Chronic staff shortage in RCMP 911 & Dispatch Centers is putting Canadians’ safety at risk

CUPE COMMUNIQUÉ  –  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 17, 2022     

 

OTTAWA – “As first responders, our RCMP telecom operators are the public’s first point of contact in an emergency. They make sure RCMP officers and other emergency services can intervene rapidly when Canadians need help. At least, this is the theory,” said Kathleen Hippern, president of CUPE Local 104.

“The daily reality is much more frightening. Chronic short staffing in Operational Communications Centers across the country is putting public safety at risk. The RCMP has not retained nor hired enough staff required for these critical operations,” added Hippern.

When time is of the essence in a critical situation, Canadians are often waiting long minutes before someone is available to answer their call for help.

The impacts of short staffing are also devastating for our members: workloads are heavier, stress is high, medical leaves and mental health issues are on the rise, vacations are denied, and retention is difficult.

“Our members are public safety professionals who serve Canadians around the clock, every day of the year. They need to be in sufficient number to do their work properly for the benefit of Canadians. Our members and the public deserve better,” said Hippern.

CUPE Local 104 represents 1,200 RCMP communication specialists across Canada, including 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers, police telecommunicators, and communications monitoring analysts. They joined CUPE in 2018.

 

For more information
Philippe Gagnon
Media relations, CUPE
613-894-0146
pgagnon@cupe.ca

NPST Week 2022 – Lots of recognition on our CUPE Facebook page

Hello everyone,

During this National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week 2022, there has been lots of recognition for our members about the very difficult and very important work you do.

We encourage you all to go to our CUPE 104 Facebook page and see the praise and what is being shared on social media this week.

Happy NPST Week to you all! You are amazing!

Your CUPE 104 Executive.

 

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week 2022

This week (2022-04-11 to 17) is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. 

CUPE Local 104 would like to recognize and thank all its members for all you do to keep the public and responders safe in an increasingly dangerous world. 

Telecommunications Operators and Intercept Monitors are the “first” first responder, helping callers and victims even before police, fire or ems personnel arrive on scene or by intercepting information to prevent or stop crimes in progress. You are truly the unseen heroes and you are a vital component of emergency services.

We encourage you to honour and celebrate your co-workers and yourselves this week. You deserve it!

Happy National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week to all of you!

Your Executive.

CUPE LOCAL 104 NEWS 2022-04-06

To ALL CUPE Local 104 Members,

 

BARGAINING UPDATE:

Our bargaining team has been very busy negotiating with the employer. Since January, we had 5 sessions with the employer and 2 additional sessions with our team.

  • January 5-6-7
  • January 25-26-27
  • February 8-9-10
  • February 22-23-24
  • March 8-9-10
  • March 21-22-23
  • Apr 5-6-7

During those sessions, we were able to come to agreements on a few more articles. We have also exchanged proposals on all articles except the final salary table. Rest assured that we have been keeping up to date with our salary research and proposals. It is important that we continue working on the substance of the terms and conditions of employment before we exchange our salary proposals.

Our team has been working very hard at combining the terms and conditions of employment for our two categories of employees. We knew this was going to be a monumental task, but we need to correct the disparity and conflict generated by the employer when they created the PO group in 2014.

As for where we’re at right now… We believe there are some more articles that we are getting close to an agreement on. We are hopeful that extensive preparations will help us maintain the momentum as we strive to sign off more articles at each session. We are also keenly aware that as we work through every article in our first collective agreement, it is going to get tougher to come to an agreement that maintains our current terms and conditions of employment and ensures that we all enjoy the same benefits as each other. Our jobs are unique. We are all public safety communicators working in critical roles within the Public Service and the RCMP.

We have more bargaining sessions scheduled every second week through June 2022 and we will be requesting more dates with the employer through summer and fall. We know you want this signed as soon as possible, and believe us, so do we! However, we need this to be a fair collective agreement for all of us and, as much as possible, to correct the disparities the employer created between Civilian Members and Public Servants.

We are continuing to bargain in good faith, and we respect the confidentiality of the bargaining process. This allows us to have open negotiations with the employer. Please remember that once we have reached a tentative agreement, it is you – the membership – who ultimately decide whether to accept the agreement.

