Issues Update - March 16, 2022

Hi all,


We have continued to monitor the COVID situation and the reduced restrictions. We still recommend taking all necessary precautions as suggested by the medical community to protect your health including wearing your mask, sanitizing and social distancing. If you have concerns regarding workplace safety please contact your local health and safety committee. The vaccine policy grievances are continuing through the grievance process and arbitration is being scheduled. For those who incurred testing costs please retain all receipts and keep track of the time required for testing. We are also encouraging people to apply for Telework if you feel your job is suitable. If your Telework application is denied, please contact your Chief Steward. We have a number of Telework denial grievances which will be proceeding to arbitration late in the year.


There are two policy grievances relating to the new Truth and Reconciliation Stat holiday which were denied at the 3rd step of the grievance process and will continue to arbitration. For the SaskTel International employees who did not receive the holiday, the Company is saying they are not federally certified even though we only have one certification order for SaskTel which falls under the Canada Labour Code. Additionally, they are only paying time and a half according to the Canada Labour Code rather than paying double time for the stat holiday which forms the second grievance.


Following the 2019 labour dispute a number of policy grievances were filed after the Company arbitrarily deducted/prorated the lockout/strike timeframe from Earned Days Off (EDO), Flex Spending, and Business Sales Compensation Plan (BSCP) payouts. In advance of the arbitration hearing, we managed to negotiate a resolve for the Flex Spending and BSCP grievances, by dropping the Flex Spending grievance in agreement for settling the BSCP grievance. The EDO arbitration took place December 2021, and the arbitrator denied our grievance. After review of the decision with our lawyer we believe there is legal rationale to appeal the arbitrator’s decision to the Court of Queens Bench and have started this process. We will keep you updated as we continue to move through the process.


You may have heard about the new Federal Pay Equity legislation introduced by the Federal government. Notice of this legislation was supposed to be posted in the workplace on November 1, 2021 and begin the process of establishing committees and a review of jobs. SaskTel believes they do not fall under this federal legislation. We have filed a complaint with the Pay Equity Commission regarding this issue.


The last issue is the announcement that Directwest and SecurTek will be moving back into SaskTel as departments. Under Section 44 of the Federal Labour Code, we believe this move forms a successorship under the legislation. Our position is that Directwest and SecurTek should fall under the SaskTel Collective Agreement and certification order because of this.


We will keep you updated as we progress though these many issues.


In solidarity


Dave and Mike (for Shelley)


Issues Update - January 14, 2022

Hi all,

We hope you and your families are safe and healthy in these uncertain times. We wanted to inform you we continue monitoring the COVID situation. Last week as cases continued to skyrocket, we sent an e-mail to the Company requesting they once again allow employees to work from home, either by directing employees to do so or at a minimum allow employees to do so if they request. We also asked that for those that have to deal with the public that services be scaled back, and these employees receive increased protection for example, N95 masks and vaccine certification prior to dealing with a customer when entering their premise or a customer entering SaskTel property. We offered to meet with them at any time to discuss further solutions for keeping us all safe. An offer we have made several times during the pandemic.

The Company indicated they will be maintaining the status quo as outlined in previous communication via net notes and following the SHA guidelines.

Please remain vigilant and protect yourself. If you have any concerns regarding your safety please raise them with you local union representative on the Occupational Health and Safety Committee.

In solidarity

Dave and Shelley

Issues Update - December 17, 2021

Below are updates to some of the ongoing policy grievances we have against SaskTel:

SC-2021-01 – Vaccine Policy

  • This grievance was presented at 3rd step on November 23. The response has been received from the Company, denying the grievance. We will be proceeding to arbitration.

  • This grievance deals with the reasonableness of the Companies policy specifically timeframes and costs during the time it takes to be compliant if a member wishes to become fully vaccinated.

  • We are not seeking to dismiss this policy altogether.

  • At this point we are advising members to retain receipts for testing costs and to track all time. This information may come into play as the grievance progresses.

SC-2021-05 – Failure to Negotiate Hours of Work Changes

  • This grievance was presented at 3rd step on November 23. The response has been received from the Company, denying the grievance. We will be proceeding to arbitration.

  • This grievance deals with departments which are scheduling employees for 1 week at home and 1 week at the office or any other shift arrangements which have not been negotiated with the Union.

SC-2021-06 – Vaccine Testing Costs

  • This grievance was presented at 3rd step on November 23. The response has been received from the Company, denying the grievance. We will be proceeding to arbitration.

  • This grievance relates to language in our Collective Agreement under Article 30 which says that a medical examination is at the expense of the Company.

SC-2019-01 – EDO Grievance

  • This grievance relates to the labour dispute in 2019 where the Company underpaid a large portion of the membership relating to October 4, 2019, and October 21, 2019 EDOs.

  • The arbitration was held this week in from of Arbitrator Dan Ish. The decision typically takes approximately 3 months to be written as there is a lot of case law and facts for the arbitrator to work through and review in making the decision.

