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President’s Update June 5th

Posted in Unifor 5555


We appreciate that there has been a lot of information flowing out from us this week, and will try to keep our update relatively short in light of that.

LTD Referendum

For our members who participate in the LTD plan, you should have received an email this morning with voting instructions.  There was a typo in that email indicating that the vote closes July 12th.  The LTD referendum actually closes JUNE 12th at 12:00 noon.

The vote is open today, though we do hope members will take the time to attend one of the virtual town halls we are hosting next week on the topic.  Details on the town halls were sent in previous communications but can also be found on our LTD Referendum Page on our website.  If you are unable to attend one of the town halls, the web page also has a lot of relevant information.  If you have any questions relating to the LTD referendum, please email Beth Couchman, President.

If you did not receive an email with voting instructions, or you are having any technical difficulties, please email Emily Heikoop, Vice-President.

COVID-19 Financial Supports

This week Beth Couchman, President, and Sarah-Kai Antanaitis, Unit 1 Chair, attended the Hamilton Wage Subsidy and Government Response Consultation.  In attendance were Honourable Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity and the Associate Minister of Finance, Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour and MP for Hamilton West, and Bob Bratina, MP for Hamilton East.  Beth was the first speaker to have an opportunity to tell the federal government how the supports they have implemented, like the CEWS program, is failing University workers.  Universities, being publicly funded, are excluded from accessing these supports, but are being hit with the same financial implications as any other institution.  She was able to advocate that those supports be expanded to include workers in post-secondary institutions like ours and not just to private colleges.

Education Opportunities-Combating Racism and Women in the Union

Unifor National continues to add courses weekly to their webinar series.  Two that are coming up next week are particularly relevant right now.  One is on How the COVID-19 Pandemic is impacting women in the Union.  A number of us attended this session and found the information to be very interesting and relevant. The other is Working Together for Racial Justice.  As we watched the events unfold in the US, it is easy to pat ourselves on the back for not having the same issues here in Canada.  However, while we may not see it ourselves, we do have the same problems here at home.  The first step to combating racism is to listen and learn from the communities it harms.  Information on these, and other Unifor webinars can be found on our site’s Education post as well as on the Unifor National’s Online Education Page.

Our Local has also been asked if we were going to make a statement regarding the events of last week.  Rather than reiterate what has already been said, often more powerfully than we could, we want to declare our support for the statement put out by Unifor National.  For our Black, Indigenous and racialized workers, we encourage you to reach out to the Local or to our AWOC (Aboriginal and Workers of Colour Committee at if you need support or have suggestions as to how we can improve the ways we are supporting all our members.

Return to the Worksite

As the cautious return to campus is on-going, we are seeing changes and increases to on-site work spaces.  This is covered more fully in the upcoming Health and Safety Touch-point but it is worth reiterating that members should be communicating with their managers about any attendance to the work-space.  We will update the membership as details develop. If you have concerns or questions, your Unit Chair is your best point of contact.

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