April Update

  • April 1, 2022

There is a lot going on for CUPE 8911. We have been busy compiling research documents, creating promotional material, and working to bring attention to the important work that you do every single day and why that work is so important. We know that things continue to be difficult, with a high workload even before the rapidly approaching peak summer months. We also know that below-market wages have seen many staff from all departments leave the organization for better paying work elsewhere.Government Relations:The Union Executive continues our extensive government relations campaign. At the beginning of this year, we reached out to more than 200 elected officials in local government and had more than 100 direct follow-up conversations. We also engaged with the B.C. government and met directly with several key mayors and council members.We have prepared research documents designed for government leaders regarding the two central issues that are having devastating impacts throughout the organization:

  • unsustainable workload that is causing staff attrition, and
  • a below-market wage structure that has seen staff leave the organization for better paying work elsewhere.

The three documents – a reference document, a wage analysis, and a workload impacts survey summary – can now be found at the bottom of our campaign website: www.ecpbc.ca/secondscountThe Union will be presenting your issues at several conventions in 2022, which provide an opportunity for us to continue to raise awareness of our challenges with local government decision-makers. The first of these conventions is happening right now – the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) annual Convention runs from April 1-3 in Victoria; AVICC’s membership includes 10 cities, 8 towns, 8 villages, 15 districts, and 12 regional districts for many of which we call take, dispatch, and provide IT services.Public Relations:Throughout the Lower Mainland and Victoria, a number of billboards and bus shelter advertisements have been installed to bring attention to and raise the profile of the important work you do. These will be up throughout the month of April.During 9-1-1 awareness week which starts April 10th, we want to continue to highlight our strongest feature: our people. We are all proud of the work we do, and we want to share that with the public. If you are interested in being a part of this campaign on social media, please send in a photo of yourself outside of work along with the answers to two questions:

  • What makes you proud to be a part of 9-1-1 and be a part of Emergency Communications?
  • Why do seconds count when it comes to emergencies?

Any photos not used during 9-1-1 awareness week will be used during our ongoing Seconds Count campaign. Help us spread the word! Like and share our social media campaign:

  • Twitter – @911ECPBC or https://twitter.com/911ecpbc
  • Instagram – 911ecpbc or https://www.instagram.com/911ecpbc/
  • Facebook – Emergency Communications Professionals of BC or https://www.facebook.com/ECPBC

If you haven’t already, sign the petition at http://www.ecpbc.ca/secondscount/Labour Relations:The employer has been telling us that they are able to fill vacancies, but staffing continues to be a problem; there were 35 callouts last weekend alone. We are working with the employer on ways to urgently increase hiring capacity and incentivize overtime – we hope to have news on these initiatives soon.We continue to have significant concerns about the employer instating unclear and problematic policies without informing the union, for example the recent implementation of a workforce policy restricting ECVI to a maximum of three non-emergency calltakers in some circumstances; this unnecessarily resulted in over thirty minute waits and some callers hanging up instead of waiting to get through. This policy is no longer in practice but shows the importance of letting us know about any changes that are occurring. Please notify us of any concerns or experiences you have by emailing grievance@ecpbc.caHealth and Safety:We’re working with the employer to add additional sessions and practitioners to the Psychological Support Program. Currently, up to three visits are covered by E-COMM in addition to extended health benefits through the following:LMDAlex Abdel-Malick https://www.portmoodytherapy.com/bookLindsay Foss https://thrive-life.ca/contact-us-thrivelife-counselling/Lynn Gifford www.totemhouse.caECVIVancouver Island Psychology Services https://www.vipsychology.ca/Reporting unsafe working conditions can prevent unnecessary injuries. If you become aware of unsafe work or incidents, notify your supervisor first then email JOHSC@ecomm911.ca and Katherine.ramsay@ecpbc.ca.Union General Meeting:The next General Membership Meeting is scheduled for June 21, 2022 at 8:00pm – save the date in your calendar for the next scheduled virtual all members update.Conclusion:The factors causing the current operational crisis at E-Comm 9-1-1 were in place long before the COVID-19 pandemic, heat dome, and the multiple fire and flooding emergencies that we faced in 2021. These emergencies, however, made clear to the public and decision-makers alike that our 9-1-1 system is in crisis and shone a light on what E-Comm staff have been struggling with for the past several years.We know E-Comm 9-1-1 should be the best emergency communications provider in the province. It should have the best systems, most qualified and nimble staff, and most up-to-date technology. It should provide sector leadership instead of just surviving day to day.The good news is that the issue plaguing E-Comm 9-1-1 can be repaired. Right-sizing the organization, addressing staffing challenges, implementing the right Next-Generation technology, and onboarding better mental health resources for staff would, if implemented together, usher in a virtual quantum leap in operational stability, staff retention and quality of service to the public.As we gear up for bargaining, our focus is on improving wages, benefits, and working conditions for every member of CUPE 8911. The current Collective Agreement concludes at the end of this year and your bargaining team is moving ahead at full speed preparing, training, and learning about our contract, comparators, proposals, and the needs of our membership. The Bargaining Survey is open and we’re looking for your input and information to inform our negotiations strategy; if you haven’t already, please complete the survey at https://survey-sondage.cupe.ca/index.php/332613?lang=en.