Unifor Local 649 had similar Vaccination Policy grievances relating to the reasonableness of the Company’s vaccine policies. They have managed to negotiate a resolution to their grievances. Unfortunately in our opinion, SaskTel has not taken a reasonable approach and we will have to continue with the arbitration.

As these grievances progress, we will provide updates when we can.

In solidarity

Dave and Shelley

Issues Update - November 26, 2021

Below are updates to some of the ongoing policy grievances we have against SaskTel

SC-2021-01 – Vaccine Policy

  • This grievance was presented at 3rd step on November 23. The response is due within 15 working days.

  • This grievance deals with the reasonableness of the Companies policy specifically timeframes and costs during the time it takes to be compliant if a member wishes to become fully vaccinated.

  • We are not seeking to dismiss this policy altogether.

  • At this point we are advising members to retain receipts for testing costs and to track all time. This information may come into play as the grievance progresses.

SC-2021-03 – Stat Holiday SaskTel International

  • This grievance was denied at 2nd step of the grievance process, and we are moving it to 3rd step which is scheduled for February 9th.

  • This grievance deals with SaskTel International inscope employees who did not receive the new holiday for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th.

SC-2021-04 – Stat Holiday Pay

  • This grievance was denied at 2nd step of the grievance process, and we are moving it to 3rd step which is scheduled for February 9th.

  • This grievance deals with payment of wages for employees who work the new holiday for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th. We believe the Collective Agreement language applies and not the Canada Labour Code.

SC-2021-05 – Failure to Negotiate Hours of Work Changes

  • This grievance was presented at 3rd step on November 23. The response is due within 15 working days.

  • This grievance deals with departments which are scheduling employees for 1 week at home and 1 week at the office or any other shift arrangements which have not been negotiated with the Union.

SC-2021-06 – Vaccine Testing Costs

  • This grievance was presented at 3rd step on November 23. The response is due within 15 working days.

  • This grievance relates to language in our Collective Agreement under Article 30 which says that a medical examination is at the expense of the Company.

As these grievances progress, we will provide updates when we can.

In solidarity

Dave and Shelley


Telework Bargaining Update - November 23, 2021

The Bargaining Committee met with SaskTel on November 18th to discuss changes we had proposed for the existing Telework Language in our Collective Agreement under Appendix XXVIII. These changes were driven by our members. We proposed language which would allow a hybrid approach to telework, meaning a variation of days in the office and at home every week. Additionally, we proposed language to allow members to use an alternate internet service provider if SaskTel service was not available.

We are very disappointed to report that SaskTel came to the meeting with an ultimatum approach to negotiating these changes, which we declined.

At the very beginning of the meeting it was made clear by SaskTel that they were only willing to discuss our proposed changes to the existing Telework if we agreed to SaskTels separate “Permanent Work from Home” language. We told them we were not interested in this type of negotiation tactics

What does Permanent Work from Home mean?

SaskTel would post a position which would be designated as PWFH meaning there would never be a SaskTel work location or office associated to the job or employee. The employee is permanently at home, the only way to not be at home is to bid a job that is posted within the workplace at SaskTel.

Why is Permanent Work from Home not a good thing for our members?

There are many problems with this type of language as the Union sees it. If an individual’s personal situation changes; divorce, more children, children moving back home, financial hardship, or moving to a new home. There are probably more situations we haven’t contemplated yet. For example; where an employee doesn’t have the room or space for an office that meets the requirements of PWFH, the employee will most likely be in trouble. The only way out is to bid on a job which is posted in a SaskTel work location, assuming you have the seniority and qualifications to do so. We also foresee the “picking and choosing” of which jobs are suitable for PWFH. PWFH would not allow people who do not have a “home office” set up to be eligible/appointed to these positions.

Compensation for employees is another factor because we know the intent is for SaskTel to save money by reducing real estate costs but none of this would be passed back to the employees.

In our opinion “Permanent work from Home” is strictly about eliminating real estate costs on the backs of our members and offers ZERO benefits to the membership. We believe that with our existing and proposed changes to our Telework language SaskTel essentially has PWFH if neither party cancels Telework using the 120-day cancellation language. We are asking for some changes to make it better for the employees and SaskTel is saying NO. Here’s the interesting part, they are giving management the ability to work a hybrid Telework model.

For a top 100 company this is how they are treating you.

We’ll keep you updated on this topic if SaskTel changes their mind.


In solidarity,

The Bargaining Committee

Issues Update - October 29, 2021

We have managed to reschedule a bargaining meeting for November 18th to discuss the Telework language and some possible changes. The other items we had scheduled including Lead Generation and BSCP issues, the new Pay Equity legislation, contracting out and some other smaller issues are being dealt with through email and phone calls where appropriate.

There have been a large number of indefinite suspensions relating to noncompliance to SaskTel’s Vaccination Policy. We are dealing with these on a case-by-case basis.

The policy grievances we have filed continue to move through the regular process.

SC-2021-01 – Vaccine Policy

  • This grievance is scheduled for a 3rd step presentation on November 23.

  • This grievance deals with the reasonableness of the Companies policy specifically timeframes and costs during the time it takes to be compliant if a member wishes to become fully vaccinated.