It is especially important that all of us show solidarity with each other throughout the bargaining process. The stronger we are as a Local, the stronger our position is at the bargaining table. Please keep supporting each other, your stewards and your executive. We will get there together!

Please continue to reach out directly to your Stewards or Regional Chairpersons if you have questions or concerns.

 

UPDATE TO OUR MEMBERSHIP LIST INFORMATION:

As we progress in our bargaining, we are asking ALL OF YOU to please update all your information, if you haven’t already done so lately. Simply go to the CUPE 104 website and fill out the MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION FORM or https://104.cupe.ca/membership/, especially your personal email and work location (exact name and address of your office location). This form gets sent directly to the CUPE 104 Recording Secretary who maintains the Membership Master List. Your information is protected and only used by the Executive to contact you for union business.

Having your updated information will help us communicate timely information to you during bargaining and when we get to voting on your first collective agreement. We need to be able to reach you during this critical time and the only way is if you give us your information.

Please pass this request on to all your colleagues in case they didn’t see this message.

 

 

In Solidarity,

Your CUPE 104 executive
Kathleen, Robbin, Myles, Robb, Cyrus, Marc-Étienne, Alex, Brandon, Randy and Ron.

Notice of Elections

2022-02-04

In accordance with our bylaws, here is the Notice of Election for the following positions for the CUPE Local 104 Executive Board:

  • Vice-President
  • Secretary Treasurer
  • By-Election of the Eastern Region Telecommunications Operator Chairperson (**Eastern Telecomm Operators only**)

Key Dates:

  • Nominations: February 7-13, 2022
  • Voting: February 21-27, 2022
  • Results: March 5th, 2022

Nomination guide and forms are available online at https://104.cupe.ca/files/2021/01/Nomination-Package-2021-01-15.pdf. They must be scanned and e-mailed to elections@cupe104.ca before the nomination period closes on 2022-02-13.

Campaigning may take place at any time and is the sole responsibility of the nominee(s). Shortly after the close of the nomination period, and at the request of the nominee(s), the Elections Committee will send one email to the membership including: nominees’ names, work locations, and one URL link, provided by the nominee, pointing to a website of their choosing.

Voting will be by electronic ballot sent to the email we have on file from your membership form. This email will come from Simply Voting; remember to check your junk / spam folders. Voting will start on 2022-02-21 and remain open for seven (7) days till 2022-02-27. Results will be communicated on or before 2022-03-05.

Please ensure you read the nomination guide attached to the nomination form carefully as it contains important information. You will receive confirmation from the Elections Committee that your nomination form was received within 24 hours of sending it in.

The Elections Committee is Western TO Chair Alex Johnston, Western TO steward Andrew Wilkie and Western IM steward Ryan Peters.

You can contact your Steward, Regional Chairperson, or the Elections Committee with any questions.

 

In Solidarity,

CUPE Local 104 Elections Committee
elections@cupe104.ca

CUPE 104 website: https://104.cupe.ca/
Executive e-mail addresses: https://104.cupe.ca/contacts/
Membership Form: https://104.cupe.ca/membership/

CUPE 104 NEWS 2022-01-31

CUPE 104 NEWS
2022-01-31

To ALL CUPE Local 104 members

 

HEARING DATES FOR OUR 2016 2.3% RAISE/STATUTORY FREEZE:

We have finally received the dates for a hearing in front of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board (fpslreb-crtespf.gc.ca) concerning our 2016 2.3% raise, officially known as “Duty to observe the terms and conditions – during application for certification – s. 56”.

  • Hearing Session 1: May 16th to the 20th 2022.
  • Hearing Session 2: June 7th to the 9th 2022.

 

BARGAINING UPDATE:

We have already had two bargaining sessions with the employer since early January 2022 and we have been able to get several more articles signed off. We have more bargaining sessions scheduled almost every second week well into June 2022 (check the CALENDAR for exact dates). We are working very hard towards our first Collective Agreement.

