Our President has been involved in daily teleconferences with senior members of the Treasury Board and the RCMP. There are several key topics including working conditions and occupational health and safety. As part of the National Joint Council (NJC), our Union has a voice at all of these meetings along with other bargaining agents currently representing employees of all federal government departments, which includes the RCMP.
As part of the NJC and also as part of the RCMP National Occupational Health and Safety Policy committees, we have been advocating on many fronts.
- We have raised concerns about the lack of communication from RCMP management as well as the inconsistent application of Treasury Board and RCMP directives. We are pleased to see that this is improving.
- We are continuing to push to ensure that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is ready and available to our members, if needed.
- We are trying to ensure availability of high demand hygiene items such as hand sanitizer and wipes.
- We are ensuring Telecom Operators and Intercept Monitors are included in Business Continuity Planning at all levels because disruptions to the critical functions performed by our members would have significant impacts on public safety and emergency response.
It is very important that everyone follows the guidance and advice from federal / provincial / territorial health authorities. The Public Health Agency of Canada has excellent information and updates available on its website – https://www.canada.ca/covid-19.
Anyone who has travelled out of the country needs to self isolate for 14 days. This includes all of our members. We are not exempted from this. If your manager is telling you to come to work anyway, please contact your Steward and/or Regional Chairperson for assistance.
We are all driven and dedicated to our work and often feel compelled to go to work when sick so that we do not “let our co-workers down” or “have them run short”. Please consider the bigger picture and try looking at it from another perspective. If one person goes in sick, the potential is there to make others sick, and so on. Although the intention may be good, this has the possibility to significantly decrease available staffing resources or even wipe out an entire workplace. Staying home when you are sick will actually help the staffing and workload situation.
At this point, management should be providing extra hand sanitizer, wipes, and tissues. They should be arranging your work site so that you are all working a safe distance away from each other.
These are some examples of management actions that are reasonable and encouraged:
- Reduce or restrict communal items, such as magazines.
- Reduce staffing levels to the minimum required to maintain critical operations.
- Have employees work from home, if they are able and it makes sense.
The following are examples of actions that, at this point in time, are not reasonable:
- Restricting employees from eating at their workstations.
- Advising sick employees to come to work.
- Advising employees in self-isolation to come to work if they are feeling fine.
- Asking employees to provide a doctor’s note.
Things are changing on a daily basis. It is possible that some of us may be redeployed to ensure critical operations across the country. It is also possible for leave to be cancelled and / or restricted further. There are provisions in RCMP policy and the TC collective agreement that deal with re-deployments as well as leave cancellations. If you have travel plans or have booked / paid for vacations over the next while, now is the time to review the applicable policies and articles in the collective agreement to be aware of your responsibilities as well as the responsibilities of the employer in these situations.
Please continue to let your Steward or Regional Chairperson know of any issues at your work site. If there are unreasonable requests or directives coming from management, we will work to resolve them.
These are uncertain times and things are changing on an hourly basis. Thank you all for your flexibility and dedication to keeping Canadians safe. We will get through this together.
Executive contacts – https://104.cupe.ca/contacts/
Contact us – https://104.cupe.ca/contact-us/