  • We are not seeking to dismiss this policy altogether.

  • At this point we are advising members to retain receipts for testing costs and to track all time. This information may come into play as the grievance progresses.

SC-2021-03 – Stat Holiday SaskTel International

  • This grievance was presented at 2nd step of the grievance process on October 14, and we are awaiting a reply from SaskTel.

  • This grievance deals with SaskTel International inscope employees who did not receive the new holiday for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th.

SC-2021-04 – Stat Holiday Pay

  • This grievance was presented at 2nd step of the grievance process on October 14, and we are awaiting a reply from SaskTel.

  • This grievance deals with payment of wages for employees who work the new holiday for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th. We believe the Collective Agreement language applies and not the Canada Labour Code.

SC-2021-05 – Failure to Negotiate Hours of Work Changes

  • This grievance is scheduled for a 3rd step presentation on November 23.

  • This grievance deals with departments which are scheduling employees for 1 week at home and 1 week at the office or any other shift arrangements which have not been negotiated with the Union.

SC-2021-06 – Vaccine Testing Costs

  • This grievance is scheduled for a 3rd step presentation on November 23.

  • This grievance relates to language in our Collective Agreement under Article 30 which says that a medical examination is at the expense of the Company.

As these grievances progress, we will provide updates when we can.

In solidarity

Dave and Shelley

Issues Update - October 15, 2021

We had a Labour Relations meeting scheduled for October 14th which the Company cancelled. Agenda items included discussion on Telework, Lead Generation and BSCP issues, the new Pay Equity legislation, contracting out and some other smaller issues.

We have filed a number of policy grievances as well.

SC-2021-01 – Mandatory Vaccine Policy

  • This grievance was filed on October 5th and we are waiting for dates from SaskTel to present the grievance.

  • This grievance deals with the reasonableness of the Companies policy specifically timeframes and costs during the time it takes to be compliant if a member wishes to become fully vaccinated.

  • We are not seeking to dismiss this policy altogether.

  • At this point we are advising members to retain receipts for testing costs and to track all time. This information may come into play as the grievance progresses.

SC-2021-03 – Stat Holiday SaskTel International

  • This grievance was filed on October 5th and we presented to SaskTel on October 14th and are waiting for their written response.

  • This grievance deals with SaskTel International inscope employees who did not receive the new holiday for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th.

SC-2021-04 – Stat Holiday Pay

  • This grievance was filed on October 5th and we presented to SaskTel on October 14th and are waiting for their written response.

  • This grievance deals with payment of wages for employees who work the new holiday for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th. We believe the Collective Agreement language applies and not the Canada Labour Code.

SC-2021-05 – Failure to Negotiate Hours of Work Changes

  • This grievance was filed on October 5th and we are waiting for dates from SaskTel to present the grievance.

  • This grievance deals with departments which are scheduling employees for 1 week at home and 1 week at the office or any other shift arrangements which have not been negotiated with the Union.

SC-2021-06 – Vaccine Testing Costs

  • This grievance was filed on October 12th and we are waiting for dates from SaskTel to present the grievance.

  • This grievance relates to language in our Collective Agreement under Article 30 which says that a medical examination is at the expense of the Company.

As these grievances progress, we will provide updates when we can.


In solidarity

Dave and Shelley

COVID Regulations Updates - September & October 2021

October 5, 2021:


This is to advise that Unifor Locals in the crown sector have filed grievances with our employers regarding the recently announced employer “Vaccination Policy”. These grievances are not seeking to dismiss the policy all together, it is about the unfair timeframes and costs imposed upon employees to become compliant with the policy. We will process the grievances as quickly as possible. In the meantime, you should comply with the policy as currently outlined. If you find yourself in a position that you must miss work or pay for a covid test, please keep detailed records and receipts.


As new information becomes available, we will post updates.

October 1, 2021:

This is to advise that we do not have a response from SaskTel regarding concerns raised around their recent announced declaration of vaccine status “policy”. We are continuing to review our options and will provide further updates next week as they become available.


We have had many questions regarding interpretation of the “policy” or FAQ questions. If you need clarification on interpretation, please email covid.questions@sasktel.com


September 24, 2021:

SaskTel made an announcement today regarding declaration of vaccine status. Company representatives met with the Local Presidents and National Representative just before its posting on the The Source, where it was verbally reviewed with us. Because of the short notice and not having the announcement to actually review, we could only offer some concerns about the implementation process of the announcement. We will need more time to review this announcement and will be sending out further information when we are able to.


Unifor position on workplace vaccination


September 23, 2021:

We had a short meeting with the Company last Friday as a result of the Premiers announcement. At this meeting we requested information/policies and outlined some concerns we had around this announcement. At this meeting, the Company was not able to provide any information or answer any of our concerns. Unfortunately, at time of writing this post we have not received any further details from SaskTel.

Our offices have received many calls from members wanting to know the details and have asked questions around this issue. We are doing our best to keep track of these questions and will try to address them as best we can when we have information.

We will continue to update you as best as we can as more details come forward.


