Greetings fellow CUPE 1975 members,
Another holiday season is upon us and once again I’m left wondering where the year went. As a local we have been engaged in bargaining for most of this year and it will carry forward into 2022. We have determined dates for the New Year, and we will keep you posted with progress.
We were very happy to see most of our fellow members return to their jobs with the University this fall and are hopeful that the measures taken by the University will protect our campus community from any significant COVID outbreaks going forward. I don’t believe anyone would have thought that nearly 2 years into this pandemic, we would be where we are today. Many of the things that COVID brought with it are requiring our Executive’s time and resources to deal with. I’m hopeful, as many of you are, that the new year will see COVID disappear into our rear-view mirror.
We hosted our elections in November of this year again and the Table Officer positions of 1st Vice-President and Treasurer were up. Ryan Klassen was successful in his bid for the 1st Vice-President’s position and Jeff Theis was successful in his pursuit of the Treasurer’s position. Both Ryan and Jeff have been involved in our local for several years and their experience will benefit our members. We also held a by-election as Natalie Laing elected to leave the University to pursue other options. Erwin Marbella was successful in becoming the new 2nd Vice-President, a position he has held for the past 8 months while Natalie was on a leave. In the Area Rep positions, Dylan Powell, one of our tech reps, and Lara O’Grady, our library rep, have stepped down from their roles within our union. Our other reps, with some encouragement, have decided to stay on and continue to do the important work of representing our members. You can find a complete list of all our current reps and the vacant positions on our Executive by accessing our website. Thank you to those who have stepped away from our Executive and to those of you who have chosen to stay involved. We will be developing our committees for the New Year in January, so if any of you have any interest in joining any of our committees, reach out to us and let’s have a conversation. A list of all the committees is on our website.
I have talked in the past about our interest in partnering with The Canadian Mental Health Association, to bring some awareness and understanding about the challenges that many individuals face, both on campus and off. I have mentioned it to some of the other Unions on campus and I’m happy to say that ASPA has agreed to partner with us and help create some awareness and acceptance for people struggling with mental health issues. The stats that the CMHA has shared with us this past year is that, prior to COVID, 1 in 5 Canadians, were suffering with some form of mental health issues at any one time. With the onset of COVID, that number increased to between 2 or 3 people out of 5. I have been told that Saskatchewan trails most provinces in funding for mental health. Our members have shared with me that getting help for themselves or their loved ones can be very challenging at best. We are not able to write a cheque that will address all these issues. What we can do is recognize it in others and show support to those going through it. Mental health takes shape in many ways and forms. The support people require differs from individual to individual. All people benefit from a conversation with a friend or family member when they are going through a difficult time. This may be all they need while others require more. Often these challenges can be elevated by removing some of those things that serve to anchor us in our lives. This can include the loss of family, a friend, or a spouse. The holiday season can escalate those feelings of loss. You might need a friend to talk to or be required to be the friend who listens. Our CUPE Executive is often called upon to be the one who listens along with others when people are having trouble. Our CUPE/ASPA partnership is planning several initiatives for 2022. This committee has several ideas and lots of energy to put into this joint effort. I look forward to seeing everything they have planned.
Be kind to others.