The Week in Winnipeg

October 23rd to 29th, 2022


I was talking to Health and Safety Officer Reggie Taman this afternoon, and we both realized this was a weird week in the office. We’ve had a few cases with really unique circumstances come in. There have been some requests for information for rare situations. You never know what you are going to hear when you answer a phone in the local office. Sometimes, you have a pretty standard adventure. Sometimes, you feel a bit like Bilbo Baggins looking at the door of Bag End. “Well, I suppose we’re going on an adventure.” Bilbo’s adventure was maybe a little more exciting, but still, sometimes something can happen to you at work that takes you on a journey. And it could be anything, even a really leaky pipe.



Well, another week has passed and letter carriers, RSMCs, PO-4s, and LCAs who work out of the Northeast facility on Narin are still doing a lot of their work out of the depot in St. James. This is getting to be pretty routine, but it also needs to change, and right away. It’s getting colder. Snow is coming as is the busy time of year.
Currently, we expect Northeast Depot 5 to move to 38 Terracon Place on December 1st. The local has approved of the space, and the lease is being negotiated. 
There is a list of facility upgrades that need to happen before we can move in. Some are for function, some are for safety, all of them need to happen.
Units 164 and 50 in the Terracon Business Park are going to become available to us on January 1st, with a currently unknown move-in date. Unit 164 is large and can house Northeast Depot 5, and Northeast Depot 7, an all-RSMC depot, will fit in unit 50. 
Unit 50 is nothing but four walls and a roof. It doesn’t have any office space like the other two units, and it doesn’t have a bathroom. The employer has committed to bringing in a heated trailer for facilities.
The spaces aren’t perfect, but they will work. There isn’t enough space to have sortation cases for two waves of letter carriers, so there will be three waves. We have been in discussions with management agents about having longer overnight clerk and LCA shifts to facilitate an earlier starting time for carriers. In order to get people out of the buildings before it’s dark, some carriers might have to start as early as 7:00 a.m.
To some people, this might sound like a nightmare, but in the letter carrying world, you always seem to have quite a few people willing to start work very early in the morning, so we don’t anticipate this will be a problem. 
We’ve had success locally lately encouraging the employer to bid the start times for letter carriers and we’ll be asking for that process to continue here.
Moving in the winter is not fun, and this isn’t the greatest outcome for Northeast workers. This is how slow a corporation can move sometimes. There are so many people and pieces involved that everything just takes time. Frustrating, for sure.


We have completed consultations with plant managers as well as delivery managers regarding holiday operations.
Basically, a lot of the plans from last year worked well and are being continued this year. For instance, in the past, the corporation had created special Christmas assignments and refused to staff them with anything but temps. Last year, the corporation agreed to try it our way, letting full-time members bid on the special positions first, then part-time members, then temporary workers. The vacant assignments left by people doing the special assignments would then be filled in the same way.
Management was leery last year, but this year informed us there were no problems and they were happy to let that process continue this year. Hey, let’s take the little victories where we get them.
The same thing will be happening in the plant. Plant managers actually pitched this proposal last year and it worked well, so it is continuing this year. 
The car rental situation is strange. Every year, the employer rents multiple vehicles for temps to deliver parcels. Supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic have impacted the auto industry and the number of vehicles that are available at any one time is just lower than it used to be. So, in the past, the corporation would rent vans, but this year, they’re taking anything they can get.
Oh, to be a temp again, bombin’ around town in a 2022 Toyota Rav 4. That will be some temp’s story one day. I hope they find it a little more comfortable than a step van.
We had record volumes in 2020 when health precautions had every retail outlet in the province closed for weeks and weeks leading up to the big day. Last year, with stores open again, we saw a drop in volumes. This year, with a recession looming, interest rates rising, and the greedy greeders at the top taking more from us with “inflation,” the annual mountain of parcels that is December at the post office may be a little more Kilimanjaro and a little less Everest, if you know what I mean. It’ll be smaller if you don’t.
There will still be a lot more mail, and there will still be enough parcels to sink a battleship, but we may not see the same kinds of record numbers we have seen in the recent past. 


Thank you to all the members who wrote comments in the schedule books and provided alternate schedules for the next round of consultations with the employer. We finally have that meeting scheduled and it will be on November 7th at 8:00 a.m.
At the first consultation on next year’s schedule, the employer agreed to make quite a few adjustments, and we saw those commitments reflected in the new schedules. There were many fewer comments of concern in the books this time around.
Local officers will be coming to visit the sections that still have some concerns about their schedules. 
If you have questions or concerns about your section’s schedule, talk to your stewards or try to track down a local officer and let them know. If you are interested in attending the consultation, reach out. We can’t take everyone who wants to attend, but we do like to take some people who will be working these schedules to discussions about them.


There is a local meeting on Zoom next Saturday, November 5th, at 10:00 a.m. It’s on Zoom because many of our workplaces have a high rate of Covid instances and it is prevalent in the community as well. Local officers felt this virtual option was best for this time.
Bring your voting fingers because we’ll be looking for chief shop stewards for both the plant and for collection and delivery. Being a steward is one thing, but being the chief shop steward is another. Chief stewards try to arrange stewards for members who are being interviewed by the employer. They attend level one grievance hearings. They work under the direction of the vice president for organizing activities. It’s a different kind of union work, and it’s valuable.
If you think you would like to take your union stewarding career one step further, twist someone’s rubber arm and get them to nominate you for the position at the meeting next weekend.