April 2nd to 8th, 2023
Thanks to everyone who came out to the meeting on April 1st, 2023. We were able to elect our delegates to the regional contract demand conferences in Edmonton this June. The Urban Operations conference is being held from June 1st to 3rd and the RSMC conference will be from 14th to 16th. We have a lot to get through before then!
A few weeks ago, the local executive noticed a problem with the closure of the St. James Depot, the move back to Southwest for almost 20 RSMC routes, and the statistics the corporation was using.
Surprise, surprise, surprise, the corporation’s numbers were not correct. Also, collective agreement language was not being respected.
The first problem was that the corporation claimed that the restructure of the Southwest RSMC routes was a minor restructure. RSMC restructures are considered minor when fewer than 50 percent of the routes in the installation have had more than five percent of their points of call changed. When we looked at the numbers, we found that more than 50 percent of the routes in the installation had their points of call changed to a degree larger than five percent. This changes the definition of the restructure to major.
When there is a major restructure, all routes are supposed to be put up for bid.
Also, the employer wanted to withhold four routes that were still operating out of the Southwest facility from the bid. However, it also wanted to change the financial compensation for those routes as well. The four routes in question had been receiving manual sortation pay, and are being switched to sequenced sortation pay. The collective agreement states that this can only happen when a route has been restructured.
The employer had not considered that point, but eventually accepted that because of the switch of pay, the routes were effectively being restructured.
Figuring all of it out took a little bit of work. The local had to look at all of the numbers and work with that data. Then, we had to convince the employer it was all worth a second look. Because the situation was unique, and because it was dealing with new language in the collective agreement, the union had to review the situation at the national level.
All of the things happened, and last week, a memorandum of agreement was signed, allowing all RSMCs whose routes had been impacted by the restructure process to be able to bid.
Well, it looks like a big bank has turned its back on the working class.
There is an important line in that bulletin: This announcement only hardens our resolve that gains are more often achieved through struggle than goodwill agreements.
Two summers ago, our National Executive Board unanimously endorsed a contract extension offer from the employer. The extension, so it was sold, was necessary because postal workers were fatigued from dealing with Covid. We were told nobody wanted to see collective bargaining because it might end with the parties at loggerheads. And it was supposed to be a great deal! We were going to get resolution on the two-bundle grievance within weeks. We were going to get financial services, an important step toward full-fledged postal banking. We were going to get decent raises that were consistent with what had been proposed over the last few years.
Well, as the most recent bulletin regarding the end of MyMoney Loan suggests, we don’t win much at all with goodwill agreements.
It turns out TD Bank wasn’t interested in helping create a competitor after all. Big banks like the few that take advantage of Canadians love monopolies. Creating a postal bank that offered competitive rates and had a staffed counter in every community in Canada would have been too much for the money-hoarding banks that currently operate here.
Postal workers also lost the game we were playing with inflation. Postal workers’ wages have been good over the years, but the last few months have felt like a kick in the teeth. We also lost the two-bundle grievance. We had a weird and dangerous work procedure forced on us, we challenged it through the official channels, and we lost.
These are the gambles we take. Perhaps we should take our own advice from that bulletin and fight to win rather than settle for goodwill agreements that leave us with broken promises.
A couple of weeks ago, Shift Three workers at the Edmonton Mail Processing Plant were scheduled to speak with their shift manager. The manager, for some reason, was not willing to speak with them. The members sat down.
Our friends at Canadian Dimension (a Winnipeg publication) can tell you more about what happened here: https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/canada-post-issues-mass-suspension-for-workers-exercising-their-right-to-complain
The struggles we face with the employer locally are not exclusive. For some reason, the employer behaves badly across the country.
What would you do if faced with the same kind of disrespect the workers in Edmonton faced?
MEETING ON THE 15th
Come out to the Riverview Community Centre at 90 Ashland Avenue at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 15th to debate contract demand resolutions.
The local already has many resolutions, but we can always take more. If you’re interested in making your contract better, this is a great meeting to come out and see how the process starts to happen.
Also at that meeting, we will be accepting nominations for the local’s committees. Every year, the local accepts nominations for committees in April, and the members are elected in June.
Covid did a number on the committees. With everything closed for a couple of years, the committees had a difficult time meeting and planning events that might not have been allowed to happen in a legal public health sense. Getting the committees up and running again has been a challenge. Some committees meet regularly, and that’s great. Other committees are meeting too infrequently or not at all.
The hope is that this year, now that we are really back to normal, the committees will meet and make plans on a consistent basis.
The meeting on the 15th will have a little bit of everything. If you’ve never been to a local meeting before, if you haven’t been to one in a long time, or if you joined us last month, we look forward to seeing you on the 15th.
On Wednesday, April 5th, members of the local’s work measurement committee met at the local office to discuss all things SSD, and alternatives going forward. For part of the day, they were joined by regional representative, Roberta Mitchell, who was able to provide some good information, and help focus the committee’s questions.
The committee members looked at multiple memorandums from around the country that have been signed and talked about the different styles that were out there. The goal of the day was to develop a solution that will work for Winnipeg. We know that certain solutions might work for Calgary or New Westminster, but we’re Winnipeg. The roads are uneven and there is snow for a lot of the year. We need a solution as unique as our city.
Part of the day was spent preparing for a meeting with management agents on Tuesday, April 11th. At that meeting, management agents will be telling us the only solution for the Northeast Depots will be to switch the letter carrier walks to SSD. Unfortunately, for these management agents, this proposal has not been brought forward to the union at the national level yet. It is supposed to be consulted on in Ottawa before it filters down to us. I’m guessing they’re circumventing the rules because they don’t care about them.
Whether the boss is playing by the rules or not, we feel we are bringing forward reasonable and agreeable solutions that we believe will be acceptable to local management agents. The solution we have would be good for Northeast, and it would also alleviate the issues plaguing the B-routes at the Southwest installation. I can report on the specifics of the plan after we’ve pitched it to the boss.
Have a good long weekend, everyone. We got one blast of winter because why not, eh? Good ol’ Winterpeg. When you have a reputation to live up to, do it!