2020 Executive Election Information and Candidate Statements

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

You should have received voting instructions and a Personal Identification Number (PIN) in the mail. This PIN will allow you to vote electronically in the 2020 Executive elections. If you have not received this information by the opening of the poll please contact the union office and we will verify your membership and contact the election provider on your behalf. Simply Voting has been hired as the independent third-party election provider and all PIN issuance and voting is maintained and monitored by them.

The deadline for requesting a PIN is Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. No exceptions.

Because of the verification process, members must request a PIN themselves. Under no circumstances may a member request a PIN on behalf of another member.

There will be an election for Secretary-Treasurer, City Sector Representative, Park Board Sector Representative, College/University Sector Representative, K-12 Sector Representative, and Trustee. All members are eligible to vote for the Secretary-Treasurer and Trustee positions. Only members in a specific sector are eligible to vote for positions in that sector. Please see the candidate profiles below. The 1st Vice President and HSPBA Sector Representative positions have been filled by acclamation.

Voting will open by electronic ballot at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on May 19, 2020 and will remain open until 11:59 p.m. on May 26, 2020. Polls will be accessible 24 hours a day.

Important Note: Please save your PIN as you will need it if no candidate receives the majority of the votes cast, and run-off voting is required. A run-off vote will be announced with the election results and conducted on the same website. In the event run-off voting is required members will be notified via www.cupe15.org and by email only. If you have not already done so please provide the union office with a personal email address. You can ensure we have your up to date information by calling us at 604-879-4671 or by sending it to email@cupe15.org.  You will not receive another mailing to your home address.

- If a run-off vote is required the polls will be open from 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on June 1, 2020 to 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time June 5, 2020.
- If a second run-off vote is required the polls will be open from 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on June 8, 2020 to 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time June 12, 2020.

If you have questions or concerns please contact the union office and your issue will be referred to the Election Committee.  The 2020 Election Committee consists of Donna Petersen, Returning Officer; Rosemary Matheson; Office Manager; and Mike Dumler, Expert Advisor.

The following members are running for a position on the Executive Board. Candidate statements are printed below the candidate list.

Starla Bayley
Kyle Larson
Lauretta Loong – No candidate statement available
Debbie Mohabir

City Sector Representative
Andrea Duke
Kamal Gautam (Incumbent)
Reza Sebti – No candidate statement available

Park Board Sector Representative
Henry Lee
Erica Mark
Collins Njoroge
Tracy Thompson

College/University Sector Representative
Cybele Creery – No candidate statement available
Alex Fowler (Incumbent) – No candidate statement available

K-12 Sector Representative
Shirley Ann Harris
Cynthia Schadt (Incumbent)

Aaron Cook (Incumbent)
Lilianna Gut

Candidate Statements

Secretary-Treasurer Candidates (in alpha order)

Starla Bayley

First off, I hope everyone is keeping well and staying safe during this pandemic. I realize this is not an ideal time to have an election. Please remember the importance of your Union Executive in making many decisions for your work arrangements as well as the fiscal responsibility for your union dues. Your dues are to be spent with strict adherence to our local’s bylaws and policies, with full accountability to the members. Highlights of my promise below:

Financial transparency
- Ensure expenditures are attached to a passed motion, bylaw, or policy
- Provide a written report explaining our finances monthly - especially extraordinary expensesZ
- Encourage our Trustees to complete a thorough examination of our financial books every month and make their regular reports to CUPE National
- Bring large financial motions to the membership allowing input and direction from you

- Implement a standardized process for applying and being appointed to local committees – this process would see a regular rotation of members being provided the opportunity to represent our membership on specialized topics and topics of interest to them
- Create mirror committees to CUPE National and CUPE BC

- Complete a Steward inventory of all courses taken, and all courses needed to ensure our stewards are well supported and our members have the best representation possible
- Provide fair opportunities to education based on merit and experience
- Work with the education committee to re-evaluate the process for in-town courses to be decided

- Keep us well organized an aware of upcoming conventions so that we may ensure a full complement of delegates can attend
- Work with all delegates and committees to submit strong, well thought out resolutions to present to convention floor
- Ensure new convention delegates understand the importance of their role at convention and support them during the experience

