Message #7 to Our Members Re. COVID-19
We thought we would send a message to our membership today to mark the end of a week filled with new developments as we continue the requirements to observe physical distancing. AESES understands that as this situation goes on people are becoming lulled into a different type of routine while conversely becoming more and more anxious about what the future holds. This is a strange paradox; however, we are living a strange new “normal” throughout our nation and across the globe.
Unfortunately, we have no updates to provide to our members with respect to the Pallister Government’s directive to public-sector employers to develop plans for staffing reductions and savings at the 10, 20 and 30 per cent targets. Both the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg have announced that they have forwarded their submissions to the government earlier this week. At this point in time, everyone is waiting to hear what the government’s decision will be insofar as to what degree the Universities will be expected to make cuts.
AESES has continued to express our view to the Universities that they should be pushing back against the government’s directives given the continued need for work to be done. Many of our members have called and emailed to say that they are just as busy, if not busier, at this time. Any reductions to the hours being worked by employees will drastically impact the level of service that can be provided to students and to the ongoing operations of the Universities.
Irrespective of the government’s exercise, and as we had previously communicated, the Universities will likely start to examine those positions where areas have closed and there is no possibility for working remotely. While this may have been delayed by the requirement for the employers to respond to the government in an incredibly short time frame, we are learning of some temporary layoffs that are beginning to take place. So far, these have been in areas where there is no work that can be performed.
AESES wants to remind all our members that EFAP supports are available to all employees, including those who have been temporarily laid off. It is important that everyone continues to monitor their wellbeing, and their mental health, and seek medical assistance when needed. Sick leave is still an option for members who are unable to work, in keeping with medical advice, and all regular benefits remain available to support your health care needs. For EFAP support contact:
- At UW, access MB Blue Cross EFAP via:
- Phone: 1-800-590-5553
- Website: www.mygoodhealth.ca
- Mobile app: mybluecross mobile
- At UM, access Shepell via:
- Phone: 1-800-387-4765
- Website: www.workhealthlife.com
- Mobile app: My EAP
While we wait on the government, we wanted to point out that there are two online petitions where individuals can protest these draconian cuts that Premier Pallister has called for. If you want to add your voice to those in opposition you can find the petitions at the following links:
Members are also encouraged to write to their MLA, and Premier Pallister, to register their concerns. A listing of all MLAs can be found on the government’s website at:
In addition, the United Way of Winnipeg has created a webpage with a wide variety of links for Winnipeggers affected by COVID-19. The resources on this site include information on health, employment, finances, education and much more. You can find their information at the following:
AESES members continue to work hard to do their part in ensuring that the Universities are maintaining their objectives of providing education to the student population and in supporting the important research work that has not stopped during this pandemic. We want to thank each and everyone of you for the professionalism you have displayed and the contributions you are making. AESES’ reputation is strengthened by your collective efforts and we appreciate the work you do to help the Universities to succeed.