Unit 1 Ratification Meeting – Dec 7th, 8th, and 9th!

Unit 1 Contract Ratification Meeting  The proposed changes to the Unit 1 collective agreement will guide our working conditions for the next three years.   3 options to attend:  December 7th at 4 pm, in person at Plaza 600F Our end of term social will follow the in person meeting!  December 8th at 5 pm, virtually Please register in advance by going to 4207.cupe.ca  December 9th at 1 pm, virtually Please register in advance by going to 4207.cupe.ca

The proposed changes to the Unit 1 collective agreement will guide our working conditions for the next three years. Come learn about the deal, discuss, & vote! 

3 options to attend:

December 7th at 4 pm, in person at Plaza 600F

– Our end of term social will follow the presentation, discussion, and vote! ALL 4207 members are invited to the social, not just Unit 1!

December 8th at 5 pm, virtually

– Please register in advance by clicking https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYqduisrj4oGtAb7atnN3nvsa7HWWLGBWNd

December 9th at 1 pm, virtually

– Please register in advance by clicking https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpdu6qrz4oHNeSst9zfnRKBd27H3FK2lQ1

You can only vote once, so do not register if you voted in person and please only register for one meeting.

TAs are exploited by out of touch, privileged university bureaucrats

TAs are mainly responsible for teaching freshman students. They are de facto instructors: running seminars, answering emails, marking a bulk of student’s works as well as furthering their own expertise in their given subject of study. TAs are necessary and their jobs are closer to the essence of the university than, say, a pool of admin making six-figure salaries.

OPIRG Brock Anti-Racism Sponsorship Fund

After many years of planning and 2 years of fundraising, OPIRG Brock is excited to finally be launching OPIRG Brock’s Anti-Racism Sponsorship Fund!

As part of our Anti-Racism Action Plan, we have created the Anti-Racism Sponsorship Fund to reduce financial barriers for individuals or organizations who are pursuing anti-racism projects, events, initiatives, research, or campaigns in Niagara. All students and community members primarily residing, working, or going to school in the Niagara Region are welcome to apply. This fund reflects our mandate to prioritize and increase opportunities for Black people, Indigenous people, people of colour, racialized people, melanated people, and people of the global majority in Niagara.

Currently, the maximum amount available per application is $250. Funds for applications are limited, so we cannot guarantee all applications will be funded. If you are interested in supporting and continuing this work, visit opirgbrock.com/donate!

To apply and find out more including eligibility requirements, priority funding groups, and what qualifies for funding, visit www.opirgbrock.com/anti-racism-fund

OPIRG Brock’s October 2022 Update

Annual General Meeting – October 25, 2022 (online)

It’s that time of year! OPIRG Brock’s AGM will be taking place online Tuesday, October 25 at 6pm. We will hear from some community groups, have a year-in-review, and hold our Board elections! We hope to see you there!

To RSVP and find out more about the AGM, click here.

CUPE Members – Claim your 2022 OPIRG Brock Membership!

As a member of CUPE 4207, you are automatically an OPIRG Brock member! You just have to claim your membership. This will allow you to run for the OPIRG Brock Board of Directors, and vote in the board elections!

  • To run in the Board election, you must claim your membership (and submit your application) is October 5th.
  • To vote in the election, you must claim your membership by October 12th.

Renew or register your membership using the 2022 Membership Form. Additional details can be found at www.opirgbrock.com/membership.

Action Group Updates

 Niagara Tenants Union has launched a new Bad Landlord Reporting Form!

Use the Bad Landlord Reporting Form to share your experiences with bad landlords in Niagara. Need support or want to get involved with Niagara Tenants Union? Email them at niagaratenantsunion@gmail.com

Volunteer with Justice for Workers Niagara!

Justice for Workers Niagara is currently working on a long term campaign to secure two weeks paid sick leave for all employees at Brock! We are in need of volunteers and organizers to join the fight for decent work and fair wages at Brock and across Niagara.

Volunteering opportunities include everything from campus research to partnership building. To get involved, please email fairwagesniagara@gmail.com or DM them on their Instagram or Facebook page!

