February 5th to 11th, 2023
First report in a couple of weeks here because I was in the nation’s capital for a few days doing some preparation work for our national convention in May. I think the work the committee did was really good, and members should be excited about the potential changes being proposed this year.
REFERENDUM – NEXT WEEK
Have your say in the special referendum the local is holding next week on Wednesday, February 15th. Local members will be voting on this question:
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.
The polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. The a.m. marker in this instance indicates morning, making the 12:00 time midnight.
The polling station will be in the boardroom of the local office at 207-83 Sherbrook Street. There is a parking lot in the front of the building. There is a buzzer panel at the front door of the building. Call up to unit 207 and we’ll buzz you in so you can vote.
Bring a piece of identification with you so our volunteers will be able to validate your identity and provide you with a ballot.
See you on the 15th.
The Northeast Winnipeg Depot is scheduled to undergo a restructure in the coming months, and we are still not sure what kind of restructure it will be. We think the corporation will be proposing an SSD restructure for the depots because that is what all of the official documentation is showing. However, there is supposed to be a consultation at the national level that happens before the SSD tag shows up on official documentation.
Someone, somewhere, is lying.
Local officers visited the depot this morning because we know that the employer will be attempting to implement SSD and we need to get ahead of the game. The message we were bringing to the members was stand up, make noise, and make a plan.
The employer will claim it needs more floor space. It will be coming after your sortation cases, and adding a second depot cart to every route. If there is a reasonable proposal that increases some floor space, local officers can bring that forward. If there is a petition with it that shows the workers support the plan – even better.
Local officers will be visiting the depot more over the next couple of months to keep members there informed with up-to-date information.
Keep thinking. Keep telling the boss you’re not interested in having to deliver mail sorted by someone else every day. I used to work with a guy who would help me sort and tie out sometimes. I don’t know how he did it, but his magazines were backwards. Every time. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but poorly organized mail is a dangerous thing. It’s frustrating, it leads to mistakes, and often that mistake is a fall onto hard concrete that can’t be broken with a fistful of mail. Letter carrying is a personal thing, and safest when one person controls their work methods. The employer’s proposal is dangerous, and unnecessary. We have to fight it.
Come out to the local general membership meeting on Saturday, February 18th at 2:00 p.m. at 980 Palmerston Avenue in Winnipeg. We have all the regular stuff to talk about, and we will be debating two notices of motion that were put forward at the last general membership meeting.
The first motion deals with hybrid meetings, making them legitimate as far as our local bylaws go. The proposed addition to the bylaws establishes some rules for participating in this hybrid fashion, and will provide guidance for local executive committees in the future. Without language regarding hybrid meetings in the bylaws, the local is not required to host hybrid meetings. Come out to the meeting on the 18th to listen to the debate and have your say on this topic.
The second motion to be debated deals with the elimination of four clauses in the bylaws that provide for a $5,000 annual payment to full-time officers of the local. If you agree, disagree, or don’t know how you feel about this, come to the meeting, listen to the debate, and vote the way you feel you should!
On February 10th and 11th, local full-time officers will be participating in the two-day regional presidents’ meeting at Canad Inns Polo Park. Other local presidents from around the region will be joining us to learn about recent changes, and adjustments to our approaches when dealing with all things union. Local full-time officers will participate in discussions about the grievance process, and the status of the union’s latest organizing drive, Building Worker Power. On Saturday, we will be attending presentations regarding conflict management by David Falk. Check him out here: https://tinyurl.com/2z6fbs55
On February 23rd, local officers will be meeting with management agents in the city at our monthly union-management meeting. We are already building an agenda for this meeting and if you have something to add, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can bring it to the table. I’ll be honest, I have asked for this in the past and I don’t get a whole lot of responses from people. Sometimes I’ll get an item or two from you, the members doing the work, but most of our agenda is built from items that local officers bring up. We would like to have more items from more members more of the time. Ask around, see if others in your work section or in your row have things they want to talk about.
Outside of these meetings, we have certain items we’re continually working on. For example, right now we’re trying to get things finalized on the payments to Northeast letter carriers who had to do some extra driving because of the flood. We’re also trying to get coats for members who work inside the plant, but in a direct-from-outside wind tunnel. We’re also continually having conversations with management regarding the B routes in Southwest, and trying to get some positive changes happening there.
