November 20th to December 3rd, 2022
I missed you last week! I was in Edmonton attending the Prairie Region Conference with 150 other delegates from around the region and time is really quite limited at those events. I just could not find the time to focus and write you something decent, so I held off until I found time this week, at 4:00 p.m. on Friday. Yeesh!
Postal workers of Winnipeg, you were well represented at the Prairie Region Conference last week in Edmonton, Alberta.
I felt a lot of pride in our delegation as members who had never been to conference before stepped up to the speakers’ mic and delivered impassioned speeches on proposed changes to our constitution. When they were finished, the other delegates in attendance applauded and banged on their tables. WMPP temporary worker Chrissy McVety stood up for temps and provided a lot of good food for thought on why dues should be prorated. RSMC Mahdia Hassan brought the house down when she talked about how everyone, no matter how they want the world to see them, deserves dignity and love. Honestly, it was one of the more touching moments of the whole conference.
During the conference, delegates debated resolutions that could see the union buy and operate its own education centre. They put forward ideas about increasing the number of regional officers and the type of work those officers will do. There are bold ideas about prorating dues and increasing strike pay, giving everyone a little bit of their own money if the union employs single-day, rotating strikes in the future. Those are ideas that show the union respects the members’ hard-earned money. Changes. The union changes when we participate in democratic processes like we did last week.
A lot of those resolutions came out of Winnipeg. Roughly half of the resolutions that were presented to the delegates at the conference were from the Winnipeg Local. We brought it.
Also, a whole lot of our delegates were elected to national and regional committees. Here’s the rundown:
Chrissy McVety – alternate National Policy Committee
Lisa Peterson – Regional Work Measurement Committee
Parvinder Kaur – alternate National Board of Trustees
Lisa Peterson – National Disciplinary Committee
Karin Long – alternate National Women’s Committee
Cameron Fortier – National Human Rights Committee, Indigenous Working Group
Mike Vandall – National Human Rights Committee, Differently Abled Working Group
Mahdia Hassan – alternate National Human Rights Committee, Workers of Colour Working Group
Archie Dimaano – alternate National Human Rights Committee, Workers of Colour Working Group
If you see these folks at work, consider congratulating them. They have put their hands up and volunteered their time to try and help improve the union and the working conditions for all of us. That is a long list of quality people. You are well represented.
Also, if you’re an RSMC, consider thanking Hartley Kass, Karin Long, Mahdia Hassan, Eric Toupin, and Robert Atanacio (I really hope I’m not forgetting anyone) as those delegates took it upon themselves to organize meetings between RSMCs from around the region. They talked about what can be done about fuel prices and what rights RSMCs are being forced to compromise on when it comes to Deerfoot conversion.
This is how things get done in our union – people from across the country meet and share information, and things start to happen. As postal workers, we can leverage our shared experiences and turn them into improvements for our working conditions, but only when we know what we’re dealing with. Your local RSMCs started dealing over the weekend. I’m excited to see what solutions they can come up with out of the meetings I’m sure they will start hosting soon.
Overall, it was a positive conference. Maybe because Winnipeg loomed large in the room, eh?
NORTHEAST BACK IN ACTION
The flood debacle in Northeast is coming to a quick conclusion over the weekend. As I type this, movers are taking the flyer bunkers, depot carts, and other assorted mail processing equipment and taking it back to the building on Narin Avenue. The move in is supposed to start at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.
It has been a challenging time for the letter carriers, RSMCs, and LCAs who work out of the Northeast depot. All of the extra drive time increased the length of work days and brought frustration with it. There may be a bit of a hangover on Monday morning because some mail preparation couldn’t take place at the end of the day on Friday, but other than that, it should be business as usual.
A huge thank you to everyone in Northeast 5 who heeded all the requests to stay away from those doors (you know the ones) and from the forbidden part of the building. We were told when the depot moved back that there would be a big problem if any of us ventured onto the side of the building that was still being renovated. There was no problem.
The union has received the calculations for the drive times and what people should be expecting in route adjustments for the time they had to drive to St. James and McDermot. We will be looking at the data and will work with the employer to have you all paid for that extra work as soon as possible. I do not know when it might happen, but we hope it happens before the end of the year. There are two more paycheques coming this year, one on the 8th and one on the 22nd. Fingers crossed it comes on one of those dates.
Local officers had two meetings scheduled with management this week, one with collection and delivery managers, and one with plant managers. The collection and delivery meeting was pretty standard, but on Wednesday morning, we got stood up. Even though the meeting had been scheduled for months, WMPP managers just didn’t show up.
While they didn’t say anything, it speaks to how management sometimes feels about the union and their employees. We bring your concerns to these meetings. We solicit ideas from you. I’ve used this weekly newsletter to solicit ideas from you. Management knows this, and when they show up, it suggests they just don’t care.