 Niagara Reproductive Justice

NRJ is raising funds to help folks in Niagara access abortion support!

See their fundraiser here or donate directly to them via e-transfer at niagarareproductivejustice@gmail.com.

Community Knowledge Sharing Tools:

If you see anti-choice activity in Niagara, please fill out NRJ’s Anti-Choice Activity in Niagara Reporting Form to help monitor and challenge anti-choice activity in the region. As part of this effort, they are also looking for volunteers for their Rapid Response Network!

Share your experiences with reproductive and sexual health resources in Niagara at https://bit.ly/sharewithNRJ and find a list of Niagara-based reproductive and sexual health resources on NRJ’s website.

To get in touch about volunteering, and to access or provide support, email NRJ at niagarareproductivejustice@gmail.com

Resources, organizations and campaigns to check out:

Check out OPIRG Brock website main page for an up-to-date list of webinars, online events, petitions, fundraisers & rallies, and https://www.opirgbrock.com/community-groups for community groups to check out and support!

Local Provincial, Federal and international campaigns & resources to check out:

Shop OPIRG Brock’s Anti-Capitalist Gift List for rad gifts for activists!

Why partnership with OPIRG Brock?

All CUPE 4207 members are members of OPIRG Brock! This campus and community organization has been working on social, economic, and environmental justice since 1988, and currently hosts projects like the Niagara Free Store, Naloxone Workshops, the Community Toolbox Workshop Series, as well as publishing The DisOrientation Guide to Niagara V. 2. OPIRG Brock also works directly with community groups like Justice for Workers Niagara, Niagara Reproductive Justice, & the Niagara Tenants Union. For more information or to inquire about getting involved, please go to www.opirgbrock.com

As a CUPE 4207 member, you also have access to an OPIRG Brock annual membership! Working on a range of social, economic, and environmental justice initiatives at Brock and throughout the Niagara region since 1988, starting in mid-2020, the CUPE 4207 membership passed a motion to set up a more formal partnership between our 2 organizations!

OPIRG Brock currently hosts and supports a wide range of programs in the region and community groups in the region, as well as publishing community-based resources that are available for free on their website: www.opirgbrock.com.

The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work

The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work

If you find yourself in a situation when you genuinely believe that if the workplace is unsafe or if you are in danger, you have the right to refuse unsafe work under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Follow these steps:

  1. Stop work and move to a safe location.
  2. Inform you supervisor and/or Chair. Carbon copy or inform in a separate email the Local and Health & Safety Officer: info@cupe4207.org & healthandsafety@cupe4207.org
  3. The supervisor may agree and rectify the situation. Inform your co-workers of the danger.
  4. If the supervisor does not agree, inform the Local immediately. An investigation will then be conducted involving the supervisor and a union representative.
    1. If the investigation finds the workplace unsafe, the employer must remedy the situation immediately. You cannot be asked to return to the area until this is completed.
    2. If the investigation finds it safe and you disagree, inform your supervisor. They must contact the Ministry of Labour to conduct an investigation.
  5. At the conclusion of the investigation, the Ministry may write an order for the employer to remedy the situation or order you to return to work.

It should be noted that the employer may assign you alternate duties or worksite during this period.

If you genuinely believe that your work is unsafe, you cannot be disciplined for refusing work. However, the decision of the Ministry of Labour investigator is final (barring an appeal to the Ontario Labour Relations Board); refusing to return to work if ordered to after the Ministry investigation may result in discipline.

COVID-19

While there no guarantee of complete safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Labour has consistently ruled that COVID-19 on its own does not constitute an unsafe work environment. You would need to demonstrate that the employer is not complying with provincial standards. You can do this with keeping records and documentation.

If a student becomes belligerent after repeated attempts to comply with a mask mandate, you have the right to stop work and remove yourself from the situation. Let your supervisor and the union know as soon as possible.

There are limitations of the right to refuse work in the context of COVID-19. The right to refuse work is done on an individual basis and relies on standards set by the Ministry of Labour. This means that members cannot legally enact a work refusal in solidarity with other colleagues who are facing unsafe working conditions. It also means that, if the province enacts unreasonable policies, this is the standard against which a Ministry inspector would judge your claim of unsafe work. Despite these limits, if you believe your work is unsafe, you should exercise your right to refuse unsafe work immediately.