September 16, 2021:


Premier Moe, earlier today put out a video regarding new COVID regulations. One of the new regulations will be a requirement for Provincial and Crown employees to be vaccinated or provide proof of a negative test. All we have for information at this time is what is contained in this video or what will be further detailed in the Premier’s press conference later today. As for the implications, process, and other details we have requested a meeting with SaskTel to discuss these details.


In solidarity


Shelley and Dave

COVID / Telework Update - June 29, 2021

With the recent announcement by SaskTel of an escalated return to work plan and reduced safety protocols there have been many questions raised. These questions include can you ask coworkers to wear masks in your cubicles, what to do for overcrowded elevators and meeting rooms, how to deal with customers who do not wear masks and a number of other safety related questions.

We had a conference call with SaskTel today to raise these concerns. They are working on an update for the Q&A on The Source which should address some of the questions.

From the Union’s perspective the return to work and removal of safety protocols is premature, and we let the Company know our position.

Our message to you is, if you have safety concerns, raise them with your manager and OH&S committee to have them officially addressed. If they are not dealt with escalate them with your Union rep.

We also encourage people to apply for Telework where possible.


In solidarity

Dave and Shelley


Policy Grievance Update - Pre-Testing - June 3, 2021

The Union filed a policy grievance in 2015 (SC-2015-05) resulting from many reports from members saying they were unfairly eliminated from job applications because of pretests. The arbitration was held in February 2021 in front of arbitrator Dan Ish who provided the written decision recently. His decision is effective on a go forward basis beginning May 5, 2021.

There are many winning points for the union.

In his decision he writes: If SaskTel is using pretests, they must be fair, they must have questions that pertain to the job (reasonable), they must have the same questions for all applicants, subject to computer adaptive tests that may use a number of questions selected from a larger pool of valid questions. Certain higher-level jobs they can use the pretest as a knockout but lower-level jobs they cannot. For these jobs they will have to look at overall qualifications and experience of the applicant. They must give the same information to applicants in advance regarding any testing. Subjective short answer questions are not considered fair, reasonable, or consistent. They must only test for the minimum qualifications of the job.


We will be meeting with SaskTel in the coming weeks to discuss implementation of the award.

In solidarity

Dave and Shelley

Policy Grievance Filed - Business Incented Reps - April 22, 2021

The Union is filing a policy grievance (SC-2021-01) regarding Appendix XXII in the Collective Agreement. It is our interpretation that the company is in violation of the CA by removing primeship on dedicated account base for the Service Rep (Business Sales-ISR) and moving everyone into a queue. The SaskCouncil website will be updated as the grievance moves forward. The language in the Collective Agreement states:

Employees in the classification of Account Representative, as well as Service Representatives and Sales Associates who are prime on a designated account base, hereinafter referred to as Incented Sales Representatives (ISR), within Business Sales and Solutions are eligible to participate in the BSCP. Eligible employees shall be paid a combination of base wage and incentives.

Sincerely,

Shelley & Dave

Grievance Update - EDO/Flex Spending Relating to Lockout - March 9, 2021

Two grievances relating to the 2019 lockout were filed by the Union regarding EDO’s and Flex Spending. For the EDO grievance, a number of people were not paid appropriately for hours worked either before or after the lockout. As well, when it was time for the Flex Spending to be paid in December of 2019, the Company, in our opinion, calculated the amount incorrectly.

The 2 grievances were filed, and SaskTel raised a preliminary objection to the grievances saying they were not valid as there was an amnesty clause in the Memorandum of Settlement.

An arbitration hearing was held on December 17, 2020 regarding the preliminary objection. We received the ruling from arbitrator Dan Ish and he dismissed the Company’s objection, which allows the Union to proceed on the merits of the grievances.

Next step will be to prepare for and schedule the arbitration regarding these grievances. We will again share the arbitrator’s decision once we receive it. It can take several months for a decision to be written as there is a lot of case law research the arbitrator must do in making the decision.

In solidarity

Your Bargaining Committee

2020


To Our Members Dealing with the Public - November 24, 2020

As the active COVID-19 case numbers continue to increase and strict public health orders come into effect, we, on behalf of the entire membership, want to acknowledge our front line staff in the stores, our outside craft groups, sales groups, and any other members who are part of the front lines in SaskTel who do not have an option to work from home.

There is much talk about work from home for a majority of our members, but we do realize this is not an option for all members. If you must interact with the public please use all safety measures including masks, social distancing, hand sanitizers and any other measures which are in place to protect yourself. The Company is responsible for your PPE. If you are running short or you don’t have any, or if you have any concerns regarding safety measures or other issues, please raise them with your manager and Workplace Health and Safety representatives immediately.

We will continue to raise concerns and issue during our regular conference calls and meetings with SaskTel.

In solidarity

Dave and Mike


Here are some informational links that you may be interested in from our Unifor National web site:

https://www.unifor.org/en/basic-health-and-safety-during-covid-19

https://www.unifor.org/en/covid-19-mental-health-guide

and here is a link to Saskatchewan Health

https://www.saskhealthauthority.ca/

If you should have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate in contacting your Local Union Office.