We will be visiting work floors to solicit more items that require attention and improvement, and we know you will have some.
REPORT FROM OTTAWA
In my last report to you, I mentioned I was going to Ottawa for a 15-consecutive-day meeting to discuss and prioritize all of the constitutional resolutions that were passed through locals, and then through regional conferences.
I’m happy to report that that meeting was a screaming success. Well, in my opinion, and I think that opinion is shared by the majority if not all of the other committee members. There are eight regions in the country, and every region gets two representatives at that table.
The majority of the time is spent debating the merits of the resolutions and the impact their adoption would have on our constitution and the membership as a whole. As the meeting nears its completion, the committee creates a list of resolutions that will be presented to the delegates at the convention.
Creating the list of resolutions that go to the floor is important because out of the 180 that the committee reviews, about 20 will be debated at convention. Four years ago, delegates adopted a resolution that would increase the amount of time for debate. While the committee is optimistic we can get to more than 20 resolutions, sometimes debate about a resolution can last more than an hour.
However, with all of this in mind, there are some ideas that will definitely be debated at this year’s convention. A resolution that would bring in a new era of dues collection will be debated very early on the first day. This resolution would see dues increase about $3 a month for full-time Urban members, and 0.7 percent for RSMCs, who already pay prorated dues. It would also prorate dues for Urban members, meaning temporary and part-time members would pay 2.4 percent of their wages every month where they currently pay the full amount. Unless working a full-time term, it would be rare for a temp to pay the full amount. Part-time members also pay the full amount monthly, even if they only work half the hours that a full-time member works. The way the resolution is worded, members on the multi-tiered wage scale will also pay a little less.
The seventh resolution up for debate came from Winnipeg (yay us) and would change how strike pay is doled out. Currently, you have to be on strike for five days in order to get $200 in strike pay. But the union doesn’t employ that strategy when performing job action; we use single-day, rotating strikes to get our point across. The Winnipeg resolution will see members paid for two hours of wage for participating in one day of strike. Roughly speaking, it’s about $60. It will also scale up with our wages over time. It’s your money in the defence fund, and this is a way to get some of it back to you if we have to go on strike.
Some other ideas that definitely will or are highly likely to be debated at convention deal with these ideas: encouraging locals to have an Indigenous land acknowledgement at the start of their general membership meetings, gender neutral and inclusive language updates, adding a regional union representative to every regional office, the creation of a national young workers committee, and offering the course Unionism on Turtle Island at least once every four years at the regional level.
This is the way the union gets changed. This process repeats itself every four years, and the door to get involved is wide open.
Full disclosure: I have issues with the union. This is my response. Instead of complaining about the union, I have now wrangled myself onto the national constitution committee twice, representing two different regions, two convention years in a row. Simply complaining about the union isn’t enough for me. Things don’t change that way. Understanding the processes and diving right in helps. Saying dues are too high does not. Complaining about union officers doesn’t change anything. But once you’re involved, you see how good ideas do change the union.
If you come to your general membership meetings, if you read your constitution, and if you write good ideas that get support from other people, you can help mold the union into something better for all of its members. If you don’t do these things, other people will. How much do you care, and how much are you willing to get involved?
In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be scheduling online resolution writing workshops where I will teach folks how to write resolutions. While the stuff I just explained here deals with amendments to the CUPW constitution, in the coming months, we will be drafting and debating our contract demands for contract negotiations, scheduled to commence in the last couple months of the year. It’s essentially the same process, and the messages are almost the same. If you have issues with your contract and you have some ideas on how it can be improved, attend one of the workshops and put pen to paper.
CHECK YOUR PAY STUBS
Hey, big surprise, the employer might be ripping you off. Check your pay stubs.
The local has been informed that relief letter carriers who are covering an assignment long-term are having their relief pay clawed back, even though their classification has not changed.
This is, of course, dirty pool, a game the corporation loves to play. And it costs relief letter carriers money every day.
When you are filling in on a long-term assignment, you assume some aspects of the position, but not a new classification. You assume the hours of the shift, the RDO schedule, and the duties. Your classification does not change, and your pay rate shouldn’t change, either.
Anyway, we hear it’s been happening to many people. Check your stubs and reach out.