Working with others and working with you
- Be accessible by providing a detailed schedule to the office so members will know when (and possibly) where they can reach me
- Build our shop stewards groups so we can enforce our collective agreements in all sectors
- Encourage activism in all our sectors by reaching out and getting directly involved
- Commit to be engaged with the governing bodies that manage our collective agreements: City Council, Vancouver Park Board, Vancouver School Board, Ministry of Health, Community Centre Associations
- Attend and build strong relationships with our affiliations: Vancouver and District Labour Council, CUPE Metro, BC Federation of Labour, and any others that we look to be connected to
- Utilize the expertise in the CUPE 15 office to address our members' issues and concerns
- Respectfully manage the office staff we have hired with your union dues

If elected I will be there for our membership, all our membership. I understand that equity does not mean equal. There are several nuances that need to be considered when allocating our resources and making decisions that will support our membership the best. If you would like more information or have comments or questions check out my website at www.starla-bayley.com.

In solidarity,

Kyle Larson
I would like to thank the many members who encouraged me to seek election as Secretary-Treasurer. I have been a CUPE Local 15 member for 12 years and served as a Shop Steward, Chief Shop Steward, Parks Sector Rep and two rounds of bargaining (2015 and 2020). 

My Track Record... 
I have spent years advocating for our members within the union and at my worksite. Over the past 8 years as an activist I have resolved over 250 issues and grievances focusing on excessive discipline, harassment and abuses with promotions/non-selections, medical accommodations, and harassment. I bargained new rights and benefits for auxiliaries, part-timers, temporary and regularized folks.

My Values...
I will continue to support the values and strengths of you, the members. I have grown from strong mentors and hands-on experience as an activist. I want to build on my predecessor's contribution and foster a positive, knowledgeable, and cohesive movement. Our benefits and values flow from prior activists’ commitment and devotion. 

We have a responsibility to safeguard our previous generation’s sacrifice, better our present generation, and plan for our future generation. Our courage and sacrifice fighting for basic human rights and worker protections has no vestige of a beginning and no prospect of an end.

My priorities are…
- Combat Erosion - Drawing on my background as a hydrologist, erosion is the bane of any type of river system. Erosion in nature is no different than erosion in benefits. Attrition starts small then grows and grows. 

Our benefits under attack are:
- Pensions
- Health and Sickness
- Job Security
- Workplace Safety 
- Living Wages

We live in the most expensive city with unaffordable housing; we need wages that keep up with the cost of living.

- Return Value to Membership - Our members contribute 1.95% of their wages to the local, this equates to approximately $1,350.00 per year for the average full-time member. I am applying for a job paid for by your contributions, I am working for the membership. I want to ensure our resources are used effectively and properly.
- Streamline Efficiency - I have identified various areas for operational and administrative improvements. These involve grievance timelines, membership meetings, and fiscal prudence.
- Nurture and Appreciate Activism - Invest and mentor our stewards. Stewards are the lifeline in the workplace; our stewards form the bedrock of defending our collective rights. I want to expand on the appreciation we as an executive team can offer our staff and advocates as well as protect against discrimination or harassment for legally protected activism.
- My Ask… Regardless of this or other elections’ end result; we all rally together as a cohesive working unit fighting back from hostile workplaces, cutbacks, unreasonable workloads, precarious employment and contracting out. 

If elected as your Secretary-Treasurer, I have an obligation to perform to the best of my abilities, true to my values, and in support of our member’s needs and interests.

Our work is not exclusive to Secretary-Treasurer; we must embrace our strength and diversity to work collaboratively.

Solidarity forever,
Kyle Larson

Debbie Mohabir
My name is Debbie Mohabir and I would like to ask for your vote in the upcoming election for the position of Secretary-Treasurer at CUPE Local 15.

I have been a dedicated activist in the union since 2007 and for the past four years I have been the Chief Shop Steward for the VSB Sector. In this role I have many responsibilities including yearly budget submissions, negotiating the Learning Improvement Fund (2013-present), as well as negotiating 1.5 million dollars towards technology and paid training for members.

