The Week in Winnipeg

January 8th to 14th, 2023


Every week, I make a little list of things to mention in this report. When I have a spare minute here and there, I try to get some of it done. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many items on my list. There is a lot of stuff going on or coming up. 


The general membership meeting on Saturday drew 95 people in person and 32 on Zoom. It’s great to see that kind of interest and involvement in union processes and procedures. Thank you to everyone who shared their time on Saturday with the local. It is stronger because of it.

A lot of members were there to debate a motion that was withdrawn by the mover. There had been some errors made and the mover’s intention was not represented by what was on the order papers. 

The motion that was put forward was meant to remove a clause from our local bylaws that indicates full-time officers of the local receive a $5,000 annual payment for liabilities.

When it was discovered that the motion would eliminate that clause but then overall raise local officer compensation, the mover chose to withdraw the motion. Increasing local officer compensation was not what was intended. If debate had proceeded on that motion, I would have spoken against it.

The other motion up for debate on Saturday was defeated. If passed, that motion would have made it so that RSMCs would be paid their vehicle allowance rate for a day if they were booked off from working for the employer to work for the union. The idea is that this is a regular income for RSMCs and having to forfeit that pay when working for the union discourages involvement.

After the meeting, I learned that a few people were at the meeting because they believed that if these motions passed, they would trigger an increase in their union dues.

Passing these motions wouldn’t have changed anything for local members. The rate at which dues are calculated is set out in article 7.06 of the national constitution.

Dues will increase slightly on February 1st when the pay rate for the PO-5 classification increases. 

There was a motion presented at the meeting on January 7th that proposes to eliminate four clauses in our local bylaws. These clauses all exist in the job descriptions of the four local full-time officers, and they all indicate the officer shall be paid an annual sum of $5,000 for incurred liabilities throughout the year. After taxes, the net for local officers is $3,003.

That motion will be debated at the next general membership meeting on February 18th at 2:00 p.m. at the Robert A. Steen Community Centre at 908 Palmerston Avenue in Winnipeg. 


On February 15th, 2023, the Winnipeg local of postal workers will be holding a referendum on the question of RSMCs receiving their vehicle allowance for one day of work for the union.
The local office will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 12:00 a.m., and all members in good standing are welcome to come and cast their ballot.
Specifically, members will be voting on this:

Any member, including Rsmc’s who is required by the union to be absent from service, shall be reimbursed, any lost wages, including their routes vehicle allowance for that day. This does not apply to an rsmc elected, or appointed to a full-time officer position or any union assignment longer than a two week period.
In the case of ocre’s, or Pre’s, they will be compensated the equivalent of the vehicle allowance they incurred on the most recent day they worked for the employer.

If you agree with this clause, vote yes in hopes it becomes enshrined in the local bylaws. If you think this is not a good idea, vote no in hopes it does not become a bylaw.

The local office is located in unit 207 of 83 Sherbrook Street. Bring your employee card so our volunteers can confirm your name and provide you a ballot.


