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The Week in Winnipeg

June 12th to 18th, 2022

856,

Masks are gone, the vaccination mandate is on its way out the door, local education is back, and working people are getting bilked every time they go to the grocery store or gas station. Indigenous Day Live drew a large crowd all day enjoying live music and free activities for everyone. The Winnipeg Jazz Festival welcomed audiences this week, starting our city’s great summer festival season. Things are starting to look kinda 2019 around here, and I think most would agree that that’s a good thing. Covid still looms in the community, but we’re over the hump, it seems. 

It’s going to be important that we are organized and united as the world gets back to business. The economy is weakening and it’s looking like we’re heading to a recession. The inflation we’re seeing for fuel and food is coming for mortgages over the next couple of years. Our low wage increases and the low starting wage have had a significant detrimental impact on our collective bottom line lately.

That’s why it has to be back to business for us, too. 
 

TAKING BACK OUR WORKFLOOR
 

Over the last two or three weeks, Education Officer Tyler Nielsen and I have visited every workfloor in the city to talk to members about Taking Back Our Workfloor, the class the local is running on Friday, June 24th. 

We have 30 folks joining us on Friday to take the class, and more than double that signed up to take the class in the future. We are even talking about running a class overnight for the folks who work the midnight shift at the plant. We hope to run it two or three more times before the end of September, so if we couldn’t fit you in this time, there will be more opportunities. And if you haven’t signed up yet, it’s never too late. Email education@cupwwpg.ca and tell Tyler who you are, where you work, and why you want to take the class. 

The 30 folks who are coming to the class on Friday have been emailed and have been booked off from work to attend the class.

We all know there is strength in numbers, and Taking Back Our Workfloor is about how we apply certain concepts to our everyday approaches to what we do as workers.

We need fairness at work. Badly. The employer has been emergency suspending our members for little to no reason, causing hard-working, honest people legitimate stress. With the employer playing fast and loose with the rules, we need an organized response. Taking Back can help us all with that.

We also need to start planning for contract negotiations late next year. We’re falling behind, we feel it, we know it, we’re talking about it. We’ll be talking more about it over the next 16 months. We’ll be talking about how we, workers, can inspire a corporation to negotiate fair raises that respect our reality. When the time comes, Winnipeg will be ready.

 

VACCINATION MANDATE ENDS

There was some great news for our members who have been on leave without pay because of the vaccination mandate on Tuesday when the federal government announced an end to all Covid-19 vaccination requirements for travelers and federal workers. 

Since November, CUPW members who have been unwilling or unable to be vaccinated against Covid-19 have been placed on an unpaid administrative leave. This has caused these members a great number of stresses. Uncertainty about their careers and financial pressures have affected many in this position, and from what we’ve heard over the last few months, they will be happy to be reporting to work.

The corporation heard the news about the end of the vaccination requirement at the same time as everyone else. Late last week, the corporation began calling our members on leave to tell them not to report to work on Monday, June 20th. In our conversations with local management agents this week, we got the sense the corporation is working on getting everyone back as soon as possible, but that date still isn’t known.

Don’t be surprised if there is more news on this topic this week.

 

LOCAL BUSINESS

For the first time in a long time, Chief Shop Steward Patrick Clare wasn’t in the office at all this week. Brother Clare is working on a project for the Prairie Region office and won’t be with us for the next few months.

Because Brother Clare will still have a lot of time left in his term as chief shop steward when he returns later this year and doesn’t have to resign his position, the local executive appointed Brother Roman McColl as an interim chief shop steward for letter carriers. 

Brother McColl was in the office learning the ropes this week, and learning just how tough of an act Patrick is to follow. We know the transition back to Patrick later this year will be easy and it will be great to see him, but I anticipate we’ll miss having Roman around so much. Such is union office life.

 

On Tuesday, June 28th, Brother McColl will be taking part in his first union-management consultation. Union-management consultations are monthly events where sort of everything is on the table. It’s a check-in. We could raise health and safety items at these meetings, or ask why health and safety items aren’t being addressed, for example. We ask about strange local interpretations of policy in these meetings. Really, anything.

And I’ve always asked members to help me build an agenda for these meetings. I’m supposed to supply one, but I don’t want to include just my ideas. Email me at president@cupwwpg.ca with a question for your bosses. 

It’s not a mailbag reading like on a radio show, by the way. We don’t say things like, “Santa Claus from Southwest wants to know why the corporation isn’t following the proper procedures on oversize and overweight items.” We ask the question, but we would leave Santa Claus out of it. If you get too specific, or if we think the question could identify you, maybe we wouldn’t ask it, but it’s very rare to get such a specific question that we can’t turn it into a general inquiry and get some information.

It’s coming up on June 28th, so get your questions to me by midnight on Wednesday the 22nd so I can add them to the agenda.

You’re in a union shop. I believe local officers should be conduits to information, not censors. If you wanna know something, just ask. I’ll report about the meeting here.

 

On Saturday, July 9th, at 10:00 a.m., the local is hosting what could be the last virtual general membership meeting of the year. Could be. Honestly, this is a difficult decision to have to make. We know that the September general membership meeting will be in-person. We’ll be debating and passing the local’s constitutional resolutions that day. Hybrid meetings are difficult to run without a lot of audio-visual gear the local just doesn’t have. Virtual meetings bring a lot of members out, nobody has to drive, and a Zoom account costs the local $200 a year as opposed to having to pay for meeting hall rentals every month. 

What to do? 

One meeting at a time! Start with July 9th at 10:00 a.m., if you can make it. Register for the virtual meeting here: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAtdeCorD0oH9GfxVffxZSVHIYEFHz_VI2q

 

Peace,

Matthew

WINNIPEG LOCAL 856
2022 General Membership Meeting Schedule
July

Saturday, July 9th, 10:00 a.m.

*Meeting schedule subject to change due to living in a difficult-to-predict world.
Email connect@cupwwpg.ca to receive a registration form.


 
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The Winnipeg local is Located at:
207-83 Sherbrook Street Winnipeg, MB R2C 2B2

Call us at: 204.942.6323

Our mailing address is:
Box 62 Winnipeg, MB R3C 2G1

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Canadian Union of Postal Workers · 83 Sherbrook Street · Suite 207 · Winnipeg, Mb R3C 2B2 · Canada