Rude is what it is. Unprofessional is another word for that action. Classic boss behaviour.
So, we’re having a meeting with them next week, and so far, they have not committed to showing up. Maybe we’re going to be snubbed again.
Do you remember the cockroach trailer from this summer? Do you remember what happens when workers all gather together, walk over to the boss and tell them how it’s going to be? We might have to have a couple of little chats with managers in big groups to let them know the union, me, you, all of us, are serious about having meaningful consultation when it is scheduled. They make you come to meetings to listen to them, why can’t they do the same? We have legitimate concerns and a venue to share them, but it’s all just words on paper if there is no commitment from the other side.
We are just into the busy part of the year, and it is definitely not cool for management to show us through action, that they just don’t care about us.
In the collection and delivery meeting, we asked if there would be RDO on Boxing Day and January 1st, and management agents were a bit coy, saying it was likely, but they are currently uncertain.
We also had some discussion about the parking situation at Northeast. This is what a management agent shared in the meeting: The land in between Northeast and the bowling alley is owned by a property company and the agreement when they signed the contract, they are allowed so much confirmed parking for Canada Post and the bowling alley. The area in between was considered communal, but there is a two-hour limit in that area. The bowling alley started enforcing their parking before, and in COVID, they weren’t open, and we could park there. Now, the parking is limited. They have daytime bowling leagues and they do have a contractor for ticketing and towing.
Basically, parking is limited. We asked about renting parking spaces across the street and were told a bunch of sites like Tony Roma’s and the vacant 7-11 have been approached and will not consider leasing parking spots to us. The search continues.
We also talked about some of the things we have been hearing about the B-routes in Southwest, and the frustrations letter carriers are feeling about those challenges. Management is willing to consult on these issues. That doesn’t mean they are committing to making some changes, but they are willing to talk about it.
We also visited the B-route carriers in Southwest this week and collected a lot of good information about what needs to be mentioned at that meeting when it happens, likely next week. The concerns are real. Without being able to organize mail in the morning, door-to-door delivery is super challenging. Having to hold three bundles of mail at times only leaves your face free to open gates and knock on doors. Parcels from the plant don’t show up in time for Wave One B-routes to just grab and go with their mail. This is putting pressure on the end of everyone’s days. Standing around and waiting is frustrating in any situation, but when you have mail to deliver, it can feel even worse.
Overall, there are some issues with B-routes and the way they work, but the solutions seem to be simple and easy to implement. We hope management agents will see the logic we bring forward.
GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING
There is a general membership meeting on December 10th at 10:00 a.m. via Zoom. It is getting to be really difficult to know what the best and safest way is to conduct our general membership meetings, and I would like to see the local embrace a hybrid model for meetings, where some members can attend via Zoom, and others attend in person. This could increase participation in the meetings as it provides a way for people who live outside of Winnipeg to attend with little cost to themselves.
Last November, Cameron Fortier was acclaimed as local vice-president. Recently, Brother Fortier resigned from his position, and it is up for grabs at the December 10th meeting. Already, we are hearing people are interested in the position.
The vice-president position is in charge of the organization and communication files. They attend all consultations with the employer. They are also responsible for publishing the Eye Opener four times a year. It’s a big role, and it’s heavy on communications. If you’re familiar with computers, good at communicating, and are interested in organizing our members for the contract renewal battle we will be having in a few months, maybe being the vice-president is something you should think about! See you at the meeting.
December 6th marks the 33rd anniversary of a dark day in our country’s past. On December 6th, 1989, a disturbed individual took the lives of 14 women as they sat in a class at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique.
It’s a sad story that we don’t forget. We don’t forget it because the shooter harboured negative feelings toward women, and didn’t believe they should become whatever they want to become. In this case, the women were studying to be engineers.
Every year, Canadians gather on December 6th to mourn the senseless loss of life in 1989, and to remember to keep doing more to try and end violence toward women in our society.
Take some time to remember those women on Tuesday. They were young and living their lives. They were just attending school. Their lives were cut short because one person didn’t like the way society was progressing.
You can read a lot about this dark event in a lot of places, but if you know nothing about it, Wikipedia is generally an okay place to start your learning. Be warned, this Wikipedia entry contains details that some people may find too disturbing to read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89cole_Polytechnique_massacre#Victims
Women are our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, and our friends. We can all do better for one another in this world, but it starts with all of us as individuals. Guys, it’s time we call out our friends when they say dumb and disrespectful things about our sisters. Don’t let misogynistic comments slide. You don’t have to be confrontational, but it is our collective responsibility to remind one another, if we need it, that we need to be respectful and speak about people in respectful ways. It all starts with us. If we view one another as equal and deserving of equal respect, there is less of a chance of incidents like what happened in Montreal 33 years ago from happening again.