My extensive educational knowledge includes a deep understanding of the labour movement. Coupled with several years of work experience, this has equipped me with multiple skills that I believe are an asset to CUPE Local 15. I have had the honour to serve as a Temporary Staff Representative I, 2nd Vice President, K-12 Sector Representative, Bargaining Committee Co-chair, Strike Committee member, Chief Shop Steward, and as the K-12 representative on local and provincial committees. 

In these roles I have gained considerable knowledge, experience, and a solid foundation in understanding trade unions, arbitrations, labour law, employment standards, human rights law, accommodation, bullying and harassment, negotiating collective agreements, strikes, mediation, and gender neutral job evaluation. My open and direct communication style, people-centric nature, and experience in working within team environments have afforded me skills critical for the Secretary-Treasurer role.

I strongly believe that all sectors of our union are equally important. Working together as a collective to ensure that decisions made are in the best interest of all our members is imperative as well as keeping the continual advocating for better working conditions, wages and fair treatment by the employer at the forefront.

The following are some things that I would like to accomplish if elected:
- To be visible as the Secretary-Treasurer to all members, sectors, and employers
- To be committed, transparent, and progressive
- To address concerns brought forward in a respectful way
- To attend all sector events
- To work collectively with the Executive, Trustees and Staff
- To work collaboratively with CUPE 15 committees
- To help support all sector stewards with education in the important work they do advocating and representing our members
- To be fiscally responsible with member dues     
- To ensure that financial decisions are in line with motions, bylaws, and policies

Thank you and I hope that I can count on your vote!

Endorsed by:
Santino Scardillo, 1st Vice President
Cynthia Schadt, VSB Sector Representative
Kamal Gautam, City Sector Representative
Donna Petersen, Trustee
Craig Hopkins, CUPE 15 Sergeant at Arms
Paul Chohan, City et al Bargaining Committee Member

Trustee (in alpha order)

Aaron Cook

My name is Aaron Cook and I am honored to have my name put forward to serve for another term as a Trustee for CUPE Local 15. I would like to thank my nominator and those who have supported me in this endeavor.

I would like your vote to continue the work that I have been tasked to do by the membership. I currently am the incumbent and I believe I have done an exceptional job at this position. I have made it my mission to make sure there is no funny business in the books and money being spent. I am quite vocal when there is anything I see that needs clarification and am not shy about calling on BS if I see it. I am impartial, fair, reasonable, and trustworthy.

I can go on about past accolades and achievements but I think that would do a disservice to who I am and what I am about. I am a regular worker who has at least 25 years of full time service to go. Members who are at the beginning of their full time careers need to be the ones who are learning from those who have been there. We need to continue on with the work of the union and gain experience so that we can carry the torch for those who came before and pass it on to those who come after. I grew up in a VMREU/CUPE family and the values and traditions are something that I hold in my core.

I would like to be given more opportunity to be a part of shaping the future of our local.

I would like your vote for CUPE Local 15 Trustee.

Thank you.
Aaron Cook

Lilianna Gut
It is election time again and as we are approaching the end of the school year we need to decide on who will take the role of Trustee. Our union needs a strong, devoted, and honest individual who will watch and ensure that our money is spent responsibly and for the members’ benefit. I can deliver you that, and I am ready to take the responsibility to inform you about our union's financial affairs, decisions, and investments made so there is transparency and accountability to everyone.

I am committed to ensure that our money is allocated and spent with care, and I am bound to act in accordance with the law and terms of the trust upon which I will hold your/our financial property.

About me: I have been an SSA for eleven years and a CUPE 15 Shop steward for six, and hold a Social Work Diploma and BA of Psychology. I am a Policy and Governance Member with the Vancouver School Board. I have an extensive math background, training in legal matters, and many years of experience in the public sector helping and supporting members. This year I accepted nomination for Trustee and I am asking for your vote.

I believe in honesty, integrity, and accountability to you, the members of this union and I promise to deliver you that to the best of my ability if you vote for me. Please vote. See the poll information elsewhere in this issue. I look forward to working for you! 

In solidarity,
Lilianna Gut

Parks Sector Representative (in alpha order)

Henry Lee

I am seeking your support to be elected as the Parks Sector Representative for Local 15. If elected, I will continue to be a strong voice for all CUPE Local 15 members. I will bring to you strong leadership, strong communication skills, and a passion to continue to represent all members with integrity, dignity, and respect.

