March 12th to 18th, 2023
At our general membership meeting held on March 15th, Brother Eric Toupin-Selinger was elected as the RSMC Chief Shop Steward. The other local executive officers are excited to have Brother Toupin-Selinger join the team and are looking forward to his contributions.
The Urban Operations external shop stewards had their first meeting of the steward year on Thursday. I had to miss it because I was really quite ill, but I hear it was a successful meeting and the stewards learned a lot from Local Grievance Officer Cheryllynn Saramaga-Martai and Chief Shop Steward, External, Roman McColl.
The local ran an RSMC rights course at the Union Centre on March 17th and 18th. Special thanks to Sister Kim Livingston from Calgary for taking the time to be with us in Winnipeg to teach that course. Brother Eric Toupin-Selinger also facilitated the course, and I hope the RSMCs are feeling good about the knowledge that was shared this weekend.
Last week, I asked people to email their questions for their bosses to firstname.lastname@example.org and we would ask them in our monthly union-management meeting. I’ve done this in the past because I think it’s good to let members have this opportunity to ask their bosses questions they normally wouldn’t get to ask.
I said I would reprint the questions and the managers’ responses, but I didn’t receive any emails, and we aren’t able to add anything to the agenda at this point.
We’ll still report on the meeting, but it is always nice to have some questions from the workers to add to the mix.
There are some big questions in the local right now, and we’ll be addressing those at the meeting. We have backfill problems at the plant which the employer is not willing to address. There are still no consultations arranged for the Northeast Depot restructures. We also know that letter carriers from Northeast are tired of waiting for their drive-time adjustments from when they had to pick up their mail from the St. James Depot. We know the employer has the data on who worked and when, and we would like to give it a final review and tell the boss to cut the cheques. We really don’t know what is taking so long.
We also know there are still issues with how mail is being prepared for delivery in the Southwest Depots. The route measurement team has been solicited to do a study and come up with a viable solution, and at the meeting with managers on Tuesday, we’ll be asking for some time for our members to do that.
RSMC MOVE TO SOUTHWEST
Local officers had a meeting with managers on Monday, March 13th to talk about the closure of the St. James depot and how everything would shake out after the move.
There are some notable changes for RSMCs when they get to Southwest. Mail availability times will become start times. Originally, the employer was going to have the start times be 8:30 and 10:30, but at the meeting, we proposed earlier start times and the employer accepted. The start times will now be 8:00 and 10:00.
There was also an issue with how the bidding was going to take place. Despite the fact that many aspects of the routes were changing, the employer was not going to include the four SW6 routes at the Southwest Depot in the bid. The employer is now willing. Currently, there is some review of the details going on at the national level, and the bidding should commence soon.
The employer has also promised parking stalls for every RSMC vehicle. They are even trying to dedicate some stalls for PREs. Parking is becoming a real issue at the Southwest Depot. There is barely enough space on the property for all the vehicles that need to use the space daily.
The transition from St. James to Southwest should be smooth. Transitions can be difficult, but hopefully this one is easy on everyone.
APRIL GMM AND RESOLUTIONS MEETING
The next general membership meeting will be April 15th at 9:00 a.m. and we haven’t yet booked a space, but this meeting will likely be in a hotel conference room. Please keep an ear to the ground for that location.
If you have ever had a problem at work, come to that meeting. If you have ever thought the union was useless, come to that meeting. If you think the local executive is awesome, come to that meeting. If you think the local executive wastes your money on nothing, doing nothing all the time, come to that meeting. If you have been to every meeting possible for the last 10 years, come to that meeting. If you have never been to a union meeting before, come to that meeting.
I say come to the meeting for so many reasons because it’s time for postal workers to come together and start preparing for the upcoming round of contract negotiations. At the meeting on April 15th, we’ll be debating and passing contract demands. We’ll be talking about what we need in our collective agreements so that we can continue to do our jobs safely, and be able to keep up with the rising costs of absolutely everything.
Because we have to admit that the last few rounds of collective bargaining haven’t been very collective, and the only one getting a bargain here is the employer. There seems to be a script that is followed every time here. Just as surely as the star crossed lovers do the most dramatic, teenaged thing possible, union and corporate negotiators end up at loggerheads. Workers then exercise their rights and withhold their labour. Capitalists then start crying and beg politicians to override the workers’ rights. Liberals and Conservatives (and sometimes a provincial NDP gov or two) are always happy to legislate away your rights, so that happens with little fanfare. Our contracts end up in the hands of arbitrators, and are decided for us. Yay.
Let’s get our shit together. Meet me halfway here. There are some people who show up all the time and contribute to these processes. If you’re still with me and you haven’t been to a local meeting in years, it’s time to go again. We’re making some plans with or without you, and friend, it’ll be better with you.
The meeting will be a hybrid meeting, but it will be better to attend in person. To be honest, attending virtually at this point is not ideal. You can’t always hear what is going on in the meeting room and those in the meeting room can’t always hear you. Also, running these hybrid meetings on the computer often falls to Health and Safety Officer Reggie Taman and Vice President Mahdia Hasan, and they don’t get to fully participate in the meetings because there is so much futzing with the computer that has to go on.
The local needs a Meeting Owl: https://owllabs.ca/. Other locals are investing thousands of dollars in equipment for virtual meetings, and the demand for hybrid meetings suggests we need to as well. We’ll be putting forward a motion to purchase a Meeting Owl at the April meeting.
If this meeting is well attended, we can find workfloor captains and collectively talk about some ideas for organizing for job action early next year if negotiations morph into the ol’ corporate formula, and not negotiations at all.