February 26th to March 4th, 2023
Hey, check your spam. Last week, the local made the switch from Mail Chimp, an American email service to CyberImpact, a Canadian service. The transition was relatively smooth, but a lot of people are reporting the email was sent to their spam folder. Sorry about that. We made the switch to CyberImpact because it complies with Canada’s anti-spam laws. Maybe it’s a little too good.
DEGRADING OF PUBLIC SERVICES
We’re in a real pickle, friends. This week, the Angus Reid Institute released the results of a survey about healthcare in this country, and what it might mean for the future. The report on the survey is here: https://angusreid.org/health-care-privatization-perspectives/
Long story short, Canadians think provincial governments are purposely defunding public health care to make way for privatization of this important public entity. This has been a conservative tactic for many years. If a public service is just not good, or too expensive, then a private firm will be presented as a hero, an antidote to the sorrow we all feel.
It will cost us all in the long run. Paying for healthcare is a game only the rich can play. The rest of us will be left with a system that puts profit first, and does not care about the debt you might incur along the way.
The conservative provincial government in Ontario recently opened the door to some private clinics and already some clinics are offering to schedule checkups, for a price. CUPE Ontario gives you more details here: https://cupe.ca/fords-plan-expand-private-clinics-ontario-will-cost-patients-dearly-risk-lives-and-significantly
Our public services should not be for sale. We saw during the pandemic how we had to rely on huge multinational corporations to get safe and effective vaccines to everyone. Canada might have been able to produce its own vaccines if the conservative federal government of the ’80s hadn’t sold off our vaccine production facility.
My fear is that this is also happening to the post office. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted normal, day-to-day operations at the post office. Back in the day, if a portion couldn’t be delivered, it was offered as overtime. Now, letter carriers know if they take a personal day, they might be coming back to two days’ worth of mail.
This is telling the public there may be interruptions, the service may be inconsistent, and maybe the post office will have to switch to alternate-day delivery. Now half of our letter carriers can be let go and everyone left gets two routes, one they deliver on odd-numbered days, one they deliver on even-numbered days.
The CUPW has been reimagining what the post office can be for many years. The manifestation of this is https://www.deliveringcommunitypower.ca/, our plan to green the post office and save the world. Delivering Community Power would see an expansion of the post office’s services, providing more good-paying and pensionable jobs for Canadians, which improves our communities overall.
Other unions, like the Manitoba Government Employee Union, also know the benefits of a strong public service, and have recently embarked on an information campaign geared toward enlightening the public on the benefits of the systems we all benefit from. Read more about their campaign here: https://www.mgeu.ca/news-and-more/news/read,article/2199/new-mgeu-ads-ask-manitobans-to-choose-public-services#sthash.JmKAlAYx.dpbs
We, as working people, can influence what we need. Unions can advocate for certain things, but when members of the public start writing letters or demonstrating against the undermining of our public services, governments will hear them. We also need to vote for politicians who believe in strengthening our public services, not in selling off our public enterprises. We have a provincial election happening this year, and the onus is on us to do the right thing and elect people who serve our interests, not politicians who want to sell those interests off.
Our future is up to us. Do we want to stand up, make noise, be heard, and protect our jobs, or do we hang up the satchel and swipe out?
Letter carriers of Winnipeg, you are leaving money on the table.
Every time I’m in a depot, people talk to me about the mail that didn’t go out yesterday. People talk to me about how they took a personal day and came back to double mail.
It’s all wrong, and there is a way to fix it, but it requires some coordination and communication between letter carriers in various installations.
Basically, the employer is supposed to do everything it can to get all mail out for the day, including calling city-wide for overtime. For example, if there are three portions of overtime at Southwest that couldn’t go out because there weren’t enough sign ups for overtime, the boss has to call around to other depots in the city to see if there are overtime volunteers.
Do you think they do that with consistency? They don’t, and people are missing out on overtime opportunities.
All of this would be impossible for local executives and shop stewards alone to track. We need letter carriers who are interested in overtime and solving the double-mail problem to help out. If there are people who signed up for overtime and didn’t get any, we need to know who and where and where there was extra mail sitting.