Update - November 5, 2020

Sisters and brothers,

In recent weeks we have seen a significant rise in the number of active COVID-19 cases in the province.

We have also had some COVID-19 cases and/or exposures in our workplaces at SaskTel.

Other parts of the country have began imposing curfews to deal with outbreaks and the Sask Health Authority has now said as of Friday, masks will be mandatory in indoor public places in the cities of Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert. We are continuing our discussions with SaskTel on a regular basis and there are still several hundred Telework applications awaiting approval. We have expressed our concern about this, given the Sask Health Authority and World Health Organization have both recommended to use Telework if available. If you continue to have concerns about COVID-19, Telework may be an avenue for you to explore.

We continue to remind you to stay vigilant against this virus, wear a mask, wash your hands, and keep social distancing in mind. We need to look out for each other.

Again, if you believe that you have become infected through your workplace you should be filing a workers compensation claim.

Here are some informational links that you may be interested in from our Unifor National web site:

https://www.unifor.org/en/basic-health-and-safety-during-covid-19

https://www.unifor.org/en/covid-19-mental-health-guide

and here is a link to Saskatchewan Health

https://www.saskhealthauthority.ca/


If you should have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate in contacting your Local Union Office.

Dave and Mike

Update - October 28, 2020

We are writing as a follow up to the recent SaskTel NetNote regarding an employee testing positive for Covid-19.

Firstly, we hope for a speedy and safe recovery of our Unifor family member from this virus and that their family remain safe and healthy.

We are meeting with the Company on a regular basis to discuss concerns around the pandemic. We are also continually reminding the Company that they need to deal with the several hundred TeleWork applications that are sitting on Directors desks.

Please remember to stay vigilant against this virus, wear a mask, wash your hands and keep social distancing in mind. We need to look out for each other.

If you believe that you have become infected through your workplace you should be filing a workers compensation claim.

Here are some informational links that you may be interested in from our Unifor National web site:

https://www.unifor.org/en/basic-health-and-safety-during-covid-19

https://www.unifor.org/en/covid-19-mental-health-guide

and here is a link to Saskatchewan Health

https://www.saskhealthauthority.ca/

If you should have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate in contacting your Local Union Office.

Dave and Penny


Telework Update - September 25, 2020

  • We are writing regarding the Company’s announcement of September 24, 2020, that they are suspending all TeleWork applications. The Company writes they have taken this action because of the policy grievance that was filed on September 3, 2020 by the Union. This grievance is about the Company adding the requirement that an employee must outline measurable performance indicators as part of the approval process. This condition was never negotiated with the Union and we do not believe this is a necessary requirement to determine eligibility. An employees measurable performance indicators do not change just because their work location is at home.

  • This grievance was filed as a last resort because the Company would not deal with the issue when we brought it up in meetings shortly after the new application was introduced. We were left with little choice but to file a grievance to have our concern addressed and as a result the Company has retaliated.

  • Since August the Company has received several hundred applications from its employees applying for TeleWork (even with the performance measures still being on the application and prior to a grievance being filed) and still the Company has denied/approved very few of these applications. We believe many of the applications have been submitted because of concerns about returning to workplace during the pandemic and over the past few months we have repeatedly asked the Company to start dealing with them. We believe many of them could be approved, giving employees some peace of mind. Why the Company feels it has the right to suspend a benefit we have fairly negotiated because of our grievance we do not understand.

  • We have been in contact with the Company to express our disappointment regarding their actions. We have asked that they move 3rd step meeting scheduled for this grievance in mid November to September 30 and they have agreed.

  • Stay tuned for further updates.

In Solidarity, 

Penny and Dave

Telework Update - September 17, 2020

Unifor Local 1-S and 2-S have decided to move forward with individual grievances in regard to Telework denials.

We are reaching out to gather more information.

If you have been denied and want to pursue a grievance, please send us your name, personal email, phone number and mailing address, along with a copy of the denial email and any other correspondence you may have had with your manager or director relating to the Telework application.

In Solidarity, 

Penny and Dave

Telework Update - September 17, 2020

As you know SaskTel has been denying a number of Telework applications for various reasons. On the new TeleWork Application the Company added the requirement that the employee must outline measurable performance indicators as part of the approval process. This additional criteria was never discussed nor negotiated with the Union. Therefore, for the Company to deny an application on this basis is unreasonable.

In response to SaskTel’s actions we have filed a policy grievance on this issue.

Please continue to apply for Telework and get the response in writing. If you are denied, please forward the information to the Union Office so that we may review for possible further action.

In solidarity

Penny and Dave

Telework Update - August 28, 2020

We have had numerous inquiries from the membership regarding the Company’s delay in approving TeleWork applications. During these conversations we have been informed that mangers are saying the Union is holding up the approval process. This is wrong. Any delays are of the Company’s making since this past June when “Appendix XXVIII – TeleWork” was renegotiated. On an almost weekly basis since June we have been telling the Company these delays are unacceptable and they should get moving and seriously consider and approve the applications received. Once the announcement was made to start returning employees to the workplace during the summer, we stepped up our pressure telling the Company needed to start handling these applications because we knew employees would be concerned for their safety and some would want to take advantage of TeleWork to alleviate this concern. The most recent of these conversations took place this week with Industrial Relations.

