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March 27, 2020

As promised that we would share new information as soon as we have it, please see this Bulletin #3 regarding COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

Last night, Union Executive and the City reached an LOU that will outline the next steps in regards to employment of CUPE 498 members during this extremely unique time.  The City has laid out a wage protection plan for the next six weeks for all regular staff.  Casual staff could not be included in this LOU.  This LOU was reached based on similar LOUs signed with the cities of Vancouver, Surrey and Delta and was negotiated with the intent to protect the whole as best as we can during this difficult time.  We understand everyone is worried about the safety of their current work, their position and their seniority and we believe we have reached the best plan going forward.

How does the wage protection plan work?

At the point a regular parttime or fulltime employee are no longer working as a result of the displacement from the City’s response to COVID-19, you will be provided with 42 calendar days of wage protection.

From the first day of displacement to the 21st day (three weeks) you will be paid all typical hours you would work at 100% of your wage.  From day 22 to day 42 (another three weeks) you will be paid all typical hours you would work at 75% of your wage.

How is it decided who is displaced?

City management is working to determine in their areas where there is no longer meaningful work due to shut downs around COVID-19.  Please know that everyone is working together to limit the amount of people who will be displaced but at this point, it is inevitable that meaningful work will run out for some.

Can I bump someone if I am displaced?

No, this is not like any situation anyone has faced before.  There will be areas that may be more affected than others and that is unfortunate but at this time, if there is no meaningful work to be found and you are displaced, you will go onto the wage protection plan.  Please note if you think you are being displaced unfairly or unjustly to speak to any of the Union executive for advice on your specific situation.

What is essential service?

Essential service in this time is not based on the Labour Relations Board definition as most of you know it.  Essential services during this crisis is being guided by Provincial Health outlines.  It is more of a reduced services framework as opposed to essential services.

This LOU says this is temporary. When will it end?

This LOU is meant to address the changing landscape of our work environment as a result of COVID-19. As soon as the Provincial Medical Health Office determines the COVID 19 outbreak is substantially resolved, the City or Union can terminate the participation with 10 days’ notice or mutual agreement.

If my manager wants to assign me duties outside of my job specification, can I refuse?

Only if the work is unsafe in accordance with the Occupational Health & Safety Regulations. Otherwise, employees are encouraged to be as flexible as possible regarding the assignment of work. The landscape has changed regarding the work we do and how we do it. We are asking employees to work with their managers to ensure any concerns of employees assuming additional duties are discussed and addressed in a timely manner.

How will I be compensated if I’m being asked to do different work outside of my classification?

Managers will do their best to ensure that employees are not being asked to carry out work that is beyond current specification, capability or knowledge. Employees will continue to be compensated at the rate of pay they are currently working at in their home position. The higher level work will not have any impact to the job evaluation process or attract higher/different level of pay as a result.

If I am being asked to perform higher level work normally carried out by someone in a higher classification, will I be given the appropriate rate of pay for that higher level work?

As with the above question, individual tasks meant to supplement someone’s duties in order to keep them fully employed will be at their normal rate of pay. If an employee is being asked to assume a higher level position, and not just a few different duties, then yes, the employee will be compensated at the higher rate of pay, as would normally be the case. The caveat is that the work should still be required and meaningful to the City’s operations.

How does the LOU affect callout and standbys?

At this point, there is no change in members who work callouts or standby shifts.

Will workers receive overtime pay if they work beyond their daily or weekly scheduled hours?

Overtime provisions will continue to be applied if employees are working full shifts (7 hours/day or 35 hours/week for Inside and 8 hours/day or 40 hours/week for Outside).

This is the first Q&A bulletin with answers to what would be the most asked questions, if you have any specific questions, please contact anyone of us.  We will be sending another update early next week to address more questions as they come up.

Again, please remember to take care of yourselves, your loved ones and reach out and help to others where you are able.  The more we work together, the quicker we can get to the end of this crisis.

In Solidarity,

CUPE 498 Executive


President Bob Smejkal 604-209-6375 604-834-1498
1st Vice President Les Nerdahl 604-927-5485 604-788-5429
2nd Vice President &

Chief Shop Steward

Ron Narayan 604-927-5492 604-842-4980
Treasurer Sheryl Savage 604-927-7901 604-420-1600
Secretary Tammy Graham 604-927-5309 604-817-9209
G.V.P. Roy Savage 604-927-5422 604-220-8127
G.V.P. James Bobick   604-833-2578
G.V.P Mark Grasby 604-927-5438 604-312-0719
Sergeant @ Arms Rick Williams