During the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians have recognized that there are sectors of the economy and society beyond the front lines of health care that are also essential to our collective well-being. Like so many other workers, GSU members work in the essential production and distribution supply chain supporting the nation at a time when so much economic activity is severely restricted or shut down altogether.
So far, all GSU members have continued to work and many are exposed to added risk posed by person-to-person contact working in close quarters. Reports from GSU members indicate that employers have generally responded positively to the need for rigorous OH&S precautions to protect those in the workplace against infection or transmission. There is a lot of stress associated with working during an unprecedented pandemic and some employers of GSU members have tangibly recognized the efforts of the workers they employ. (See related story in the April 14 Tuesday Members’ Memo or here, on our web page.)
GSU’s leadership knows that its dedicated and committed union members are hard at work to get the job done during this trying time while keeping their customers, their co-workers, and themselves safe. And, as a result, GSU has reached out to employers to propose recognition of their employees’ efforts during this difficult time.
The core component of GSU’s initiative rests on an actual boost to employees’ pay. In addition, GSU has proposed that benefit plans be opened to include seasonal and temporary employees and, since access to dental and other healthcare services is restricted, that coverage for employees who retire be continued for an extended period of time after they retire. GSU began its latest initiative on behalf union members on Easter Monday. We will report on employer responses in coming issues of the Tuesday Members’ Memo.