(Source: CUPE 3903)

The Impact of COVID-19 on Black women

Open Zoom Meeting: The Impact of COVID-19 on Black women

The CUPE Ontario Women’s and Racial Justice Committees are pleased to invite you to an open Zoom meeting on the impact of COVID-19 on Black Women on February 23rd at 6:30 p.m.

The meeting will last 1 hour and 30 minutes.

We want all women in CUPE Ontario to share their stories about how they were impacted by the pandemic, including the vaccine rollout.

We will be joined by the following community groups:

• Caribbean African Canadian Social Services (CAFCAN)
• Tropicana Community Services
• Jamaican Canadian Association
• Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses

The event will be facilitated by Chris Leonard, a community worker who provides training on grief, loss, resiliency, and restorative practices.

Register Here!

Open Letter to the University Communit

CUPE 4207
MCC 402 – 1812 Sir Isaac Brock Way
St. Catharines, ON
L2S 3A1

Open Letter to the University Community

Since returning to in person classes, there have been issues the Brock Administration has ignored. The University is simply not prepared to provide a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff.

Unlike the last time we had moved to in-person classes, the environment has changed. The Omicron variant is far more contagious than Delta and vaccines are less effective in protecting someone from this new strain. Why then would the University be moving headlong to in-person learning using the strategies developed to combat the Delta variant? For an institution of higher learning, this poorly considered strategy exposes the Brock community to unnecessary risks.

Representing over 1000 academic staff, our members are engaged in a significant percentage of direct, face-to-face interactions with students. Given the vantage point of our members, we see the university from a different perspective, which the Senior Administration does not recognize. We have attempted to raise concerns from both members and students and are given vague statements about following public health guidelines.

Our members continue to flag problems with the approach taken by the Administration. These include:

  • Access to better masks not just for our members but for the entire University community.

While the most recent shift in policy was to require staff to wear medical grade masks, our members are calling on the Administration to provide higher quality masks, up to and including fitted N95 masks. Further, the mask requirements need to be universal. Students only need to wear a mask, which includes ineffective cloth masks. There is only a recommendation to use three-ply masks or better. Public health officials are recommending that individuals should opt for the highest quality mask available, but that is not the policy at Brock.

  • Capping class size to provide for greater social distancing in cramped rooms.

For some spaces, especially seminars in Mackenzie Chown, over 20 people are crammed into spaces that comfortably fit 15. Members consistently report sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in tight quarters with no consideration for the safety of students and staff.

  • Stronger enforcement of policies.

For staff, it is mandatory to complete the screening app before coming onto campus. Results need to be forwarded to our supervisors. For students, it is voluntary and there are no requirements to notify anyone that they are completing the screening. For visitors, there are no restrictions save for a sign in the main entrance, which is often bypassed. There needs to be enforcement of policies and not a reliance on voluntarism.

  • The ability to teach online for those at risk and for those living with individuals who are at risk.

While some members would prefer in-person classes, others are more apprehensive and would opt for more online classes while COVID cases remain high and hospitals at capacity.

  • Better communication policies and protocol for informing Instructors, teaching assistants, marker-graders, lab demonstrators – plus faculty and staff – of CoVid exposure.

We are not notified effectively, safely, consistently, or with any kind of urgency when our members have been exposed to a CoVid case or have an active case in their classroom. Many of our members work in different departments and faculties across campus, and we are expected to ‘carry-on’ despite the possibility and likelihood of spreading the virus.

In the end, the Senior Administration needs to listen to those teaching students. We now find ourselves not only working to enhance the education of our students, but also to ensure their safety. Although the Administration would contend that extending online education would disrupt the education of our students, the same could be said for a premature return that will have significant ramifications should outbreaks occur on campus. We urge caution to avoid this and encourage Senior Administration to put stronger measures in place that will ensure the health and safety of all its employees, students, and the broader Niagara community.

For more information, please email info@cupe4207.org or contact Nathan Cecckin, President, at president@cupe4207.org

The Executive Committee
CUPE 4207