I have worked with the City of Vancouver for over 25 years in various positions including Hazardous Materials Technician, Seniors and Youth Programmer, Work Control Clerk, and currently as a lead hand – Utilities Maintenance Technician/Worker 3.

I am currently the Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Representative for the CUPE 15 Parks Sector and am a very active shop steward for both the City and Parks sectors. I also sit on the Contracting In Committee, Social Committee, OH&S Committee, and the City et al Bargaining Committee.

I am committed to:
- Continuing to mentor new and current shop stewards
- Continuing to reach out and engage with CUPE Local 15 members
- Ensuring that all CUPE 15 members have a safe and healthy working environment
- Continuing to work with our CUPE Local 15 Executive Board members and committees to find strategic methods to enact the priorities of our local.

In solidarity,
Henry Lee

Erica Mark
Hi Everyone. My name is Erica Mark and I’m running for the CUPE 15 Parks Sector Representative position. I have been an employee of the Park Board and been a CUPE 15 Member for almost 25 years. I’ve worked as a Program Assistant, Programmer, Community Youth Worker, and now as a Recreation Coordinator out of 10 different Park Board facilities.

I have worked with many of you in one way or another and I believe that most people who know me, know that I advocate passionately for what I believe in. What I believe in is fair treatment for all my CUPE 15 sisters and brothers.

I know first-hand what it feels like to feel unappreciated, undervalued, held to a different standard than peers, and treated unfairly by the employer. It was during this time when CUPE 15 was there for me, making me feel validated and supported. I want to be that support for you.

I believe that people should be treated fairly, with respect and set up for success. People should be assessed by their skills, knowledge, ability, and seniority and not be provided opportunities because the right people like them. I feel that my passion and advocacy is best used fighting for your rights.

I believe that all union members should be provided equal opportunity and they should be able to respectfully voice their opinions without fear of negative repercussions to their career. I believe it is important, more so than ever with the unprecedented lay-offs, to have a strong union with caring, dedicated advocates that support all of their members. If voted in as Parks Sector Representative, I will listen to you, support you, and advocate for you. My goal will be ensuring the employer uses fair and transparent processes, follows the collective agreement, and that they are held accountable when they don’t.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope you and your families are safe during this unsettling time.

Collins Njoroge
Core values & principles:
- Justice
- Equality
- Democracy
- Integrity
- Mutual respect
- Transparency
- Accountability
- Rule of law

The idea of justice – a blindfolded woman carrying a sword and a set of scales – is a representation of my core values. Rather than write a manifesto, list my qualifications, or other such things, I will just make one solemn promise: to represent the interests of all CUPE 15 members with integrity, transparency, and accountability. If you vote for me, you can expect that I will not take the “business as usual” approach; you can expect that I will hold myself – and others – accountable for any decision that affects your individual and collective rights. You can also expect that I will promptly address any health and safety concerns you bring to my attention, and that I will meaningfully engage with the employer in pursuit of positive workplace changes.

I welcome your thoughts and comments at collins.irungu@gmail.com, and I hope to be your 2020-2023 Park Board Sector Representative!

Tracy Thompson
With thanks to my nominator I have accepted to run for the Parks Sector Representative seat on our union’s Executive Board. I began my career with the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation in 2013. I understand the complexities of splitting shifts between several sites. My own personal experience was working at five sites as an auxiliary for three years in order to make ends meet. I then suffered an unrelated injury, and quickly discovered what it means to have zero job security. The true meaning of precarious work. 

This is when I approached the union for support and education while dealing with my own personal situation. It was during this time that I realized what our union was there for and what I could do for our union. This began my journey as an activist, standing up for all worker rights.  In the last four years I have taken the time to learn our collective agreement and help our members enforce their rights in various workplaces. 

By unionizing, we know we are not alone in fighting for justice. Look to the history of wins, through recent union precedents, including extended parental leaves, accommodation rights, and pay protection for auxiliaries in the COVID-19 crisis. Through these challenges, I hope we all can appreciate the work of your stewards and representatives, which you also can participate in!