Our position has not changed, if you are interested in TeleWork apply for it and if your Director denies the application please ask for denial in writing and send to your Local union office for review.

In Solidarity,

Penny and Dave

Telework Update - July 16, 2020

We are writing as a follow up to past communications regarding TeleWork - Appendix XXIX language that was recently updated. We have received a number of concerns from employees that they are being told they cannot apply for TeleWork because there is no an application form available.

When we negotiated the recent changes, the Company did not advise they were going create a form for application or that there would be delays in receiving and approving such requests as a result of this. We have informed the Company this is not acceptable and would consider this as an unreasonable denial. We have informed the Company that employees should be able to apply in the meantime via an e-mail to their Director for approval.

Therefore, if you wish to apply for TeleWork review the new language to ensure that you meet the terms negotiated and e-mail your Director confirming you meet the terms of TeleWork Appendix XXIX. If you are denied, ask for the denial reasons in writing and forward on to the appropriate Local union office for review.

In Solidarity,

Penny and Dave

Telework Update - June 29, 2020

Telework Update - July 16, 2020

We are writing as a follow up to past communications regarding TeleWork - Appendix XXIX language that was recently updated. We have received a number of concerns from employees that they are being told they cannot apply for TeleWork because there is no an application form available.

When we negotiated the recent changes, the Company did not advise they were going create a form for application or that there would be delays in receiving and approving such requests as a result of this. We have informed the Company this is not acceptable and would consider this as an unreasonable denial. We have informed the Company that employees should be able to apply in the meantime via an e-mail to their Director for approval.

Therefore, if you wish to apply for TeleWork review the new language to ensure that you meet the terms negotiated and e-mail your Director confirming you meet the terms of TeleWork Appendix XXIX. If you are denied, ask for the denial reasons in writing and forward on to the appropriate Local union office for review.

In Solidarity,

Penny and Dave


COVID-19 and Telework Update - June 23, 2020

During the pandemic we have had frequent discussions with the Company regarding how they were managing employees, the workplace and temporary measures of working from home. Recently, the focus has changed to bring employees back into SaskTel offices. During these discussion we have raised your concerns, for example, is it too soon, what are the cleaning protocols, what are the elevator protocols, why can’t I continue to work at home and so on to name a few. The Company has the right to manage and determine how the work is done, within the parameters of the Collective Agreement through negotiation with the Local 1S and 2S, Occupational Health and Safety Committees/Legislation and direction of the Provincial Government and Health Authorities. We continue to push the Company to follow a phased approach, to address issues that are raised, ensure the appropriate PPE is available and ensure that those who are vulnerable or have child care issues are provided with alternate arrangements.

If you are concerned about your safety in the workplace as always please bring up with your local manager and/or your local occupational health and safety representative/shop steward. If your concerns do not get addressed please contact your Local 1S/2S office for us to assist and follow up with.

https://www.unifor.org/en/take-action/campaigns/covid-19-information-resources?v=take_action

For those that are interested in continuing to work from home you can apply as per “Appendix XXIX – Telework” of the Collective Agreement. In the past few days we have negotiated new terms to this Appendix with the Company and the updated document is contained below. It is an employee’s choice to apply for this program and it is a temporary assignment that can be cancelled by either the employee or the Company with 120 days’ notice. If you apply for Telework and are denied please ask for the reasons in writing from your manager and forward the reasons on to the Local union office so that we may review the denial with the Company.

In Solidarity,

Penny and Dave

2019




Message from Local 1-S & 2-S Presidents - COVID-19 - April 9, 2020

Good Afternoon Unifor Local 1-S and 2-S members,

We are approaching almost 1 month of the COVID-19. This continues to be a difficult time for all. While most of you are working from home and that brings a whole different basket of changes. We have worked with the Company to expand the Technology Loan program to include office equipment such as desks, chairs foot stools etc. We want to ensure that for those that need a bit of comfort this is available for you.

Unifor Local 1-S and 2-S are working with the Company to get through these difficult times, our conference calls will continue with SaskTel. We are working through the CBA as well as the recommendations provided by the Saskatchewan Government and the Health Authority’s directives regarding this pandemic. As we’ve seen these past weeks, restrictions and direction are changing by the minute and we are working to keep up to date.

While we don’t always agree on everything proposed by our employer, we’re all in this together and Unifor Local 1-S and 2-S will continue to advocate for our members health and safety as this evolves and challenges arise.

We encourage you to have a look on the SaskTel internal website for company related directives, FAQ’s or general information.

Members, please practice physical distancing. The virus does not spread, it is people who spread the virus. Let’s all do our part in flattening the curve to ease the demand on healthcare workers.

While most of us would be celebrating Easter with our families, in this new climate we are all celebrating differently. On behalf of Unifor local 1-S and 2-S we wish you and your family a safe and healthy holiday.

For concerns please email your Chief Steward/Group Rep or Shop Steward.