We’ve said it before, we must bargain in good faith and respect the confidentiality of the bargaining process. This allows us to have fair and open negotiations with the employer. Please remember that once we have reached a tentative agreement, it is you – the membership – who ultimately decide whether to accept the agreement.

It is especially important that all of us show solidarity with each other throughout the bargaining process. The stronger we are as a Local, the stronger our position is at the bargaining table. Please keep supporting each other, your stewards and your executive. We are getting there.
Please continue to reach out directly to your Stewards or Regional Chairpersons if you have questions or concerns.

 

UPCOMING ELECTIONS and BY-ELECTIONS:

An announcement for election and by-election dates for the following vacant CUPE 104 Executive posts will be sent to your personal email very soon:

• Election for Vice-President,
• Election for Secretary-Treasurer,
• By -Election for the Eastern Region Telecom Operator Chairperson.

 

UPDATE TO OUR MEMBERSHIP LIST INFORMATION:

As we progress in our bargaining, we are asking ALL OF YOU to please update all your information by filling out the MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION FORM at https://104.cupe.ca/membership/  

We especially need your personal email and work location (exact name and address of your office location). This form gets sent directly to the CUPE 104 Recording Secretary who maintains the Membership Master List. Your information is protected and only used by the Executive to contact you.

Having your updated information will help us communicate timely information to you during bargaining and when we get to voting on our first collective agreement. We need to be able to reach you during this critical time and the ONLY way is if you give us your information.
Please pass this request on to all your colleagues in case they didn’t see this message.

 

In Solidarity,
Your CUPE 104 executive
Kathleen, Robbin, Myles, Robb, Cyrus, Marc-Étienne, Alex and Ron.

Contact us

Staffing Shortages

2021-11-19

 

We all know that staffing shortages in our Centres is nothing new and it’s only getting worse. We frequently hear of instances where our members are working in extremely understaffed situations. We work in a highly demanding and stressful job where our priorities are always officer and public safety. When we are required to work longer and harder with fewer staff on duty, both officer and public safety suffer. Equally as important, your health and safety suffer.

 

Providing enough staff to properly manage the workload is an employer responsibility. Every centre that our members work in has statistics and studies that should be used to accurately determine the number of full-time employees who are required to manage the expected workload of the centre. Most of our centres are not adequately staffed based on these statistics and studies. These numbers are not new. The trends of increasing workload, increasing sick leave, increasing turnover, increasing attrition, and increasing vacancies are not new. The employer has been aware of these trends for years and yet, we are all still working with significantly fewer colleagues than we should be.

 

We are extremely worried about our members. You are consistently being overworked, underpaid, working overtime, working through breaks, and missing out on vacation and days off. Down time, vacation, and regular days off are critically important to your health and recovery after dealing with high stress and trauma. Many of us have dealt with or are currently dealing with mental health trauma. We have seen several of our members leave their jobs due to medical illness and those who remain are continuing to get sick. Most distressing of all are our friends and colleagues who have died from suicide.

 

As an executive, we have been advocating relentlessly for our members when it comes to both staffing and mental health supports. In every meeting with the employer, we always talk about the staffing shortages and the dangerous situations being created by the lack of adequate staff to safely conduct our work. We have members on local, divisional, and national health and safety committees where we consistently bring up the staffing shortages in our centres and the impacts on our mental health. We also have members on the divisional and national labour management consultation committees where we always talk about mental health and staff shortages.

 

We frequently talk to the Commissioner of the RCMP and Treasury Board about the mental health needs as well as the extreme staffing shortages at our work sites. The lack of adequate staffing has created dangerous situations for us, for the regular members, and for the public. We can only do so much work with the available resources that we have. The regular members and the public are having to wait longer and longer for service and the risk to our members of making a mistake is increasing. We are all highly trained professionals who excel at providing top notch service in life and death situations. We cannot be expected to consistently perform at our high standard when we simply do not have enough staff to manage the existing workloads in our centres.

 

We know that you may be feeling helpless and hopeless. We are all fearful that errors are going to be made due to these dangerous work conditions. These shortages are creating unnecessary trauma on all of us. We need to unite and continue to look out for each other.

