arise and need to be dealt with. We will continue giving daily updates as much as possible from the Chief Health Officer and any other information that we receive.

We will get through this we have to continue social distancing and self isolating where directed. Please remember to reach out to family, friends, neighbours who may just want to have a conversation to know they are not forgotten. My cell number is 902 315 0525 please feel free to call if you need my assistance or if you have suggestions on things you would like us to do as a Union. Stay Safe.

In Solidarity,

Leonard Gallant

PPE Use and Care

Personal protective equipment (PPE) exists to create a barrier between you and a patient/resident/client to prevent spread of a contaminant such as the virus that
causes COVID-19 to either you or the patient. It exists to help protect your skin, airways, mucous membranes, and/or clothing. This fact sheet summarizes use and care of gloves, gowns, masks, and eye protection. PDF: PPE Use and Care

Member Update: COVID-19 – March 27

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you to all locals and members for your extraordinary work during this unprecedented time. Members are doing important work across both provinces in our region during the COVID-19 pandemic. We always appreciate and value everything that you do, especially during this crisis.

Members Contracting COVID-19
Currently, we have no reports of CUPE members in our region contracting COVID-19. In order to help everyone stay safe, we would like to track our members who contract COVID-19 and would appreciate that you forward this information to us as you receive it.  Basic information is required: local number, occupation of the member and information if this was a workplace transmission. For obvious privacy concerns, we are not asking for the names of the individuals.
If you have been laid off due to COVID-19, please notify your local’s executive.

Provincial COVID-19 Information Websites
New Brunswick: https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/ocmoh/cdc/content/respiratory_diseases/coronavirus.html
Prince Edward Island: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/topic/covid-19

PEI & NB Emergency Child Care Services
Emergency childcare services are reserved for children of essential service workers who have no other alternatives. Please complete the form linked below only if you require childcare services during this time and are an essential service worker.
PEI: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/service/emergency-child-care-services
NB: https://www.nbed.nb.ca/parentportal/en/

EI Benefits

Federal government announced laid-off workers who have applied for EI due to coronavirus-related job losses should be eligible for a $2,000 benefit for up to four months. After this period, they will be switched over to standard EI if they are still out of work.  To apply for EI benefits, you can do it online: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-sickness/apply.html

Afterwards, you can apply to have the one-week waiting period waived by calling the government’s toll-free number at 1-833-381-2725. Applicants usually need a medical certificate along with records of employment, though the new rules allow quarantined workers to apply without the former.  We have also included below the Canada Emergency Response Benefit Q & A: https://cupe.ca/canada-emergency-response-benefit-qa

State of Emergency in NB, PEI and the rest of Canada
State of emergency laws mean many closures and restrictions are now required to be followed by law. There are still too many people not abiding by the restrictions and recommendations from chief medical officer of health. All non-essential retail businesses must cease all operations immediately. Gatherings of 10 or more people are now not permitted.

CUPE Taskforce on Virtual Work and Member Registration
Virtual tools and phone work permit us to coordinate and carry out our union duties. Thus, we set up a CUPE Maritimes staff taskforce to find the best tools and actions to take on those challenges we face. Our goal is to get information and power to you, but we need your help. Every CUPE member must register so that we can have emergency communication lines and electronic voting capacity. Please consult your union emails or your executive for registration info.

Mass member registration is necessary to build lists for all locals. The provisions to engage in social distancing (i.e. staying home as much as possible, keeping 2m apart when you have to go out) could remain in force for many more weeks and possibly longer. All locals must gain the ability to conduct virtual meetings, ratification votes, sharing of meeting minutes, etc. Personal cellphone numbers (not work cellphones) are needed to ensure mass member emergency texting.

Postponement of AGMs
As social distancing rules and gathering restrictions remain at this point, no large union gatherings or AGMs can be held. Below are the cancellations that we have confirmed:

  • CUPE New Brunswick Convention
  • New Brunswick Community Services Unions Annual General Meeting
  • CUPE Local 1252 Convention
  • CUPE Local 1253 Convention
  • CUPE Local 1418 Convention
  • CUPE 1190 Annual General Meeting
  • CUPE Local 2745 Convention and July Education Sessions

Please send us your intent to cancel your AGMs and we will add them to our list.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Servicing Representative or myself.

In Solidarity,

Sandy Harding
Maritimes Regional Director


CUPE Negotiations paused in NB and PEI

Charlottetown (PEI) & Fredericton (NB), March 18, 2020 In order to focus all resources to fight the COVID-19 crisis, CUPE is halting bargaining for all CUPE locals in both New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

“Collective agreement bargaining meetings, membership meeting, ratification and strike votes will all be postponed until April 3, 2020, in both provinces,” said Simon Ouellette, CUPE Communications Representative for NB and PEI.

CUPE will reassess the situation and send information to members on April 4, 2020.

“We hope government will want to resume collective agreement negotiations when the situation is firmly under control,” said Ouellette.

CUPE takes the precautions required by the authorities seriously.

“We will act proactively to protect the health and safety of workers and the public,” concluded Ouellette.