We’re still hearing a lot of Health & Safety concerns from our members around COVID. It is imperative that you let your OH&S committees know your concerns, fill out an incident form or use whatever mechanism exists in your workplace. It’s equally important that you let YEU know so that we can follow up. This might mean talking to your Shop Steward, it might mean sending us a message through our website's contact page or even starting a grievance conversation by using our online Intake form. We can't fight problems we don't hear about.
I will be sending a letter to each of our employers within the next week, requesting copies of all Occupational Health & Safety Committee meeting minutes for all meetings dating back to March. We want to ensure that employers are doing their due diligence, holding meetings and following through when actions are required.
Cleaning and sanitizing of workplaces will continue to play a key role in worker safety. In many cases, employees are the ones doing the cleaning, and most employers are following the guidelines developed by the Yukon Government. Sometimes though, contractors have been hired to do the work, and there is little control or oversight by the employer. Not sure your workplace is being cleaned appropriately? Bring it up with your OH&S Committee, or again - call the union.
We would be shortsighted not to plan for a second wave of Covid-19. To prepare, I am again reaching out to all employers to demand better leave provisions for members. Many of you have had to deplete your leave banks to manage family obligations and follow medical officer guidelines since Covid restrictions began in March. We're fighting to fix that for members who've come to us for help.
We will be seeking leave provisions modelled after the 699 leave code implemented by the federal government. This allows for leave with pay for full or partial days when you're unable to work due to COVID-19. This includes contracting covid, being in quarantine or isolation following testing, and family care obligations.
Kids are back to school, which is a good reason to be extra cautious. Parents are anxious about the safety of kids and teachers, and concerned about how an illness within the school might affect the family. A parent's ability to work is, in many cases, dependent on school and childcare arrangements. We'll be watching closely for pressure points as families navigate the start of the school year.
If you or your kids are sick, please make sure to stay home from work, and keep sick kids home from school. The following is from the Yukon's guideline document linked below:
Check with your child each day to see if they have any new or worsening symptoms including*
Fever - Headache - Chills - Loss of sense of taste or smell - Cough - Runny nose - Fatigue - Loss of appetite - Shortness of breath - Sore throat - Muscle aches - Diarrhea - Nausea and vomiting
If you're struggling to juggle sick days with a depleted leave bank, let us know - we're working to make sure you're treated fairly so you're free to make responsible decisions without fear of losing pay.
Local Y044 - Skookum Jim Emergency After-Hours Shelter
- Saturday August 22, 3-5pm YEU Hall, Lucy Jackson Room. RSVP
Local Y017 - Yukon Government Health & Human Services
- Thursday August 27, 6-8pm YEU Hall, Lucy Jackson Rm. & Zoom RSVP
GET TO KNOW YOUR UNION for New Members of Local Y017
Are you new to Health and Social Services? Or maybe you never attended an orientation to our union when you started at YG?
Find the information you need and get connected! Learn More & RSVP
In late 2019 and early 2020 on behalf of the Government of Yukon, YWCHSB conducted a public engagement on the modernization of the Workers’ Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The What We Heard report is now posted to their webpage along with information about the process:
- What We Heard report (English): https://www.wcb.yk.ca/RE-0092.aspx
- What We Heard report (French): https://www.wcb.yk.ca/RE-0093.aspx
The Community Laundry Project fills an important gap in our community's services for people in need, but our regular volunteers could use a break. If you'd like to help ensure the sustainability of our Community Laundry Project, please send an email and let us know. The next laundry event takes place Tuesday September 8 and the volunteer time commitment is about 3 1/2 hours.
Thanks for taking the time to read these messages, and thanks to everyone who lets us know what is happening in the workplace.
As always, if you have a question or a concern, don't hesitate to send me an email.
Take care, stay safe, and enjoy the change of seasons that's already upon us.
Steve Geick, President
Yukon Employees' Union