The Week in Winnipeg

October 9th to 15th, 2022


Well, they say autumn is one of the nicest weeks of the year in Winnipeg. It feels like that week has come and gone already, which is too bad. World has to keep turning, though.



The end of the year is fast approaching and that means our annual benefit balances will expire and reset. Unused balances cannot be carried forward into the next year. Some balances, like the one for our glasses, reset every few years. For vision care, it’s four years, and our current balances will expire on December 31st and reset for January 1st.

Check your balances here:


The lead story in the Winnipeg Free Press on Tuesday this week had this headline: Manitoba has Highest COVID Rate in Country. The article went on to further explain that one in 22 Manitobans could have COVID and there are about 10,000 new cases every day.

With that kind of prevalence in the community at large, COVID is going to find its way into our workplaces. When a facility of 20 to 49 employees has more than 10 percent of staff calling in with COVID, it goes red. When facilities with 50 to 149 employees (most of ours in Winnipeg) have more than five percent of employees catching the bug, it goes red. In a large facility (the plant) has more than two percent of employees calling in with COVID, it goes red. 

Considering the numbers from the community, it’s quite possible many of our facilities could be in the red soon. Currently, the Northeast facility (or, whatever you want to call it these days) is in the red. The plant is in the orange. We expect Church to be declared red on Monday morning. 

When a facility is in the red, social distancing comes back, as do the Level-2 facemasks. Staggered start times are also imposed. Lately, when a facility is in the red and there is a need for staggered start times, there is a bid for those start times. In March 2020, letter carriers had their start times imposed on them. Now, local management agents have agreed to run bids for start times, and that is a positive result we like to see.

Do what you can to protect yourself. The local has N95 masks if you would like some. Call Health Links at 204.788.8200 if you’re feeling sick or test positive, and take note of their advice. CUPW members are still granted five calendar days of leave if they test positive. Vaccination booster shots are also now widely available, and there isn’t a long wait to get the appointment.

Health Links:

Vaccine eligibility:

Book a vaccine appointment:



There seemed to be some confusion created by my report on Northeast developments last week.

Since this debacle began, letter carriers have been wondering if they will get paid for the additional driving that is now necessary to complete their daily work. In the beginning, the employer was not willing to pay this extra time. However, we kept asking about it and eventually, the employer picked up a different songbook.

Our route measurement people are going to meet with corporate route measurement people, and they are going to time the drives and adjust every carrier’s daily activity values in their route kits going back to September 12th.

Letter carriers don’t have to do anything to get this pay, and there is no requirement for them to fill out any additional paperwork. Also, there is no ability to claim the drive times as overtime. When we adjust the routes to add the additional drive time, it is unlikely any route will be going down in daily time value. 

This whole project will still take some time to complete. The local will use members from the route measurement committee to complete some of these tasks and timings.

The new building situation is less clear. Three spaces in the Terracon Business Park are available, but two of them are not available until January. Today, myself and Health and Safety Officer Reggie Taman toured the space that is available immediately. It isn’t perfect, but it’s not horrible, either. It provides some indoor space for our people to sort their mail and get organized for the day, and finding that space is a definite priority.

We also looked at the building at 975 Marion. This space is bigger and has things like a compound for parking corporate vehicles. 

Parking is going to continue to be a challenge. The space in Terracon Park doesn’t have dedicated parking. Currently, the thought is that corporate vehicles will have to be at the facility on Narin every day and carriers will have to park there and drive to the Terracon space to start sorting their mail. 

The engineers have to draw up a few plans for fitting different depots into different spaces. We have a copy of a floor plan that would put Northeast 4 into the Terracon space, but the building on Marion is bigger and better suited for that depot. Perhaps Northeast 5 would be better for Terracon and the slightly larger depot would be better in the bigger building. Northeast 7 is a depot of 10 RSMC routes, and it’s possible it could be operating out of the space on St. James if things don’t fit nicely into Terracon or Marion. Both the Terracon and Marion spaces could be occupied almost immediately, needing a couple of weeks’ worth of work to turn them into letter carrier depots.

Nothing has been finalized and plans can still change. We have discovered that supervisors don’t always get the notes from the consultations we have with their bosses, so if you hear something that doesn’t sound right from a management agent, reach out and ask. We know there are a lot of questions these days, and we hope that answers arrive before permanent snow does.



We received a bulletin this week for the Canadian Labour Congress’ Labour College program this week. Labour College is an intensive multi-week course that involves several online and in-person learning components. 

From the bulletin: 

It (Labour College) gives graduates the necessary tools to be effective leaders in their union, their labour council, and the wider labour movement for the benefit of all workers.

CUPW members in good standing are eligible to apply for this post-secondary program, which is offered in English.

The program aims to:

  • Build leadership skills and provide leadership tools;
  • Foster empowerment, self-confidence, and new networks of labour leaders;
  • Strengthen critical thinking skills;
  • Examine working class struggles and human rights issues that affect all workers;
  • Create change.

There are three sessions that will cover various topics.

Session One – Unions in the Political Economy

January and February, 2023 – online

February 26th to March 3rd – in person in B.C.


Session Two – Labour Leadership and Organizing Change

May and June, 2023 – online

July 16th to 22nd, 2023 – in person in Ontario


Session Three – Inside and Out

January and February, 2024 – online

February 25 to March 2nd, 2024 – in person in B.C.

Consider applying if you:

  • Are or have been active in their union (elected position, active volunteer, committee member, etc.);
  • Have attended one or more labour education courses;
  • Are active in social and economic justice issues in their community;
  • Are able to make the time over a year or more to attend and prepare for online and in-person courses and complete the independent learning requirements.

The application deadline is October 23rd at 10:59 p.m. All applicants are encouraged to speak with their local and regional offices before applying.

Applications are accepted online here:—cohort-10

If you have questions, please email

Good luck!



The local will be sending three members to the Manitoba Federation of Labour’s annual health and safety conference On February 2nd and 3rd, 2023.

This year, six workshops will be offered:

  • Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
  • Supporting Injured Workers with WCB Claims
  • Accommodation and Return to Work
  • An Overview of Manitoba’s Health and Safety Law
  • Workplace Health and Safety Incident Investigations
  • Using Ergonomics to Prevent Workplace Injuries

If you think you would like to take any of these workshops and up your health and safety game, consider applying to attend this conference.

Look for the application forms on bulletin boards and get them back to the local office by November 18th.

Good luck!



The next general membership meeting will be on November 5th at 10:00 a.m. We’re having the meeting that day because the following weekend is a long one, and on the weekend after that, local full-time officers will be traveling to Edmonton to take part in the regional resolution committee in the lead up to the Prairie Region Conference starting November 24th.

Because Manitoba is basically a red zone, we will hold the meeting online only.

At the meeting, we hope to elect or acclaim new chief shop stewards for both the plant and for Winnipeg collection and delivery.

We will share meeting registration links soon.


Stay warm out there, 856. It wasn’t nice to get a little reminder of the season to come this week, but the forecast has some decent autumnal forecasts for at least the near future. Let’s hope they’re right on.