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General COVID-19 News

Below you can find general articles or bulletins that we have published regarding COVID-19.

For job-specific news, please choose a work sector here.

May 29, 2020

Sign the petition – The BCGEU calls for the inclusion of LDB workers in the p...

On May 19th, the B.C. government released details of a federal-provincial cost-shared pandemic pay program to temporarily top up wages of some essential workers but left out BC Liquor Store, BC Cannabis Store, and Distribution Centre workers who have been on the frontlines throughout the pandemic.
 
Essential workers like you, who have faced increased risk, cost and inconvenience to serve your community throughout the pandemic deserve to be recognized. It is time LDB workers were paid for the critical jobs that they do.
 
Although the announcement has come and gone, the fight is not over, please sign the petition calling on the B.C. government to expand the temporary pandemic pay program to include LDB workers.
 
Sign the petition and share widely: https://action.bcgeu.ca



UWU/MoveUP

May 27, 2020

Eligibility for premium pay for BCGEU members in the B.C. public service - BCGEU

Eligibility for premium pay for BCGEU members in the B.C. public service  

We have received messages from our membership asking why they were excluded from the premium pay offering. We are also disappointed more sectors were not included and rest assured, we're continuing to speak to the government about expanding it.
 
We are not able to answer some of the questions we've received because we don't have answers - we did not negotiate this premium.
 
However, we've discussed our concerns with the public service agency, and they're encouraging employees do the following:

  1. For employee questions about eligibility, please contact your employer directly.
  2. For technical program questions from employers and service providers, email your questions to the PSEC Secretariat PSEC@gov.bc.ca

 

 

Your union also asks that you copy your email to health@bcgeu.ca to help us keep track of issues.

Your union is also working on ways that you, your co-workers and the rest of your BCGEU family can make sure government hears your voice on the pandemic pay program. Stay tuned for more on this.

More information from the government can be found at:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/temporary-pandemic-pay



UWU/MoveUP

May 27, 2020

Pandemic pay eligibility for BCGEU members at MCFD - BCGEU

Pandemic pay eligibility for BCGEU members at MCFD
 
Since the B.C. government's announcement last week, your union has received many questions from administrative support workers in MCFD about their eligibility. While we had hoped the ministry would provide clarification, we haven't seen anything yet.
 
However, following discussions with the employer, we can now confirm all administrative employees in MCFD's Service Delivery Division will receive the premium. 
 
This is an unusual circumstance. The BCGEU was consulted about the premium, but this didn't amount to negotiations. Our feedback to government during the consultation was this - the program should be extended to all frontline essential workers and that recognizing some groups of workers while excluding others would create unnecessary divisions.
 
Our stance hasn't changed. We still believe B.C.'s pandemic pay program should cover all frontline essential workers in recognition of the extraordinary stress, additional costs, and the higher risks to mental and physical health they're presently facing. 
 
Questions about eligibility for this premium should be directed to your ministry, where the decision was made.
 
We wanted to ensure administrative staff in this particular division know that they will receive the premium. 
 
 
Yours,
Maria Middlemiss, BCGEU VP administrative services



UWU/MoveUP

May 27, 2020

Return-to-work update: Vancouver Talmud Torah School - BCGEU

Return-to-work update: Vancouver Talmud Torah School

As you are aware, the B.C. government has recently announced timelines for services and businesses to re-open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers are required to involve worker representatives to develop plans that meet government and WorkSafeBC requirements, and have these plans available upon inspection.

While your school has been gradually re-opening, your union has been in regular communication with the employer. We continue to advocate for your health and safety and collective agreement rights as plans unfold and evolve. 

If you return to work and protocols are not being followed, or you feel unsafe, please follow the proper three-step process to refuse unsafe work.

If you have any concerns, please immediately contact your union steward, a member of your local executive, or email health@bcgeu.ca

This is what we know right now. We are committed to open and timely communication with you, so we will keep you informed as we learn more. 

Finally, for information about other issues impacted by the pandemic, visit bcgeu.ca/covid or email health@bcgeu.ca.

In solidarity,
Cindy Battersby, Component 7 Vice President



UWU/MoveUP

May 27, 2020

Return-to-work update: York House School - BCGEU

As you are aware, the B.C. government has recently announced timelines for services and business to re-open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers are required to involve worker representatives to develop plans that meet government and WorkSafeBC requirements, and have these plans available upon inspection. 