I feel that I am now ready to step forward and advocate even more for our members by bringing your issues to the Executive table. Through the relationships that I have built I know that I will gain insightful information that can be addressed at a higher level. I am compassionate and thoughtful and willing to put in the time and effort to ensure our members’ issues are heard. 

Through my engagement with the union I have also learned that the role of the Executive is to also ensure that the local is responsible with our union dues. We all pay our dues and your Executive needs to spend our dues according to our local’s bylaws and policies. I will commit to learning these bylaws and policies and ensure that your local adheres to what governs us. 

If elected my goal is to learn, listen, and grow with all members and speak up on your behalf. I will embrace the role as your Sector Representative as the privilege I know it is. I will work hard and fight for the issues that are important to you. In return, I ask that you also do your part – keep yourself informed of your rights and don’t be afraid to stand up when you have been wronged or you see others being wronged. When possible attend meetings and, if you are like me and want to see what is best for your peers – think about stepping forward and learn about becoming a shop steward. When you see something you don’t like – speak up! Above all, make sure you participate and vote.  Online voting begins May 19, 2020. 

K-12 Sector Representative (in alpha order)

Shirley Ann Harris

I am honored to have been nominated by my colleagues, as the K-12 Sector Representative for Vancouver. Having already been a shop steward for approximately 4.5 years, I know my past experience and desire to learn will serve me well in this position. I acknowledge that the position of Sector Representative is extremely important, and I will diligently work to use it as a means for highlighting the needs, wants, and accomplishments of the many hardworking CUPE members in our district.

For more than 20 years I have worked for the Vancouver School Board, and I pride myself on being a life long learner, both in and outside of my work life. I have received certification level training in American Sign Language (ASL) and am currently studying Compassionate Communication (NVC). My career has given me the chance to work in a multitude of classrooms, and I have been fortunate to support many students with Autism. Regardless of a student’s designation, my focus and goal for any child I have had the opportunity to work with, has always been: independence and communication. Fostering these skills in every individual I work with is something that I put tremendous energy and effort to.

With any job I do, I always ensure I have an end goal in mind. As the K-12 Sector Representative, I will strive to act as the voice of all my colleagues. I would like to bring forth and start conversations surrounding such issues as excessive workload, lack of on-call employee availability, scarcity of resources. In addition to this, I hope to share and celebrate what is working across our districts, the great accomplishments of my colleagues, and the creative solutions that have been put forth to help lessen the strain of some of the bigger issues we face.

It is my hope, that as the K-12 Sector Representative for CUPE 15, I will be able to help build greater collaboration, solidarity, and connection between the CUPE workers of our city and province.

I look forward to beginning this journey and serving my colleagues.

In solidarity,
Shirley-Ann Harris

Cynthia Schadt
Electronic voting for Executive Board Elections will be open from 8:00 a.m. May 19, 2020 to 11:59 pm on May 26, 2020. You will receive voting instructions and a Personal Identification Number in the mail.

As the current K to 12 Sector Rep since 2017, I thank my nominator and I am running for K-12 Sector Rep again. I am a good candidate for this position because I have a pre-existing passion for our cause; have an eagerness to participate at every meeting; am willing to prepare ahead for meetings; am interested to serve on committees; have the ability and propensity to serve as a conduit between the Executive Board and the members; and have a strong desire for stewardship to others.

I have enjoyed being an active steward since 2014. I have occupied the position of Interim Chief the month of September 2019. I take my position seriously and educate myself as a steward and activist when education is offered.

I have occupied seats on the following joint committees:
Bargaining Committee
Emergency Management Committee
Job Evaluation Committee
Joint Early Intervention Service Committee
Professional Development Committee
Wellness Stakeholder Committee

I have also occupied a seat on the following union committees:
Grievance Committee
Occupation Health & Safety Committee
Social Committee

I have occupied a seat on the following VSB standing committee:
Committee II – Facilities and Planning

I have filled in for other members during the following committee meetings:
AP Working Group
Joint Union Committee

I have attended CUPE BC Conferences, CUPE National Conferences, and BC Fed Conferences as a CUPE 15 delegate.

