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President’s Update May 22

Posted in Unifor 5555

With the easing of some of the COVID-19 restrictions the seasonal temperatures are calling many of us outdoors to enjoy the sun.  However, most of us still aren’t back in our workplaces, and we don’t see a lot of movement on that at this point.

Our Unit 3 Parking Operations and Unit 6 Royal Canadian Legion Staff are still all off.  We are in contact with the employers to keep updated and will let members in those Units know information as soon as we have any news.

In Unit 5, our Trades groups have been able to return to their regular shift schedule, and while the transition on to, and off of, rotating shifts was not without challenges, we are glad to see us heading back to more normal operations.  Our custodial group continue to be the unsung heroes of campus.  Their cleaning protocols and schedules have changed in light of COVID-19 measures, so if you happen to see one, feel free to let them know how much we appreciate them keeping our campus clean, from a safe social distance of course.

Units 2 (RMA) continues very successfully to work remotely with an effective system for any required office time.  As medical practitioners and surgeries start ramping back up, we expect that they will be kept quite busy.  Bargaining for this Unit will be held off until later in the fall.  Their current Collective Agreement will stay in place until we are able to safely return to the bargaining table.

Unit 1 has worked through some departmental changes to hours, with some members being put on Declared Emergency Leave. The announcement of research activities being able to resume will provide changes for our members supporting research.  Through our discussions with the University this does not mean there will be a full and immediate return to campus.  There will be real consideration as to whether the work can be done remotely, or is required to be on-site.  Where on-site work is required, taking steps to promote wherever possible physical distancing will be encouraged.  As each workspace is unique, the solutions for each space will be as well.  If you have any concerns about the measures being implemented, you are encouraged to reach out to Sarah-Kai Antanaitis, Unit 1 Chair.

For those of you who continue to work from home, the Local was happy to have sponsored a webinar on how to help you set up your home office.  There is already some Health and Safety information now, and more information will be posted on our website and shared through our Health and Safety Touch-points, but we want to mention that OHCOW (Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers) is offering free ergonomic assessments of your home work space.  They can be done through a combination of email/pictures/phone or video conferencing.  You can email OHCOW at to get started.

If you require something to support your work from home, we recommend discussing it with your manager.  Depending on your work you may need equipment, or incur additional charges on your internet or cell phone bills.  The University has already indicated that internet or cell phone overage charges related to work would be reimbursed.  Office equipment (monitors, external keyboards, office supplies etc) that you may not have at home may be allowable if they are approved by your supervisor.

The United Way Hamilton Halton is having a Virtual Volunteer Day on May 27th in support of the Period Promise project.  The project on the 27th is to package menstrual hygiene kits to be shared with agencies serving those in need of those period products.  Details on how to arrange drop off/pick up of the kits, and to register you can visit the Virtual Volunteer Day registration page.  At our International Women’s Day Luncheon our Local committed to be an active supporter of the Period Promise campaign and hope that our members who are able to join can support his project.

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