Hopefully, we can make a good plan with the stewards at the first steward meeting of the year on March 16th. Because we really are leaving money on the table and letter carriers are getting burdened with double delivery regularly.
It doesn’t have to be like this. Reach out if you want to help, or if you have other ideas about how to attack the double-mail problem.
Thank you to all of the local and non-local members who came out to the resolution writing workshop on March 1st. As promised, the PowerPoint was zippy, and afterwards, the participants wrote about eight resolutions as a group.
Writing contract demand resolutions doesn’t have to be intimidating, and it’s a great way to start getting involved with influencing your workplace. Our contracts are built from our ideas. If those ideas are written into resolutions, they can eventually become clauses in our collective agreements. But they certainly won’t get there if they just stay in your head!
Join me at the next resolution writing workshop on March 11th at 10:00 a.m. Be there on time because if you join a half an hour late, you miss all of the presentation! Turns out it’s very fast.
No need to sign up, no need to pre-register, nothin’. Just click the link at the designated time on the designated date: https://tinyurl.com/ycn3e73w
ONE YEAR UNTIL ELECTIONS
In March, 2024, the local will be holding elections for all executive officer positions. In order to be a candidate for any position, a local member in good standing has to send notification to the local that they intend to stand for office no later than the fourth Friday, at noon, before the election meeting. The letter to the local has to indicate what office they will be running for and it has to be signed.
I will not be informing the local I will stand for election again. I believe I do a good job as local president, but I also believe in term limits and letting others have an opportunity to lead. I won’t be on the executive at all after March, 2024.
One of the things I try to do as local president is build secondary leadership. I try to teach people all there is to know about the corporation and the union, and where the two entities intersect. There is a lot. But, the new and emerging leaders we have in the local are awesome, and a lot of them are women. Over the last couple of years, the people in elected positions have largely been men, but if things keep goin’ the way they’ve been goin’, that will be flipped next March. It will be an exciting time.
At the last general membership meeting, there was a motion put forward to amend the bylaws to read eligibility for executive officer positions will be based on the candidate’s meeting attendance over the last year. In order to qualify to run, you will have had to have attended fifty percent of the year’s general membership meetings.
If you think you would like to be an executive officer, start coming to your local meetings. We host them every month, they are well advertised, and if you think you might be a good local president, it’s likely best to start brushing up on your parliamentary procedure rules now. You can do that at the meetings. They are always full of it!
ACT OF SOLIDARITY
This section of this week’s report is from our regional office, with information about a situation that happened a couple of weeks ago in Edmonton. Here ya go:
On February 16th, the members of Shift 3 – Parcels section at the Edmonton Mail Processing Plant used their Right to Complain (Article 9.07) at a pre-scheduled meeting with management. Supported by their Local President, Brother Devon Rundvall, members stood and waited until their concerns were heard. Unfortunately, management refused to give them 5 minutes to read a prepared statement. In that statement, the members wanted to address safety and staffing issues, but management refused to listen to them. Labour Relations eventually attended and agreed to hear the workers… and then followed up by threatening them all with major misconduct. The members, as promised, went back to work after making their statement. Sadly, since this incident, over 40 members and counting have been served with five-day consecutive suspensions and final warnings.
This is a direct attack on every member of CUPW; the Right to Complain and the Right to Representation by union officials are cornerstones of a just and fair workplace. Without the right to complain we are silenced from reporting safety hazards, worker’s concerns as well as violations of the collective agreement. In a show of solidarity to the members who are paying for exercising our rights, we ask that on Thursday March 9th , 2023, that as many members as possible wear black shirts while performing work in non-public serving areas. In your runouts, in your sorting cases, etc…
We can take this opportunity to let the bosses know that we will not stand for this. Please take group pictures while wearing your black shirts, holding a sign with your local number, to share and build awareness. It’s a simple and easy thing to do to show your solidarity. All pictures (which may be published) and stories can be shared with Brother Dave Lambert at email@example.com.
Let’s show these workers that we care, and that we stand with them in their fight for justice.