The following VSB stewards and members are graciously endorsing me for this election:
Debbie Mohabir
Amanda Leung
Lilianna Gut
Lorena Spencer
Maggie Chan
Priscilla Santos
PJ Prinsloo
Randy Horton

Between May 19 and May 26 please vote for me, Cynthia Schadt, as your K-12 Sector Rep.

In solidarity,
Cynthia Schadt

City Sector Representative (in alpha order)

Andrea Duke

As a long-time CUPE 15 member and shop steward for almost a year and a half, I understand how hard the union works for our members and I am eager to accept the responsibility for representing the City Sector at the CUPE 15 Executive table. 

I started at the City in 1992 as a temporary full-time Clerk I and have worked in many temporary and regular full-time positions throughout the years. I am now a Street Use Inspector in Engineering Services, where I have worked since 2005. I have gone through several strikes, periods of being picketed out, tough negotiations, the painful loss of the compressed work week, and many of the other ups and downs CUPE 15 members have faced in the past 28 years.

In the late 1990s I helped organize rallies and protests to voice our members’ heartbreak and anger at the loss of the compressed work week. It was at that time that my interest in becoming involved with the union was piqued. Knowing that I do not like to do things half way and without devoting the best of myself to a cause that is important to me, I decided to wait until my children were grown before signing up for the Introduction to Stewarding course.

Since becoming a steward I have not shied away from dealing with any of the challenging issues with which our members have come to me. I have professionally, tactfully, and successfully represented the City Sector members who have requested my help and I am committed to continuing to represent you. A seat at the Executive table would provide me the opportunity to further advocate for the City Sector and bring forward the issues that are important to you.

I look forward to the opportunity to bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the fight for workers’ rights, gender equality, human rights, and the abolishment of all forms of discrimination. The abuse of auxiliary and contract workers, the contracting out of CUPE 15 members’ work, and the “borderline” adherence to the collective agreement with regard to vacancies and postings are just some of the issues I will be looking to tackle.

Many difficult labour battles were fought and sacrifices made by workers throughout British Columbia’s long and sometime difficult labour history. It is extremely important to me to defend the gains they made, ensure the continuation of the rights negotiated by union activists in the more recent history, and work to further improve the working conditions for the next generation of CUPE 15 members. 

I sincerely hope that you will elect me to the seat of City Sector Rep.  It would be an honour to be a voice for you at the Executive table.  For further information, please contact me at andreaduke22@gmail.com.

In solidarity,
Andrea Duke

Kamal Gautam

Experience You Know:
I have been a shop steward for the City Sector for the past 24 years. Currently I am a City Sector Representative on the Executive Board and was previously the Chief Shop Steward. I am an outspoken advocate for fairness, honesty, openness, and equality in the work place, and I actively participate in the Labour Management Committee meetings. I am also a delegate on the Vancouver and District Labour Council, CUPE BC International Solidarity Committee, and the CUPE Metropolitan District Council.

What I will bring to the Board as your representative:
- It’s imperative that experience and skills are called forth to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, and its aftermath will be one of the biggest union and City challenges of our time in returning all our auxiliary part-time and full-time members back to their work-place.
- My top priority is to consider how to bring jobs back to our laid off members. This is of course a moral, ethical, and legal concern for our union. From the Executive Board’s perspective, safeguarding employees’ well-being is paramount because no plan to resume normal operations can succeed without them.
- A fierce dedication in representing our CUPE 15 members and support of all of our sectors to help inform, educate, and resolve our members’ grievances on issues relating to policy and to improve contract language.
- Help build our collective power from sector to sector.
- Work together to keep up the important work of connecting and mobilizing our members while continuing to have a strong, dynamic and powerful union.
- Ensuring our employers respect our collective agreements.
- Taking a stand for all of our auxiliary, temporary, full-time, precarious, and on-call workers as we continue to become a growing force in the work place.

I ask for your support and your vote and look forward to working with you.

Contact Kamal at kamalgautam56@gmail.com or 778-689-7931.

Voting will open by electronic ballot at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time on May 19, 2020 and will remain open until 11:59 p.m. on May 26, 2020.  Polls will be accessible 24 hours a day.

In solidarity,