ATU 583 Monthly Insights – February 2021 – Issue #1

As part of our efforts to expand our direct communications to the Membership this monthly newsletter will provide updates on a variety of items important to Members of Local 583. This endeavor is set to work in tandem with our established communications on Facebook, Telegram and our Website.

Are You In?

Workers at Calgary Transit & Fleet Services are coming together to demand a strong recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic. We work around the clock to keep Calgary moving, but that’s not all we do. We are liaisons, ambassadors, and the face of our city.

We are building our power by asking all the employees of Calgary Transit & Fleet Services the same question:

Are You In? To stand with your coworkers to support a progressive slate of City Council candidates in October’s civic election, to protect our bargaining rights, resist the anti-labour tactics of the present city council, and to ensure that we are the workers that continue to provide the service of Calgary Transit and the City of Calgary.

To stand with your coworkers by joining the campaign for a strong contract that will strengthen our communities and our transit system in Calgary.

Your active participation in the campaign matters. The first step is to show YOU ARE IN by naming the main workplace concern you want to see fixed and signing your name on a pledge. You can get a hard copy from a Steward in the workplace or go to bit.ly/583PLEDGE

T4s and Tax Time

It’s that time of year again. HR Connect should now have all T4s uploaded. Our laid off Members will be receiving theirs by mail. If you would like a hard copy of your T4 and are unable to print it yourself, one must be provided to you. If you have trouble in this regard, contact the office and we will assist you.

Pink Shirt Day

February 24, 2021 is Pink Shirt Day in Canada, also known as Anti-Bullying Day. Started by two high school students in Nova Scotia who came to the defense of a fellow student being bullied for wearing a pink shirt, the spirit of that action is now embodied in Canadians across the country who wear pink on this day to publicly express their anti-bullying stance.

Calgary Transit has relaxed the uniform regulations to allow employees to wear a sleeved, solid colour pink shirt without logos or branding. So please join us in Pink Shirt Day and feel free to email a photo of yourself participating to jacinda@atu583.com for an upcoming website article.

Duty of Fair Representation

One of a union’s biggest responsibilities is Duty of Fair Representation. Often you might hear opinions based around a union protecting workers who “don’t deserve it”. It is in fact a union’s legal obligation to represent each and every member without bias. It is the employer who decides whether or not someone is doing their job satisfactorily – that is not the role of the Local. It is also one of the reason’s we seek legal counsel on arbitrations. We obtain an opinion from an outside source with labour legality knowledge to inform us if they think we have a case at arbitration. Ultimately though, it is the membership who would decide if a grievance is taken to that step.

In the eyes of the union, all workers deserve equal representation and as above, are legally bound to provide exactly that.

OSIRT – Operator Safety Integrated Review Team

OSIRT meets monthly to discuss Code Blues happening at Calgary Transit. This process has been in effect for approximately three years and ATU 583 has two representatives that attend. The main purpose of OSIRT is to prevent assaults on our Members.

When a CT employee is assaulted at work a review is conducted. Available audio and video are reviewed as well as the employee’s occurrence report and any notes from PSE/CPS and supervisors. The main discussion is centered around whether the Code Blue could have been prevented.

The final step in the process is to review with the employee. This can include going over Bus Operating Rules and Procedures as well as what the discussion around the Code Blue entailed. We have made recommendations that include a new explanation of Operator’s responsibilities towards fare collection. As a reminder, please ensure you do not enforce fares, this is for your own safety which is our main concern. Please watch for the changes which should be coming shortly.

2020 numbers are that 70 Code Blues occurred, a slight increase from 2019’s 65. However, in 2020 buses, trains etc. were only at about 50% capacity compared to 2019, so these numbers remain extremely concerning.

American Income Life

It has come to our attention that American Income Life (AIL) agents have been calling our Members and representing themselves as employees of ATU Local 583. This is not the case. ATU Local 583 has previously had a working arrangement with AIL to provide our Members with a free $4,000 accidental death and dismemberment benefit which requires no action from the Member to activate. You simply have this benefit by being a Member of Local 583. We periodically would mail out a returnable information card with additional AIL benefits, should the Member choose to further investigate those. We have let AIL know these actions are completely inappropriate and must cease immediately. If you receive such a call and are not interested in purchasing additional insurance please tell them you are not interested and to remove your number from their system for any impending follow ups.

SCMI – Standing Committee on Maintenance Issues

ATU 583 has two representatives on this committee which meets monthly and is focused on ongoing issues with the Maintenance and Fleet departments.
The most recent meeting included discussion on installation of a more permanent Shuttle shield. As most of you are likely aware, the more permanent type of shield is almost complete on all Conventional Buses. As such, the focus has shifted to CS where the temporary shields are not up to snuff and need to be upgraded. We meet again this week and discussions are ongoing.

Political Action Committee

Our Local PAC continues to be active in a multitude of ways, not the least of which is in an effort to make Members aware of our previously discussed Are You In campaign as a tie in to this year’s civic elections.

As many of you may already be aware, our City Council is largely not labour friendly. This is problematic in many ways, but most especially because they have continuously voiced their desire to contract out any work they can. Regardless of how damaging it can be. Regardless of the safety risks to their own constituents. Regardless of any actual proof that they have in fact, saved money.

Each and every one of our Members stands to benefit from a more labour friendly Council. Calgary in general stands to benefit because a robust city needs civil servants who actually want to improve life for the citizens.

Any Members interested in sitting on the Local 583 Political Action Committee are asked to email their interest to jacinda@atu583.com where it will be taken to Executive Board for approval.

This is going to be a busy year for Local 583. As always, we remain available to any Members who require assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to the office at 403-258-1258 Ext 0.

Is there something you’d like us to discuss? Let us know by emailing our admin jacinda@atu583.com

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