December 4th to 10th, 2022
It was nice to walk into the office on Monday morning to see local Health and Safety Officer, Reggie Taman back from a week in rural Quebec where he was attending the Union Education Program. A while later, local Secretary-Treasurer Ha Yen Jiwa, who was also attending class in Quebec, walked into the office as well. They both reported to me that the experience was positive and they are looking forward to their next session in early February.
The Union Education Program is big. It’s designed to give participants a solid foundation in the union’s history, current challenges, and future goals. The members who take it often become more involved with their locals and union. Both Brother Taman and Sister Jiwa expressed they will share the knowledge they acquired with local members when they have the chance.
This program is only offered once every four years, so when the union announces it is accepting applications next time, apply! It’s tough to get in, but from what I have heard over the years, it’s worth attending. Participants gain invaluable knowledge and create friendships that last a lifetime.
December 6th is a solemn day in this country. We pause on that day and reflect on a horrible act of violence against young women that happened in Montreal in 1989. We reflect on the event and what it meant and means, and we vow to do better. We remember those events so that we can teach our children how to do better, be better, create a better world.
But contrasting those sober and somber moments is the harsh reality that is Winnipeg. Over the last week, the Winnipeg Police Service has stated it will not search the Brady Landfill or Prairie Green Landfill for the remains of Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, and Buffalo Woman, whose identity still needs to be identified. Police are alleging one person murdered these three women, and in May of this year, he was charged with the murder of Rebecca Contois.
Searching landfills for remains of loved ones who have been murdered is one of the saddest things our society has to contend with. Sifting through a city’s rubbish for evidence of a life is heartbreaking. The decision to leave them there is deplorable.
And what does it say about the world we want to live in? What kind of message does all of this send to our children?
We gather to remember these young women who were murdered just for going to school 30 years ago, but we will not search a landfill to find women of equal value who also met an untimely end just this year.
We need to do both things. We need to remember and mourn the women who died in Montreal all those years ago, but we all need to respect the lives of Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, and Buffalo Woman. Their families deserve that closure. I would want that. I think you would, too. Why don’t they deserve that dignity? People need things, it’s just the way we are. When a loved one passes, there is nothing that can be done to replace that, but we want to have a burial. We want to have a physical piece of that person somewhere so they can be remembered. We retrieve bodies from airplane crash sites and nautical disasters. We pull remains from wreckage caused by fires. We do what we have to to give families some peace.
A landfill is not a graveyard. It never should be. The Winnipeg Police Service should be searching Brady and Prairie Green landfills for those women. For them, for their families, for women, and for society at large. It’s just the right thing to do.
The Winnipeg Local has two general membership meetings coming up in the next couple of weeks. Tomorrow, December 10th, we have a Zoom meeting at 10:00 a.m. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get a registration form for that meeting.
We’re looking to elect a chief shop steward for the letter carrier depots at tomorrow’s meeting. Brother Roman McColl has been doing an excellent job filling the role while the local awaits a new chief steward. Maybe it will be you!
We’re also looking to elect a vice president for the local after Cameron Fortier resigned early last month. The vice president is an important position as the VP oversees both the communication and organizing files. A good candidate for that position will be a whiz on the ol’ computer, and someone who likes going out and talking to members. Organizing for potential job action is a task that requires long hours and dedication, and we could find ourselves in that position soon.
Good luck and thank you to everyone who puts their name forward to fill these roles.
On Saturday, December 17th, the local is hosting a meeting to elect 17 delegates to our national convention in May, 2023. In order to be one of these 17 delegates, you had to have been a delegate to the regional conference that took place a couple of weeks ago in Edmonton. We will be hosting that meeting in person at the local office at 10:00 a.m.
WMPP MANAGERS – AWOL
I don’t know what is going on with the managers at WMPP these days. They stood us up again this week on Wednesday morning. Last week, I had the same story. We were prepared to meet with them on Wednesday, November 30th, and when they didn’t show then, we made a same-time-same-place deal for December 7th. Stood up again.
Same story as last week, folks. This blatant ignoring of the union and our meetings indicates a healthy disrespect of local officers, you, and the collective agreement. We are not asking for a lot. We’re asking for a venue to discuss concerns that we glean from you, the workers. Management, through its silence, is yelling at us that they just do not give a shit.
Hopefully they have a change of heart when it comes time to consult on the rotation of duties when we have that meeting Monday afternoon.
Newly minted Chief Shop Steward, Internal, Archie Dimaano brought a concern forward to the local executive meeting on Thursday, December 8th. He had been approached by some members at that plant requesting the local negotiate four-hour rotations of duties for their sections.
Local officers will not be doing that, nor will we ever negotiate for four-hour rotations. We are obligated to negotiate for two-hour rotations as per the collective agreement and health and safety standards. Everyone who works in the plant is entitled to a two-hour rotation so they can avoid repetitive sprain injuries. It has to be that way on paper, and the local can only negotiate two-hour rotations.
We know that on the work floor, members will occasionally trade duties with one another. Maybe they are trading favourite duties or trading so they can work with a friend instead of someone they don’t know. If this happens, it happens. We are not going to show up and start preachin’ about why it shouldn’t. But, we can’t endorse it officially in the paperwork.
So, for those of you who are asking for four-hour rotations, unfortunately, we cannot negotiate that for you. We have to negotiate two-hour rotations.
We have some big concerns about how WMPP management agents have used the equal opportunity lists this year. If someone was off on a long-term leave, their opportunity numbers were not increased as they should have been. Now that the busy season is here, those members are getting the bulk of the overtime opportunities, bypassing many others.
If you’re not talking to your stewards about this, you might want to. People are being unfairly bypassed for work opportunities, and those people could be you. We’re trying to get management to correct this so that people are treated fairly, but when the managers don’t show up to meetings, like ever, it’s hard to have that discussion.
The struggle continues.
The employer released a guide to understanding the new personal day allotment being added to our accounts on January 1st, 2023. The office has had some questions about it.
Last year, the Trudeau government decided Canadian workers needed to have access to 10 sick days a year, and amended the Canada Labour Code to express just that.
This year, the corporation we work for unilaterally implemented a plan to add six personal days a year to every full-time employee’s account.
A few years ago, CUPW members had access to sick days at work. That was changed to personal days, I believe in the 2011 arbitrated contract. If this is incorrect, someone message me and I’ll run a correction.
The union preferred the sick days to the personal days because they could be banked and used as credits toward topping up your pay if on a short-term disability leave. Personal days can’t be used like that, the carry over rules are less in our favour, all the stuff. So, the union prefers sick days, which is what the government intended.
The union has filed a grievance on this, and those kinds of things can take a long time to work out. When something changes, we will let you know.
In the meantime, you are going to get six personal days on January 1st and they will all expire on June 30th. You cannot carry these six days over or get paid for them. Use them. Supervisors have been instructed to use those six days before they start using the personal days already in your account. You will still be able to carry over up to five days on June 30th, but you would have to have those days in your account on December 31st. I hope that’s clear. If it’s not, give us a shout at the office.
Sorting out the sick days vs. personal days debacle will take longer than six months to figure out. Until then, just use the time available to you.
Covid cases are still pretty high in our community and in our depots. Consider wearing a mask when out doing banal things like grocery shopping or while at work so that you’ll be good to go when you have something social going on.