Member Update #13 - COVID-19
November 24, 2020 at 4:11 PM
I want to begin by thanking our members for all you are doing to help keep our city running and our community safe. We know these are incredibly challenging and unprecedented times and we appreciate your continued hard work, courage and dedication.
This is a crisis like no other – one that has continued to present a number of workplace challenges. Please be assured that the Local continues to be in regular communication with your employer to keep your concerns front and centre.
As you know, in response to rising COVID-19 infections, the City of Winnipeg has discontinued all recreation and leisure programs and all library and recreation facilities remain closed. Staff in these divisions have been advised by the employer that they will continue to be paid, reflective of their current package, up to and including November 28, 2020. We know this is a very stressful and anxious time for our members and we will continue to advocate for your rights during our ongoing discussions with the employer.
In addition to the above, your union has also called on the City to “pause” the requirement for a doctor’s note to access sick leave or as part of the City’s Attendance Management Program. Medical notes place an unnecessary burden on the health care system at a time when we should all be focused on addressing the biggest crisis of our time. So with the exception of very specific health situations, you should not be asked to provide sick notes right now. Remember, members should not hesitate to report to their supervisor that they need to stay home if feeling unwell.
We have also been in discussions with the City regarding COVID-19 related workplace absences. We know from our members that many of you have been forced to use accrued vacation, banked time credits or unpaid leave when you were off work related to COVID-19. We want to ensure a fair and consistent policy is being applied across all departments that both minimizes the risk to infecting others and the financial impact of not being at work. Nobody should have to be forced to go to work because they can’t afford to stay home without pay.
If you are experiencing any issues with sick notes or absences relating to the pandemic, please continue to reach out to your unit president, chief shop steward or contact the Local 500 office at 204-942-1001 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The sooner we know about theses issues or potential issues, the sooner we can help to resolve them.
It is also important to remind you that there are three (3) types of paid leaves available through the new Federal Benefits Programs that may assist you and your family. You can read more here: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html#individuals.
As the number of COVID-19 positive cases in Manitoba continues to rise, please continue to follow your employers’ health and safety guidelines and advice of our provincial health officials. By working together collectively, we can help limit the spread of COVID-19 in our workplaces and our community.
We all have a personal part to play – in addition to wearing a face covering/mask, please remember to practice physical distancing, proper hand washing and staying home if you are sick.
As always, your feedback is important to us. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.
Stay safe and please look out for each other.
President, CUPE Local 500