January 15th to 21st, 2023
I read in the news this week that we are going to get that Winnipeg winter feel in February when a polar vortex moves in over Western Canada. I had a feeling a mild winter in Winnipeg sounded too good to be true!
WELCOME TO CUPW
Email email@example.com to sign up for the Welcome to CUPW course being offered locally on January 28th. The class will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00, 4:30ish, and will be taught by long-time local CUPW activist and worker advocate, Brother Myron May.
The class will be held at the Union Centre, 275 Broadway Avenue in Winnipeg, and participants will get parking and lunch.
Double mail for letter carriers is the new 15.14, and it’s happening a lot. It’s happening to discourage people from taking personal days. Because why would you take a personal day just to come back to two days’ worth of work?
There are ways to combat this. We need to stick together and tell the employer only one day’s worth of mail can be delivered at a time. The mail is supposed to go out every day, so that’s only fair.
I can send emails, but my emails only go so far. What can we do to stand up for our rights on a daily basis? Because this is forceback overtime by another name, and forceback overtime is supposed to be suspended right now.
If you want to grieve your way out of this, you have to incur overtime while delivering the portion. That’s how I won a grievance on this very issue. I had double mail for a portion. My supervisor insisted I deliver it. So I did, and it took me more than two hours to deliver it. I grieved that and was awarded another two hours of pay at an overtime rate.
This is a definite problem, and we need to find a solution.
SOCIAL STEWARD REPORT
The following was filed by Sean Tugby, the local’s workload structuring officer and a social steward.
Hello, before I get into the content and topics of the first National convention, I thought I’d give some background on what a social Steward is and what they do, who some of them are and what’s the plans.
A social steward is a member of CUPW so has had training in different types of listening techniques and a lot of knowledge of resources for people that may need them. The topics social stewards may be able to assist on our mental health, addiction in many forms, domestic violence. In addition to these services, after contact with a member in need of assistance there is a follow up call to see how the member is doing and follow up if necessary. With the sensitive topics that may be spoken about our Social Stewards are highly confidential and trustworthy.
Social Stewards also are aware of programs such as the “special needs project” for members for kids with special needs where funding may be available to help cover higher day care costs, personal support by phone from a special needs advisor, biannual newsletter as well educational information. The “moving on project” is to assist members who have children with special needs that are over the age of 18 . These projects offer resources and services for parents in all provinces. Funding for adult children whose parents are reliant on daycare, as well respite, life skills training, transportation, tutoring and uninsured health expenses.
Why is the union doing this and not filing grievances? How much does this cost? Who does this? What qualifications do they have? How can I become one? Does anyone use this program? what is the need for a national convention?
– The union has many facets and is not strictly about filing grievance, unions offer programs such as social stewards, postal banking, various committees, and some of its executives volunteer their own time to support other unions, so when we are in need, so we have their support.
– Virtually nothing is how much it costs, locally we conduct meetings off hours, assist members after or before our work shifts.
– I am a social steward, Stacey Jackson in the WMPP is another social steward. Winnipeg has only a handful but there is training upcoming .
– Some of my back ground, I was a crisis councilor for Klinic (a crisis line) for 6 years, I am currently a Team Leader for Winnipeg Police Victim Service Section (22 years ) where I deal with everything from suicides , suspicious deaths, robberies, assaults , break and enters rapes and many many more . We refer victims to more permanent solutions and first contact counseling.
– Yes, many people use this program, and the people who I have contacted have been amazing, and I feel fortunate to be a part of them finding the resources they need.
– There are occasional postings for social steward training opportunities, the next one being the last week of June, posters will be put up closer to that date.
– The need for the convention was after the initial training many people return to their cities, towns, and provinces, alone with little to no contact with other social stewards after they spend 5 very full days of information overload. The idea behind the conference was to find a way to create a national support network so if you’re a social steward in tiny town Manitoba then you have someone to help you along the way. We shared how we gather and organize local support, ideas such as the social steward cards, which are cards members can keep in their pockets with numbers to everything from crisis counselors, EFAP , accessHr for pay inquiries to women’s shelters. These Social stewards’ cards and the idea for them came from Winnipeg and many locals from BC to Windsor Ontario to St. Johns will now be developing these resources for their members.
On to the conference, Manitoba sent two delegates to conference, Conference was held in Montreal, although it would have been nice to see more of it the purpose was to gather as many tools for our toolboxes as we could before having to return home three days later. Most of us gathered in the conference room an hour before we started for the day and spent many hours into the evening after conference trying to gather and expand on ideas during and after dinner. This was the first National conference I have ever taken part in, the speakers all presented in French and those of us that didn’t understand French had to wear headsets where the speakers’ lectures were translated for us to hear. This was a hard transition for me, as I can still hear the French language still in the background. After some thinking about the minor inconvenience I was having, the idea of what if must be like for French speakers dealing with most of their interactions when leaving their home province. The topics ranged from “The special Needs project” “the moving on project” “Scientific presentation of ten years researching and supporting social stewards” “ Working together as a union” “ compassion fatigue” strengthening of the social steward network”
I hope this helps with your understanding of this program, we often look at programs and cast judgment on what our personal thoughts are on a program, “I don’t need it” “who cares”, but the reality is, I’ve been doing this work for a few years, the members I’ve spoken to have been grateful for the services and conversations we have had. Our plans soon include getting the resources we’ve gathered on the local website for member self-service, try and be present for return-to-work programs, to create local ongoing learning and training opportunities for current and future social Stewards. Should you have any questions, please come to me directly, its much easier to answer the questions when I get them firsthand.