Addresses can be found on the Local websites:

http://www.uniforlocal1s.ca/

http://www.uniforlocal2s.ca/

In Solidarity,

Penny and Dave


Message from Local 1-S & 2-S Presidents - COVID-19 - April 1, 2020

Good afternoon Unifor Local 1-S and 2-S members,

We are continuing to work through the new temporary norm in our workplaces. People are adjusting to this situation and doing what is necessary to keep working, deal with their family issues and manage their own stress and anxiety related to the uncertainty of this global pandemic. We will continue to be a source of support for you through this time in relation to your workplace.

Unifor Local 1-S and 2-S will continue to work with the Company and our CBA as well as the recommendations provided by the Saskatchewan Government and the Health Authority’s directives regarding this situation. We will continue to provide updated information through our SaskCouncil and local websites.

If you have issues relating to COVID-19 in the workplace, please address them with your manager and/or OH&S Committee, preferably through email. If you require further assistance or escalation after raising your issue, please contact a Union Representative.

We encourage you to have a look on the SaskTel internal website for company related directives, FAQ’s or general information. Please note, a recent Corporate Communication spoke about a Leave of Absence relating to COVID-19 (Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)). You will still have access to all sick leave benefits including Casual Sick Leave (CSL) and Extended Sick Leave (ESL) in addition to the ability under the Canada Labour Code, to take a COVID-19 related unpaid leave for up to 16 weeks, if you are unable or unavailable to work due to COVID-19.

Unifor has developed a section on its National Website dedicated to Covid-19. It contains helpful information regarding the virus and the workplace. Unifor Locals across the country are using this information to assist its members and work with employers. We invite you to refer to it regularly. It is updated continuously as new information becomes available. Here is the link: www.unifor.org/COVID19

Additionally, for employees requiring Child Care information we would direct you to the following topic and link: Information for Workers Associated with the Pandemic Response Who Need Child Care https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus/information-for-health-care-providers/information-for-workers-associated-with-the-pandemic-response-who-need-child-care

Members, please continue to practice physical distancing. The virus does not spread, it is people who spread the virus. Let’s all do our part in flattening the curve to ease the demand on healthcare workers.

For concerns please email your Chief Steward/Group Rep or Shop Steward.

Addresses can be found on the Local websites:

http://www.uniforlocal1s.ca/

http://www.uniforlocal2s.ca/


In Solidarity,

Penny and Dave


Message from Local 1-S & 2-S Presidents - COVID-19 - March 25, 2020

Good morning Unifor Local 1-S and 2-S members,

We are in some stressful and uncertain times where the unknown and anxiety levels are likely at an all time high. We hope to be a source of support for you through this time in relation to your workplace.

Unifor Local 1-S and 2-S are working with the Company to get through these difficult times. We are working through the CBA as well as the recommendations provided by the Saskatchewan Government and the Health Authority’s directives regarding this situation. As we saw last week, restrictions and direction are changing by the minute and we are working to keep up to date on the latest from all perspectives.

While we don’t always agree on everything proposed by our employer, we’re all in this together and Unifor Local 1-S and 2-S will continue to advocate for our members health and safety as this evolves and challenges arise.

We encourage you to have a look on the SaskTel internal website for company related directives, FAQ’s or general information.

When inquiring with your manager on anything related to this situation, please do so through email. This helps us understand the situation when we escalate it with the company.

Members, please practice physical distancing. The virus does not spread, it is people who spread the virus. Let’s all do our part in flattening the curve to ease the demand on healthcare workers.

For concerns please email your Chief Steward or Group Rep or Shop Steward.

Addresses can be found on the Local websites:

http://www.uniforlocal1s.ca/

http://www.uniforlocal2s.ca/


In Solidarity,

Penny and Dave

Message from Local 1-S & 2-S Presidents - COVID-19 - March 23, 2020

Hello Everyone,

We know many of you have questions regarding the workplace and Covid-19. Your Local Executive has been in repeated contact with the Company looking for answers to issues that come up on a daily basis. We are waiting for these answers and as we get responses we will communicate them out.

If you have concerns over supplies (ie hand sanitizer, gloves, masks, wipes…), work assignments, health issues for yourself or family, safe work assignments, child care, to name a few concerns, please inform the management team in your location. If you are not able to get satisfactory answers to your questions please forwarded them on to your shop steward, Chief-Steward/Group Rep, or Union representative on the Occupational Health and Safety Committee.

Unifor has developed a section on its National Website dedicated to Covid-19. It contains all sorts of helpful information regarding the virus and the workplace. Unifor Locals across the country are using this information to assist its members and work with employers. We invite you to refer to it regularly. It is updated continuously as new information becomes available. One such document is “Frequently asked Questions”, we have attached for your easy reference but please remember this document gets updated as needed. Here is the link:

https://www.unifor.org/en/take-action/campaigns/unifor-covid-19-information-resources?v=take_action

We have received a number of questions regarding refusing unsafe work. Below is a section from the “Frequently asked Questions” document regarding this topic:

Do employees have the right to refuse work if concerned about exposure to COVID-19?

