COVID-19 Update – March 26, 2020

COVID-19 Update March 26, 2020

Dear Friends,

Since we last reached out to you on March 20th, so much has changed in our worlds. We know how hard you’ve been working to adapt to the constantly changing circumstances and we can’t express enough how much we appreciate the work you are doing. The ways that you are reaching out to us and to each other, and the efforts you are making to keep yourselves and your communities healthy and safe are nothing less than inspiring!

The COVID-19 situation is having an impact across the globe, across the country, across our sector, and, indeed, across UBC. Earlier this week, the Public Sector’s Employers’ Council Secretariat (the arm of the Ministry of Finance that is responsible for public sector labour relations in BC) issued a letter to the CEOs of the following employer associations:

  • Health Employers’ Association of BC

  • Post-Secondary Employers’ Association

  • BC Public School Employers’ Association

  • Community Social Services Employers’ Association

  • University Public Sector Employers’ Association

The letter indicated that wages and benefits would be continued until the end of April with the idea that the situation will be reassessed for what happens next and for employee layoffs to be avoided during this time. This is not unique to UBC – this is happening across the public sector. UBC posted the memo sent to senior leadership across campus here.

While it might feel scary, it is important to remember that this is the BC Government’s initial announcement about protecting the pay and jobs of people in the public service. This is not a formal notice of impending closures of programs or schools or services. We believe this was meant to provide some stability to the public sector and the economy, to give the provincial government and our employers time to respond to the rapidly changing environment, including waiting on announcements from the federal government. We anticipate further announcements in future.

Your Union is working with UBC to ensure that in their planning, your rights under the Collective Agreement are protected. Though there are no absolute guarantees in a changing landscape that if there are going to be layoffs, we can assure you that UBC HR and the Union would follow the processes defined in our collective agreement and/or the labour code if that were to happen.

We continue to be in frequent communication with Employee Relations, CUPE 116 and 2278 as well as our contacts at CUPE BC, the broader labour movement and government. We suspect that there will be many rumours in the coming days and we encourage you to contact us when you hear something or have a question – we can’t stress enough that we are here for you.

As always, CUPE 2950 will continue to advocate for the best possible outcomes for our members.

In (social) solidarity, on behalf of your CUPE 2950 Executive and Staff,

Karen Ranalletta, President CUPE 2950