Your union is in regular communication with your employer as these plans are being made, and we are advocating for your rights and best interests as operations continue to change. The health and safety and collective agreement rights of members is our top priority.
 
This bulletin provides the latest details of your employer's plan to resume operations. If you have any concerns, please immediately contact your union steward, a member of your local executive or email health@bcgeu.ca
 
What we know about the employer's plans:

  • The employer is gradually re-opening school with K-5 students returning June 1, 2020.
  • The employer has obligations to create a safe work environment. An exposure plan has been revised and safe work processes are being developed in consultation with your Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) committee.

 What we've identified to be addressed & what we've been doing about it:

  • Your union has had ongoing communication with the employer since the beginning of the pandemic to review telework agreements and exposure plans and to advise on safe work procedures.
  • We have requested regular updates and for your OHS representatives to be involved to ensure compliance with requirements of the Ministry of Education, Public Health Officer and WorkSafeBC.
  • So far, the employer has been cooperating with our requests.

 What we recommend you do:

  • Members have an obligation to report to work if directed by the employer.
  • If you return to work and protocols are not being followed, or you feel unsafe, follow the proper process to exercise your legislative responsibility and right to refuse unsafe work. Review the three-step process to refuse unsafe work.

 
If these plans are not being implemented, or you are unable to follow our guidance, please notify your union immediately by contacting your shop steward or OHS representative.
 
This is what we know right now. We are committed to open and timely communication with you, so we will keep you informed as we learn more.
 
Finally, for information about other issues impacted by the pandemic, visit bcgeu.ca/covid or email health@bcgeu.ca.

 
In solidarity,

Cindy Battersby, Component 7 Vice President



UWU/MoveUP

May 26, 2020

Temporary pandemic pay – COVID-19 update, May 26 - BCGEU

Temporary pandemic pay – COVID-19 update, May 26

Last week, the B.C. government announced the long-awaited details of the temporary "pandemic pay" program to top up the wages of select essential frontline workers. Below are some frequently asked questions as this relates to your eligibility.

Do I qualify for the new temporary pandemic pay?
All BCGEU members covered by the Health Science Professionals Bargaining Association (HSPBA) collective agreement are covered by this pandemic pay.

For more details visit the government's question and answer website here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/temporary-pandemic-pay

Does this premium pay arrangement replace the $5M fund negotiated by HSPBA?
Yes. The temporary pandemic pay represents approximately $40 million for HSPBA members. The BCGEU will continue to work with HSPBA to advocate to address ongoing shortages and recruitment and retention challenges in the health science professions.

Does this affect the working short premium under the Nurses Bargaining Association (NBA) agreement?
No.

I’ve been on leave for all or part of the period between Mar 15, 2020 and July 5, 2020. Am I eligible for the premium pay?
No, not during the time you were on leave.

Where is the application form for the HSPBA Pandemic Response Fund?
There is no longer a need for the application form as the $5 million HSPBA Pandemic Response Fund was suspended while the provincial and federal governments negotiated the current temporary pandemic pay. There is no application process for the new temporary pandemic pay. Lump sum payments will be made by employers at the end of the 16-week period of eligibility (i.e. July 5, 2020).

If you have specific questions about COVID-19, please send your inquiries to health@bcgeu.ca. If you want to review current information from the BCGEU on COVID-19 please go to our information hub at www.bcgeu.ca/covid.



UWU/MoveUP

May 25, 2020

Return-to-work update: BCIT Support - BCGEU

Return-to-work update: BCIT Support

As you are aware, the B.C. government has recently announced timelines for services and business to re-open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sectors are required to work collaboratively to develop plans that meet government and WorkSafeBC requirements, and then submit for approval. 

Your union is in regular communication with your employer as these plans are being made, and we are advocating for your rights and best interests as operations continue to change. The health and safety and collective agreement rights of members is our top priority. 

This bulletin provides the latest details of your employer's plan to resume operations. If you have any concerns, please immediately contact your bargaining chair or union steward, reach out to your local executive, or email health@bcgeu.ca

What we know about the employer's plans:

  • The employer is planning for some students to return to campus as early as May 25, 2020.

What we've identified to be addressed & what we've been doing about it:

  • The employer has not followed proper process to create exposure plans and protocols in accordance with WorkSafeBC or the provincial government.
  • We are meeting regularly with the employer to press them to comply with WorkSafeBC and government requirements and meetings have included your bargaining committee and staff representative. 