– Sean Tugby
EDUCATION IN EDMONTON
Apply now for the classes being offered in Edmonton, Alberta on March 10th, 11th, and 12th, 2023.
The three-day classes offered by the Prairie Region are: Basic Shop Steward; Temporary Workers and Their Rights, and Solidarity Skills Level 2. You have to have taken Solidarity Skills Level 1 in order to take the second part.
We’re lucky to have such an aggressive steward training program in the region. Throughout the pandemic, it has been difficult to organize these kinds of events. Taking them online had some serious drawbacks and hosting them in person was logistically nightmarish at times. A back-to-basics and fundamentals-forward approach to education is a good response to the unexpected gap in the overall education plan.
If you’ve ever considered taking Basic Shop Steward, this would be a good time to sign up. A three-day class on shop stewarding has more in it and you can learn more than what is offered in a one-day class.
If you’re a temporary worker, or if you’re a shop steward who fields a lot of questions from temporary workers sometimes, you might want to consider taking Temporary Workers and Their Rights. Article 44 of the Urban collective agreement and the rules for OCREs are unique. Article 44 refers to other areas of the contract that do and do not apply to temporary workers. It’s a real mess, and this class helps you sort it all out. Mostly, it helps you help and empower others with knowledge as they spend their first few years of their career with the corporation.
Apply now if you want to help other people a lot; that’s what this particular round of classes is all about. Applications have to be in by February 9th.
HOW DUES WORK
I’ve had some members approach me with concerns about dues, how they are calculated, and how they are affected by local notices of motion. I’ve heard that many members showed up at the January general membership meeting because they were concerned that the motions being brought forward were going to end up increasing local members’ dues.
This is not true. Our dues rate is established in the national constitution under article 7.06. The article states:
In the case of the bargaining unit of Urban Postal Operations employees of Canada Post Corporation, the monthly union dues for all members and all employees subject to compulsory check-off of union dues shall be 300% of the maximum hourly rate for the lowest classification within the bargaining unit. However, the union dues shall not be less than 300% of the maximum hourly rate of a mail handler.
Three hundred percent of an hourly wage is three hours of pay. This formula could not and would not change if members of the Winnipeg Local made a change to their local bylaws. For example, there is a motion to be debated at next month’s general membership meeting that would see the annual compensation for the four full-time officers of the local reduced by $5,000 each. Approving this motion and lowering the salaries of the full-time officers will not lower local dues.
Because the rate for dues is tied to wages, dues will increase slightly when our wages go up. Read more about that here: https://www.cupw.ca/en/2023-dues-increase
Winnipeg also has a dues assessment, which is also tied to the wage. The monthly assessment is 37 percent of a PO-5 hourly wage. After February 1st, this will be $11.30.
For many of us, the union advantage is clear. Working in a unionized environment brings about better working conditions than working in a shop where the boss has unilateral decision making. Financially, despite the dues, working in a unionized shop is also better. For an extensive breakdown, I encourage you to read this May, 2022 report from Brother Roland Schmidt, our current 3rd national vice-president: https://www.cupw730.ca/home/article/170
If that piece is too long to read, essentially, CUPW members earning the top rate enjoy about $15,000 in pay annually than people working comparable jobs without a union.
Dues are also tax deductible. Local members will end up paying $909 into the union this year, and roughly $300 of that will stay in Winnipeg, the balance will stay with national office.
The finances of the union are explained further in Article 7 of the national constitution, which can be found here: https://www.cupw.ca/en/campaign/resources/cupw-national-constitution-revised-2019-0
We’ve been talking about it. My latest Eye Opener article was all about it. Our contracts are expiring soon and we have to prepare for bargaining.
It’s time to start thinking about writing contract demand resolutions. In the office, I’ve unearthed the demands we had in 2021 that were ultimately discarded when the corporation offered us a contract extension that members underwhelmingly voted in favour of. We will be hosting some writing workshops in February to help members with the drafting process.
It’s your contract, it’s your work life. If you want to have a say, now is the time.
Again, I’m referencing Brother Roland Schmidt in this report because his bulletin from the other day speaks a lot of truth. In it, he writes, “Our Union is only as strong as our members are unified around a goal and organized to achieve that goal. How effective we will be moving forward will be proportional to how much we prepare.”
Read the full bulletin here: https://www.cupw.ca/en/fighting-forward-2023