Greetings Vancouver School Board Members:

Happy Spring Break!

We wish to update members on some very important matters that the union has been dealing with and to also provide some reminders about upcoming events.

The union has recently raised a concern with the employer regarding a document that they produced regarding the reporting of violent incidents or near misses. We wish to advise members that this document was not produced in consultation with the union, and there are parts of it that raise very serious concerns for our members.

The employer has confirmed that they are using this document to make record of when a member refuses unsafe work. Consequently, they will ask another member to take on that work, and require them to sign this document.

We have had our legal counsel review this document and there are many red flags we have concerns about; foremost being they are seeking another member to take on the refused work, and then requiring them to sign off on it.

The union requested a meeting with the health and safety department, and the matter is still unresolved to our satisfaction.

In addition to this document, it has been reported to us that members are being advised that they can NOT do a group refusal of unsafe work. That is simply NOT true, and it is important to know that your right to safety outweighs any program that the employer may be trying to implement to bring down their WorkSafeBC rates.

If any members have been asked to sign this document, please let the union know as soon as possible, so that we can track this information.

Many of you may have seen the stories on the news recently regarding our concern about the staffing levels of the board, and the increased stress level this is putting on our members. It is very unfortunate that it appears the employer has taken the position that there is no cause for concern; we all collectively disagree with that position.

The employer is trying to frame this as a collective bargaining ploy, which you all know it is not. We will not allow your safety priorities to be diminished!

As you know we have been trying to work with the employer for years to address the problem of the staffing shortages throughout the entire district. However, unfortunately, the employer has made their budget a priority over staffing and the care of students.

Members of the CUPE Local 15 Executive, along with members from the union’s Health & Safety Committee have been conducting site visits to all of the work locations within the local union. Visits have been made to several schools with more to come.

The union is hoping to establish site contacts for all our work locations, so if your location does not have a site contact, please contact the union office at and provide the name, location, and contact information of someone who is kindly willing to be a site contact.

On another matter, we are asking any employee who was told to come in to work or to work from home on the snow closure days to please contact the union. We have information that will be very important to you.

If you could contact us as soon as possible, it would be greatly appreciated.

As a reminder, job postings are held starting in March in order to have jobs available should there be any displacements for the next school year. We are hoping to not have a repeat of the disastrous situation that happened last September, and any changes in student populations will be dealt with smoothly and fairly for our members.

We have recently established a job posting committee at CUPE Local 15 for our VSB members. The committee is reviewing every job posting that is produced in order to ensure it is in compliance with the collective agreement and working conditions.

Any anomalies to the postings are being brought forward to the employer, so that jobs are posted in a fair and equitable manner.

We have also raised our concerns with the employer regarding the number of redirections that our on-call members are being subjected to.

At our last Labour Management meeting, we put forth a proposal that we hope will help bring relief to some of those redirections.

With the assistance of an arbitrator, the union was recently able to secure a settlement on the outstanding quarantine grievances. The settlement covered mostly those members who the union was aware of who were refused quarantine pay for international travel. The settlement provided those members to have their sick banks credited with the time that they had to use towards that quarantine period for which the employer was refusing to pay them.

This is also another reminder to all members that there is still funding available from the health and wellness fund. Therefore, if you haven’t made an application yet, we encourage you to do so quickly as once those funds run out, they are no longer available.

In addition, feel free to contact your shop steward if you have any suggestions for ideas that could be provided under Pro–D. The employer is seeking input from the union, and we would like to put your suggestions forward.

One last thing for everyone. Please ensure that the union office has your current email and home address, so that you do not miss important information that is relevant to you. You can update your information by sending an email to or call 604-879-4671.

Please feel free to reach out to any of your shop stewards should you have any questions or concerns.

In solidarity,

Warren Williams