President’s Report March 2018

What has been going on in my union life since the AGM?

We were immediately faced with problems caused by the former treasurer’s retaining the financial records instead of handing them over.  I procured new cheques to enable us to continue to pay our bills.  The records were finally handed over on January 15th after a registered demand letter was sent by our CUPE Rep.  The records appeared to be in generally good order.

I spent a good deal of time talking to the CRA clearing up the problems caused by the fact that the former treasurer used the wrong business number on the December 2017 remittance.  I do not know how this happened but happen it did.

Although the bylaws require the treasurer to provide an up-dated financial report before the end of his term, the former treasurer provided records only until the end of November.  I updated the records to the end of December and have kept them up-to-date since then.

Once I acquired the responsibility, I made sure that we made the correct contributions to CUPE National and CUPE Saskatchewan.  We have been underpaying for years if not decades.  The reason is that our contribution must be calculated on the basis of the total wages earned by our members, the only figure the employer provides us with is the total of dues deducted, and, although our bylaws say that the dues are 2%, the employer has been collecting only 1.857%, which fact we learned late last year.  Using the 2% figure when the 1.857% figure should be used results in an underestimate of the total wages earned.

I searched our files to see if there was some explanation for the difference between what the employer collected and what the employer should have collected but found nothing.  I asked the employer if they knew why but it seems always to have been the case as far as they can tell.  Consequently, I have informed the employer that our dues are 2%.  This means that the correct amount will be deducted henceforth.

I transferred the financial records for 2017 to the trustees on February 16th.   They are doing their job, which is determining whether the financial records are in fact in good order.  I also filled out the T4s and the T4 summary.   I did not follow the former treasurer’s guidelines but used the approach preferred by CUPE National.  As interesting as it has been, I am looking forward to the election of a new treasurer.

The proposed amendment to the bylaws requiring people to recuse themselves if they apply for grants has been approved by CUPE National.  It is now in force.  Consequently, we have pre-empted the possibility of the kind of conflicts of interest that we previously had to deal with on an ad hoc basis.

The by-laws committee has met and has proposed changes to the by-laws, which the entire executive will discuss on the 22nd.  Many of the changes will bring us into line with standard practice in other locals, and in our provincial and national bodies.

On February 9th, we finally achieved a settlement in our dismissal case, which started two and a half years ago and which we won at arbitration last year.  The research I did prior to the meeting may have helped.

We had a union-management meeting on March 6th, at which I raised fourteen issues, some of which were old and some new.

Among the fourteen, there was the office issue.  As you may know, there has been a change in personnel on the employer’s side.  I will meet with the individual now in charge of the matter on Friday the 16th.   I had discussed the issue in mid-December but the discussion did not lead to any action, which is why I am having the new meeting.  In addition to dealing with existing offices, I am interested in working on the issue of people without offices on campus and on the issue of compensation for people for whom campus offices are not a benefit.

Your vice-president and I will be discussing issues connected with envelope funding with other interested parties in the near future.  This is probably the most important issue we face.

I attended the CUPE Sask convention last week.  You can see a picture of me with one of our members, MLA Vicki Mowat (Saskatoon Fairview), on our Facebook page.

We have a special members’ meeting on Monday the 12th of March.  The meeting is the result of a members’ petition, which was apparently organized by our former treasurer.  Once a petition has been received, the by-laws require me to call a meeting immediately and to give 24 hours’ notice.  Monday is the next business day after the receipt of the petition last Friday, which satisfies the immediacy requirement.  It is also the only day our CUPE rep has free for some time.  Unfortunately, it is impossible to get a place on campus at such short notice, so it is at the local CUPE office.  Other meetings of the local have been held there, albeit not a members’ meeting, so there is precedent for using the facility.

The upshot is that issues and difficulties continue to arise, continue to be addressed, and continue to be resolved.