Local officers are supposed to meet regularly with members of management. We had a hard time tracking down plant managers last month, this month we found them and met with them on Thursday. We met with collection and delivery management agents on Tuesday this week.
For letter carriers and RSMCs, a lot of the discussion in the meeting was about the schedules and preparation plans for the large restructures scheduled for this spring. A lot of preliminary work has started for those. Routes that service St. Vital, routes out of the building on Nairn, the MSC routes, and the RSMC routes that are out of Southwest-St. James are all going under the knife this year.
We talked about equal opportunity lists and the way that equal opportunity is supposed to work. The employer says it is committed to maintaining those lists appropriately moving forward. We will talk to all shop stewards about how equal op is supposed to work, and hopefully no one is going to get shorted in the coming months.
Remember when we were asking about installing grab handles in the new step vans to help out our people who aren’t quite as long in the leg as others? Well, we finally got an answer on that and it was, “No.” So, no, you can’t have a proper handle in those vans. Hey, if it sounds stupid, it probably is.
There was discussion on the solutions to help alleviate some of the stresses people working B-routes out of Southwest feel. One of the things we were hearing from members that would solve a lot of issues would be to have the sequenced mail delayed by a day to allow for some organization and correction of mistakes inside instead of out on the street. The answer to this question was, “No.” We have some other ideas and things to pitch, so this story isn’t over.
We also spoke to management about settling the pay for letter carriers out of Nairn for the extra driving they had to do while their depot was flooded and being renovated through September, October, and November last year. Local managers have accepted our finding and are now looking at that data. We asked about a realistic timeframe for seeing payment, and the managers are now thinking maybe the last cheque in February.
It takes a lot of patience to work at the post office.
We met with plant managers on Thursday. Earlier in the week, we received word that some members had a conversation with a supervisor who told them trailers of product were cross docked at a contractor’s facility in November and December.
This kind of thing is a huge violation of our collective agreement. It’s basically stealing your work and selling it to someone else. And locally, it has happened in the last few years.
Managers swore up and down that this did not happen this year. They had the contractor on standby in case they wanted to use them, but they decided not to in the end. Typically, the managers are fairly open about all of this, fully admitting to this weird type of theft in the past.
We also talked about equal opportunity lists and how they will be administered going forward. The process of reviewing the mistakes from last year is almost complete. There are some cases from Shift 3 that still have to be resolved, but the majority of the mistakes have been corrected.
There are also some health and safety concerns in the plant. Mostly, the concerns are that nothing seems to get dealt with. Items that are raised one month are not dealt with by the next month and nobody is really sure why the concerns raised by the health and safety committee are not being dealt with.
If you have any health and safety concerns in the plant, please make sure committee members know and if they’re not getting dealt with, or if you have any other concerns about health and safety, the committee, or the process, please email Reggie Taman at
We also had a meeting with route measurement officers this week regarding some preparation for the restructure of Northeast depots 4 and 5. In that meeting, a regional manager announced that the corporation will be looking to convert those depots to Separate Sort and Delivery, or SSD.
This was the first we heard about this officially. We don’t typically hear about it in these meetings as these discussions are supposed to happen at a national level before they reach us. It seems that the regional route measurement folks were going rogue, making decisions that their bosses usually make for them.
So, that’s it. It’s on, Northeast. The boss is coming to change the way you deliver mail forever. SSD means eight hours on the street. It means never seeing a coworker. It means your mail is sorted by someone else every single day.
The corporation is pushing SSD all around the country. In some places, like the Lower Mainland, it might be okay to be outside with no access to shelter for eight hours in February. In Winnipeg, that prospect seems outright dangerous.
We have serious concerns about SSD, its dangers, what it does to our people, and what it means for the future. It’s the best way to ruin an already challenging job.
We have to step up, Northeast. We have to make some noise and tell the bosses daily that SSD isn’t what the depot needs. 


RSMCs at the St. James Depot were informed this week that when they return to working out of the Southwest Depot in April that they will no longer be receiving pay for manual mail sortation as a majority of their short and long mail will be sequenced.
This does result in a decrease in pay, and it is not related to the Deerfoot Model of delivery. It is an agreement made in contract talks, and it has been around for a few years.
We have some questions about sortation pay that we don’t have answers for locally. I have reached out to national officers, but only this afternoon, so hopefully I will have some more details to share in the future. I spent some time searching for answers about this today and couldn’t find anything official or anything that helped me understand the formula used. If you know, please share! We have people who have questions!
The other bit of news this week for RSMCs dealt with the reaching device. When I was a kid, we called them claw hands, but what do kids know?
We know reaching devices are in use in other locals, but we haven’t heard about them being used here. For more information:


The local is hosting its first class of the year on January 28th from 9:00 a.m. until we’re done (probably 4:00, 4:30) at the Union Centre, 275 Broadway Avenue in Winnipeg.
For January 2023, we are offering Welcome to CUPW, a course designed to introduce people to the union, its goals, and its policies.
The course is open to anyone who wants to participate. If you know of anyone who is new to the union, this could be a great course for them to take. It is introductory in nature.
If you’re interested in taking the class, please email to reserve a seat.


That’s it for me for a few weeks. I am on the national constitution committee, and we start our 15-consecutive-day meeting in Ottawa on the 21st. I was on this committee four years ago representing the Pacific Region. Locals produce resolutions that then go to regional conferences. We had the Prairie Region Conference in November, and the seven other regions were running their conferences around the same time. All together, the regions have produced 177 resolutions for the committee to look over, debate, and eventually prioritize for the delegates to the national convention in May.
I started looking over the resolutions last night and we have some good language to work with. There are some good and progressive ideas coming out of many regions. It seems there is a strong appetite in the union to prorate dues for members. There are many resolutions that give a good framework for union officers to be able to be elected to office and do their work without having to move to Ottawa or a city with a regional office.
As someone who has been through this process before, I’m excited that we have the potential to put the members first and improve the language of the constitution, and members’ experiences with the union.
I have some issues with the way the union operates, and this is my response – get as involved as possible and try to help make positive changes.
I think it’s a great honour to serve on this 16-member committee, and I’m humbled to be representing my region for a second time in this way. I’m not crazy about the 15-day-in-a-row schedule, but it is what it is. And I will be voting against the resolution that says union officers should get a day off in the week if they have to do something for the union on a weekend day. That nasty little guy showed up last time and he’s in the book again! I’m just opposed. This particular resolution didn’t make it to the floor of the convention to be debated in 2019, and it’s unlikely it will make it this time. Just the way it goes, eh?

Entirely possible I will have time to write a report from Ottawa and share it before I get back. If you don’t hear from me, hey, at least you know where I am.