 

As a supervisor, if you or anyone on your team experiences any sort of trauma or critical incident due to a staffing shortage at your work site, please ensure you submit a Hazardous Occurrence Investigation Report (LAB1070) to your manager indicating the details of the shortage. If there is a hazard created by a staffing shortage that impacts public and / or officer safety, a LAB1070 should be completed as well. These can be filled out for each occurrence and can be requested by any employee.

 

The LAB1070 process is the only official way of documenting the health and safety hazards being created by these critical staffing shortages. If anyone tells you that the LAB1070 is not for this purpose or that you can only put in one “blanket” LAB1070 instead of a new LAB1070 for each occurrence, they are wrong. There is no other way to report this “clear and present danger” to our members, police officers, and the public. Contact your local Steward or Regional Chairperson immediately if you encounter any issues when submitting a LAB1070. Also, feel free to let us know of any hazardous occurrences by e-mail to secretary@cupe104.ca .

 

It is very powerful for us when we are able to bring up these specific examples when we are meeting with RCMP Management, the Commissioner, Treasury Board, and any other Employer representatives. We will continue to advocate tirelessly for our mental health and proper staffing at our worksites at every opportunity.

Recording Secretary Election – Nominee Information

2021-11-15

Electronic ballots were sent out today to the email address we had on file from your membership form. This email will come from Simply Voting; remember to check your junk / spam folders. Voting will start on 2021-11-15 and remain open until 2021-11-22. Results will be communicated on or before 2021-11-29.

If you do not receive a ballot by 2021-11-16 and you have checked your junk / spam folders, please contact the elections committee at elections@cupe104.ca . Missing ballots must be reported before 2021-11-18 to ensure a new ballot can be issued in time.

In Solidarity,

CUPE Local 104 Elections Committee
https://104.cupe.ca/

Executive e-mail addresses: https://104.cupe.ca/contacts/
Membership Form: https://104.cupe.ca/membership/

Bargaining Update

2021-10-23

 

We continued our “at the table” bargaining sessions with the employer earlier this month. It went well and it was a productive week. We were able to continue negotiations on several articles and signed off a few more as well. We feel that we have a good momentum going with the employer and we have several more “at the table” sessions already locked in over the next few months including several days in November.

 

As we’ve said before, we must bargain in good faith and respect the confidentiality of the bargaining process. This allows us to have fair and open negotiations with the employer. Please remember that once we have reached a tentative agreement, it is you – the membership – who ultimately decide whether to accept the agreement.

 

We are striving toward a collective agreement that will apply to both categories and both groups of employees to eliminate the disparity caused by the employer. We must make sure that we are recognized for our critical and specialized roles as Public Safety Communicators.

 

It is especially important that all of us show solidarity with each other throughout the bargaining process. The stronger we are as a Local, the stronger our position is at the bargaining table.

 

Please continue to reach out directly to your Stewards or Regional Chairpersons if you have questions or concerns.

The employer published their COVID-19 vaccine policy

On October 6, the employer published their COVID-19 vaccine policy.

 

Their policy requires that all employees must complete an attestation by October 29 or they will be placed on administrative leave without pay as early as November 15 until they meet the employer’s vaccination requirement. Those with valid human rights exemptions (for example medical and religious) may be accommodated through means such as telework, rapid testing and increased health and safety requirements.

 

The employer will require an attestation (written statement from the employee) of vaccination from every employee and they may request proof of vaccination. The employer can request proof of vaccination at any time following the attestation and has indicated there will be severe consequences for any misrepresentations.

 

We have analyzed the employer’s position and engaged CUPE National’s legal and research specialists and we have confirmed that this policy falls within their legal rights when it comes to ensuring the safety of the workplace.

 

If you are unvaccinated and believe you have a reason to seek an exemption, you are encouraged to request an exemption from the employer. If you have questions about their policy and how it may impact you, you are encouraged to talk to your manager.

 

If you are placed on leave without pay as a result of this policy, or if your request for an exemption is denied, you are encouraged to contact your Steward or Regional Chairperson and we’ll look at it on a case-by-case basis to determine if the policy has been followed.

The policy can be found at:

(https://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=32694)