Workers in Canada have the right to a healthy and safe work environment. Health and safety legislation requires employers to take reasonable steps to protect the health and safety of their employees. This may include responding to new and potentially hazardous situations, such as the COVID-19 virus.

In every jurisdiction in Canada, workers have the right to refuse work if they honestly and reasonably believe their health and safety is in danger in their workplaces; if they communicate this belief to their supervisors; and if the seriousness of the perceived danger justifies the work refusal.

Whether a work refusal is justified will largely depend on the facts. The measures that an employer takes to ensure a healthy and safe work environment will be taken into consideration and weighed against the potential risks to workers.

Workers should be cautioned that Tribunals and Arbitration Boards have largely sided with employers when workers have refused work over contagious infection concerns in the workplace. In Hogue-Burzynski v. VIA Rail Canada [2006] (https://www.canada.ca/en/occupational-health-and-safety-tribunal-canada/programs/decisions/archived/2006/ohstc-2006-015.html), four workers refused to work out of concerns that a train had not been cleaned properly following an outbreak of Norwalk virus or a similar illness. The Canada Occupational Health and Safety Tribunal determined that the employer’s efforts to sanitize the train, including disinfecting all hard surfaces and steam cleaning soft surfaces, were reasonably practicable to eliminate and control the risk of further illness.

The steps taken by your employer to limit the spread of COVID-19 will likely factor into whether a work refusal is considered reasonable. Such efforts might include:

• Installing hand sanitizer stations in high-traffic areas;

• Making hand sanitizer available in washrooms;

• Directing cleaning staff to sanitize high traffic surfaces and frequently-touched objects (door knobs, etc.);

• Reducing activities that require physical contact between workers and/or members of the public, if possible; and

• Recommending that employees wash their hands frequently; practice social distancing; and stay home from work if they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

The nature of your workplace may also factor into whether a work refusal is reasonable. In Hogue-Burzynski v. VIA Rail Canada [2006], the Health and Safety Officer who first investigated the work refusal determined the nature of the employee’s work involved inherent risk to exposure to illness by virtue of the fact that they serviced large numbers of the public on a daily basis. If your workplace regularly requires you to provide services to members of the public, including those who may be ill, or employs a large number of workers at the workplace at the same time, it may be determined that exposure to viral infection is a risk inherent to the workplace.

Your risk of serious complications from COVID-19 may also be relevant to the reasonableness of a work refusal. Health officials have warned that older individuals, those with certain conditions, such as lung or heart disease or individuals with suppressed immune systems are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. It is possible that individuals at greater risk will require heightened accommodation from employers.

---Covid-19 Flatten the Curve – Unifor – March 19, 2020

In Solidarity,

Penny and Dave

Bargaining Update - December 18, 2019 (Grievance)

Grievance Update

The grievance relating to the improper payments of wages and EDO concerns following the strike remains in place as we work through the grievance procedure. The Union and Company are in the process of agreeing to an arbitrator to hear the grievance.


In solidarity,

Your bargaining committees

Bargaining Update - November 15, 2019 (Ratification)

Sisters and Brothers,

We are pleased to announce the SaskTel Collective Agreement has been ratified by the membership.

Ratification votes took place from October 28 to November 14 across the province.

We want to thank members for their support of the bargaining committee and on the line throughout the bargaining process and strike/lockout.


In solidarity,

Your bargaining committees

Return to Work - EDO Information - October 23, 2019

Hi Everyone

As many of you are aware there is some uncertainty as to whether or not employees should receive their EDO October 25.

The Company has taken a position, that employees do not get an EDO on October 25. Needless to say, the Union is very disappointed with this decision and position the Company has taken. We have had conference calls and discussion with them over the last day to no avail.

We have had many reports from members who are upset after hearing this information and it appears to be having a negative impact on moral. This is a disappointing position for the Company to take on the first day back from a 17-day strike.

We are following up with our legal team as to what options are available.

As it stands right now please report to work on Friday.


In solidarity

Your Bargaining Committee

Bargaining Update - November 7, 2019 (Grievance)

Dear Unifor members,

As you know, upon the return to work following the strike, the company made some decisions regarding EDO’s for members, as well as claw-backs of pay for time worked and a number of other issues all relating to the return to work. We had discussions with the Company to try and resolve these issues. Unfortunately, they do not want to work things out for members at this time.

We have filed a grievance on the issue on October 31st, directly to the 3rd step of the grievance process stating the “the company erroneously interpreted the collective agreement regarding EDO entitlement/compensation for eligible employees upon return to work after strike/lockout.” The settlement desired is “Full redress as deemed appropriate by an arbitrator to any member who has had their Collective Agreement rights violated.”

We will keep you posted as to the progress and any updates to the grievance.


In solidarity,

Your bargaining committees

Return to Work - EDO Information - October 23, 2019

Hi Everyone,

Regarding the pay issues and EDO issues, our National Rep and Local Executive are working with SaskTel to ensure everyone’s pay and time off is accurate.

As we stated, please report to work on Friday.

Please stay tuned for further updates as we work through these issues.

In solidarity

Your Bargaining Committee