Local 105 is run by the members for the members. It is a democratic organization. The Executive of Local 105, which makes the day-to-day decisions, is elected through voting of the membership every year. Major decisions, such as whether to accept a union contract, called a Collective Agreement, are made directly by a vote of the membership.
The Executive Board consists of a seven-member Executive Committee (President, First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, Chief Shop Steward, Recording Secretary, Secretary Treasurer and Sargent-at-Arms). The Executive Board meets monthly and their recommendations are forwarded to the General Membership meetings.
CUPE is active in many campaigns to improve both the working lives of our members and our society. We actively donate to many local community functions, such as the Annual Jazz Festival, Cancer Relay for Life, Halloween Fest, and the Prince Rupert Wildlife Shelter.
Members also volunteer on various committees, including the Social Committee, Bargaining Committee, Education Committee, Bursary Committee, Political Action Committee, and EFAP Committee, to name a few. We send delegates to the Northern Area District Council AGM and Workshops, both the CUPE BC Convention and CUPE National Convention, and Prince Rupert Labour Council.
We have members who serve as union Stewards at all workplaces. Stewards stand as the first line of defence when a problem occurs. A Steward is the person to see when you have questions about your rights or questions about the union. Members can also seek the advice or assistance of our chief shop steward.
We also have regular labour-management meetings where issues outside the contract are resolved; they often provide an opportunity to contribute creative solutions to problems in the workplace.
Members can also participate in Local 105 by attending the regular membership meetings which are usually held on the 2nd Thursday of every month.
What does it cost?
Running a union does cost money. We maintain an office within the Fisherman’s Hall, represent members through the grievance and arbitration process along with our National Staff Representative, provide notices to our members, hold annual social events and make local donations. We contribute financially to CUPE National, CUPE BC, BC Federation of Labour, the Northern Area District council, Prince Rupert Labour Council and the Unemployment Action Centre.
Each union member pays dues to help cover these expenses. Dues are 1.85% of your pay. Put more simply, you pay $1.85 per $100 of regular earnings. You never have to write us a cheque – your dues come directly off your pay in the same way as CPP and EI premiums are collected. The return you get for paying union dues is excellent. The average union wage in Canada is $5 an hour higher than the non-union wage and union dues are tax deductible.
Your Collective Agreement
Members are strongly encouraged to read their Collective Agreement. The Collective Agreement is the contract between the union as bargaining agent and your employer. It covers such issues as wages, working conditions, benefits, rights, and procedures to be followed in settling disputes. Your Collective Agreement protects you from discrimination because of race, creed, colour, national origin, political or religious affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family relationship, handicap, or membership in a labour union. During pre-bargaining, members are asked to submit their ideas and recommendations for improvements before contract negotiations begin. These recommendations guide the union’s negotiating team. The negotiating team are representatives from various departments within that bargaining unit, voted by the membership. A new Collective Agreement cannot come into effect until the local membership votes to endorse it.
If you have trouble understanding anything in your Collective Agreement, a Steward in your workplace would be more than happy to assist you. You can also call the union office and ask to speak to a Executive Member if a Steward is unavailable.
Here are some examples of what you’ll find in your Collective Agreement:
• Details of sick pay/benefits
• Details of vacation or vacation pay
• When you receive premium pay (i.e. overtime, shift bonuses), and how much you will be paid
• Meal breaks: how long and when?
• Calculation of seniority
• Scheduling rules
• Conditions for leaves of absence
• Allowance for protective clothing
• Transportation allowance for those authorized to use their vehicles on employer’s business
• Various grievance procedures
• Alternate rates when an employee is asked to perform duties of a higher-rated position for at least a full day
• Request for transfer provisions
Get to know your Steward
Union Stewards are co-workers who volunteer to be leaders in our workplaces. They can answer your questions about the workplace and the union. When there is a problem, the first person you should speak to is your Steward. They are there to help you. To find out who your Steward is, please see the contacts page on this site or contact the union office.
A final note about solidarity
As unionized workers, we benefit from the work of those who went before us. Never forget: our wages, our benefits, and our rights were won at the bargaining table. They were not “given” to us. We owe a lot to the hard work of members of the union who preceded us. There was a time when workers who quit their job without permission from their employer risked going to jail! We have come a long way! Our day-to-day experiences indicate that we have further to go. We not only need to defend our legacy, but we must build on it as well. The more we support each other the more successful we all will be. Solidarity is also about supporting your brothers and sisters in other bargaining units and members of other unions when they are involved in a strike or lockout, or working in community coalitions to address social issues. The union movement is about sticking up for each other, but that is not the only reason to show our support for others. Every union contract has an impact on other Collective Agreements. Their gains become our gains. If there is a defining characteristic of the Canadian Labour Movement, it is summarized by J.S. Woodsworth, labour activist and founding leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF): “What we desire for ourselves, we wish for all.”