What we recommend you do:

  • Report to your steward or your local executive if you are asked to return to campus.
  • Before you return to campus, request to see the exposure plan and protocols.
  • Follow the proper process to exercise your legislative responsibility and right to refuse unsafe work. Review the three-step process to refuse unsafe work.

If these plans are not being implemented, or you are unable to follow our guidance, please notify your union immediately by contacting your shop steward or OHS representative.

This is what we know right now. We are committed to open and timely communication with you, so we will keep you informed as we learn more. 

Finally, if you are seeking information about your pension, occupational health and safety guidance and other issues impacted by the pandemic, visit bcgeu.ca/covid or email health@bcgeu.ca.

In solidarity,
Cindy Battersby
Component 7 Vice President



UWU/MoveUP

May 25, 2020

Single Site Scheduling Strive Living Society (CSS) Sites - BCGEU

Single Site Scheduling Strive Living Society (CSS) Sites
 
We are writing with important information about scheduling for employees affected by the Provincial Health Officer's Single Site Order.
 
This e-mail applies to you if you work at any of the following worksites: Freedom Place, Hollypark Lodge, or Liberty Place. The Single Site Order restricts workers to working at only one Assisted Living, Long Term Care or Provinicial Mental Health Facility. If you don't work at one of these sites, please disregard this email.
 
Employers subject to the Single Site Order are required to follow certain steps when creating a schedule, as set out below. If your employer is not following these steps, please email singlesiteseniority@bcgeu.ca and let us know.
 
Combined FTE
Employees with regular status who worked at multiple sites, before being limited to a single site under the Single Site Order, must be scheduled to work their total combined regular hours at the single site, up to a maximum of 1.3 FTE.
 
Schedule Determination
Once the Single Site Order is in place, the employer at your single site is required to create an initial, emergency schedule, using your combined seniority from all of your previous unionized sites, and using the following steps:
 
    a.       In order to determine an initial, emergency schedule, the employer will:
 
              i.            Maintain the current schedule for all employees who remain at
              the worksite and have scheduled hours;
 
             ii.            Identify all shift gaps in the current schedule by job classification;
 
             iii.            Offer identified shift gaps to employees as follows:
 
             Round 1: by seniority, regular employees who previously worked at multiple
             worksites and who are limited to working at a single worksite can select
             from shift gaps up to their combined FTE at straight time;
 
             Round 2: by seniority, other regular and casual employees can select any
             remaining regular shifts at straight time.
 
     b.       Following completion of the emergency scheduling process, the employer
     will offer any unfilled shifts to employees in accordance with the collective
     agreement.
 
     c.       During the first 90 days, the employer will work with the union to develop
     a more robust process to determine a new schedule for all regular employees for
     the duration of the Single Site Order.
 
If this process is not being followed, or you have questions or concerns, please email singlesiteseniority@bcgeu.ca.
 



UWU/MoveUP

May 25, 2020

Premium pay – COVID-19 update, May 25 - BCGEU

Pandemic pay announcement

In mid-April the federal government announced it was working with the provinces on a cost-shared, temporary "pandemic pay" program to top up the wages of select essential frontline workers. Your union worked to have the provincial government ensure that B.C.'s program would cover the broadest possible group of BCGEU members working on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The details of the program were announced last week and most members in Component 4 are eligible to receive pandemic pay. Here is what we know about the program based on the announcement:

  • The program will provide a lump-sum payment calculated at $4 per straight-time hour covering a 16-week period retroactive to March 15, 2020.
  • Eligible workers must have worked straight-time hours during the 16-week period covered by the program.
  • There is no minimum threshold on hours, so casual and on-call hours are eligible.
  • Eligible workers will receive the payment directly from their employer and do not need to apply.
  • Government will be working with your employer on details of the disbursement, which are still being worked out.

When asked, our union said that this program needed to be as broad as possible and include all frontline essential workers. Our union pushed hard to make sure the government took a broad approach to this program. As a result of that work, tens of thousands of BCGEU members like you will be covered including those providing care to our province's most vulnerable citizens in direct government, health services, and social services positions. But, as you know, thousands more members are not eligible for the program right now, including some in our own component, so our work is not done.

Again, please note that you will not need to apply as you will receive a lump sum for this pay from your employer.

You are working hard to on the frontlines of this crisis and deserve to be recognized for your dedication and service in such a challenging time. Thank you for all you do and let's continue to support each other as we move through this together. 

In solidarity,

Mahen Ramdharry
Vice President, Health Services Component
(Component 4)



UWU/MoveUP