Yesterday your supervisor should have called you with some new instructions about your work week. Many of us in Parks & ROC have significant changes in our schedules. These changes were made so that we adhere to the new, updated requirements of the province and HRM and to help ensure your safety. This will be our new normal, for the next 4 weeks or so. Be aware that things are very fluid and some changes may occur. I’ll keep you updated as quickly as possible.
If you do not show up for your new scheduled shifts because you are sick or whatever, you will have to take vacation/sick/toil etc. REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE SICK DO NOT COME TO WORK.
Yesterday the province decided to close all provincial parks, municipal parks, beaches, playgrounds, sports fields/courts, and trails until further notice, including those within HRM. These are our workplaces so our work had to change. All standard essential services of the municipality – including 311, fire and police – are operational and adhering to the most updated guidance and precautions from health officials. Having a safe, clean city is part of this. These are the services that we provide HRM and why we are still doing the necessary jobs that need to be done.
I was asked why I have not been to depots. I have been to some depots but not all. With the new directives on social distancing and no groups of over 5 this will be hard now. If people want me to visit them at work, just let me know and I will come and meet with you. To ensure groups of 5 or less I can meet with each shop individually. I will do whatever to make visits happen, if you want me to. I want everyone to feel heard and understand what is happening.
I’ve encouraged everyone to practice social distancing. This is now a directive of the province. They have implemented, under provincial authority, a policy that individuals who are found in breach of the order (social distancing and gathering in a group of more than 5) will be subject to fines issued by provincial and local police enforcement.
These are measures aimed at increasing your safety. You will need to take some steps to help ensure your own safety. This should include cleaning your vehicle to a standard that makes you feel safe. You will be provided your own vehicle to perform assigned tasks/jobs. You must take your own vehicle and not buddy-up with a friend. I’m going to suggest that everyone locate and start carrying their HRM ID cards with them. This will help better identify you as an HRM employee.
There have been a couple of incidents reported in the media over the past couple of days that could reflect badly on 108 members as a whole. I know everyone is concerned, anxious and worried about how this will affect themselves, their families and friends. Please call me and speak with me. I will listen to you. You can ask me tough questions, discuss anything with you and seek out answers to help ease your worries. I’ve answered all your calls, texts and emails to date. I will continue to address everything, just let me know. My number is 1-902-488-5457. Please join our CUPE -108 Facebook page or look on our webpage (www.108.cupe.ca) for regular updates under the COVID19 tab.
There is a possible weather event coming this week. We are still in Winter Works and we are needed to keep the street and sidewalks safe, especially in case of emergencies. If snow shifts are needed they will be the same as they were last month. Any overtime required for Snow & Ice will be paid at the proper rates. Your supervisors will let you know if you need to report for a snow shift.
If you, or a direct family member, are experiencing increased worry or anxiety, you can reach out to Homewood Health’s Employee and Family Assistance Program. They are available 24/7, the access numbers are 902.466.3327 or 1.800.663.1142. Please use this resource so that you stay mentally, physically and emotionally healthy. These are unprecedented times, you need to look after yourself.
This situation is evolving and I will attempt to keep all of you up-to-date with changes as they happen. Thank you all for doing what you do. Times are uncertain, tense and constantly changing. We need to be kind to each other and remember we are in this together. I hope that these messages have eased some of your worries and concerns. Please share with fellow co-workers and even your family. Let’s all work together as a team so that we can come out of this pandemic stronger. We are a team and we need everyone to feel safe.
CUPE Local 108