ATU 583 Monthly Insights – June 2021 – Issue #4

ATU 583 Family Picnic – Cancellation

Despite the City pushing the re-opening of Calgary in time for Stampede, the Executive Board – after much discussion – has officially decided to cancel the Family Picnic. We feel it is simply not safe enough to gather in such a large group, especially with the Delta variant and the unknowns surrounding it.

The Executive Board has however decided to go ahead with a virtual bike draw! One of the biggest highlights of our annual Picnic! Information on how to enter and where will be posted on union bulletin boards and all of our usual social media places soon. So, stay tuned!

Covid Tracking Information

Saturday May 1, 2021 Alberta recorded a new daily high for reported Covid 19 cases (2433). This after the previous high was set only days prior on April 29, 2021 (2048). A sure sign we need to still be cognizant of hand washing and sanitizing as well as wearing masks when in public/shared spaces.

As of June 24, 2021 Alberta has administered 4,022,084 doses of the Covid 19 vaccine for those aged 12 and over. This equates to approximately 71.3% of the aged 12+ provincial population having at least one dose of the vaccine.

Internal Calgary Transit tracking as of June 22, 2021 has active cases at 25, close contacts at CT at 239 and recoveries at 149.

For those interested in weekly CT Covid reports – we post them in our Telegram group which all Members in good standing are welcome to join. Please text Harry Lew your full name and phone number at 403-404-4564 to be added.

Wrestling with the Truth of Colonization

This was 5 evening courses offered free of charge by the Calgary Alliance for the Common Good, an organization that Local 583 is affiliated with. This coincided well with June being Indigenous History month in Canada.

The course gave an introduction to understanding the history of settlement in North America, through the eyes of the indigenous peoples and how that correlates with indigenous experience today.

It is important that everyone, including unions and their members, understand the brutal truth of our country’s founding and the exploitation therein. This extends through to today – with intergenerational trauma being experienced by indigenous populations.

Very current examples of this are the findings of several mass unmarked grave sites of Indigenous children who were forcibly put in residential schools across Canada. One found last month in Kamloops, BC had 215 children’s remains found. That residential school ran into the late 1970’s. The other, found only days ago, is a mass site of unmarked (mainly) children’s remains found 87 miles east of Regina, Saskatchewan on the grounds of another residential school. Obviously, these finding are highly disturbing and go a long way in confirming what many indigenous survivors of these schools have long suspected.

Appropriately, the Federal government of Canada has announced that each year, September 30th will be the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

You might be wondering what this issue has to do with Local 583. The reality of it is, respect and compassion are huge parts of unionism. Unions stand for the fair treatment of all and part of that is facing hard truths. Our members deal with all different populations while at work and a broader understanding can only serve to benefit us all.

This course is set to be available again in the fall so if you are interested contact to be put on a waitlist.

Alberta Federation of Labour Conference

The AFL Conference was just held virtually this past May. As a Local we endorsed Gil McGowan for President and Karen Kuprys for Secretary-Treasurer and we are pleased to say they were both successful in their campaigns.

We had a full delegation in attendance and were able to participate throughout the entire conference. The AFL has a lot of critical work ahead of it with the attacks on our working conditions by the Kenney government. But they are up to the fight! We have representatives at the AFL and will continue to participate in the challenges against employment standards, our pensions and organized labour in its entirety.

Retirements and Vacation Matching

Something we are getting a lot of questions on in the office is regarding the City vacation match at retirement.

Many members have inquired after receiving incorrect information that unless they retire before December 31, 2021, they will not receive the vacation match referred to as a “Retirement Allowance”. This information is not factually correct.

What we have received from the city is a standard estoppel letter declaring their intent to remove the benefit. What is clear is that this will occur on the latter of two occasions: either December 31, 2021 if we have signed a new agreement or at the time we do sign one. This means if, for example, we don’t have a new agreement in July of 2022, the benefit is still available. Any information to the contrary is simply untrue.

The Negotiations Committee of Local 583 intends to fight to maintain this benefit during negotiations. We have targeted September 2021 as a timeline for our first meeting with the employer to begin the negotiations process.

If you ever have any retirement related questions please do not hesitate to reach out to an Officer. We are more than happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have

Northwest Conference of ATU

Covid-19 restrictions threw a wrench in the works of the 2021 Northwest Conference. It was originally scheduled to be held in Kelowna June 16th – 20th, this year. Because restrictions remained in place, last minute arrangements needed to be made.

ATU Local 583 was proud to step up as an option for many of the prairie Locals. We managed to book the Palliser hotel as both a place for out-of-town guests to stay and for the conference to be broadcast to us all as a group. The Palliser was the perfect venue and worked with us to ensure all restrictions and safety guidelines were not only met but exceeded. We had nothing but wonderful feedback from the Locals we hosted out of Edmonton, Lethbridge, Regina and Saskatoon. It was our honour to be able to be there for our Sisters and Brothers.

The NWC is an education conference and there was a lot of excellent information regarding public safety on transit as well as mental health in the workplace with a heavy focus on PTSD and the effects that has on our members and their families.

As always if there is an item of interest that you would like the Local to discuss in an upcoming issue of Monthly Insights, please reach out to us at

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