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The Week in Winnipeg
September 18th to 24th, 2022

 
 

856,

 It was one of those weeks. There was a time on Wednesday when I had a member in my office, I was on the phone, there was a new member filling out their application for membership in the hallway, and no one else was in the office at all. It feels like a scramble and you can’t give anyone the attention they really deserve. 

But you get through it because you have to. You go back to the lists and check the emails and answer the phone the next time it rings. When no one else is here, you write down the number of the person calling and call them back as soon as you hang up. And you do that until you absolutely have to pack up the computer and go retrieve your child. Definitely pack up the computer for that little evening email check.

There are places in Europe where that’s against the law.

 

NORTHEAST-ST. JAMES SITUATION

Our members who normally work out of the Northeast station were displaced again this week, having to drive to the St. James RSMC depot to retrieve their mail for the day. This process will remain in place for a few more weeks while new depots are being established.

The employer reports that an old FedEx building in the St. Boniface industrial park is a good candidate for a temporary station, and if that building doesn’t work, two more locations are being considered. They wouldn’t be able to fit all three of the depots that currently inhabit the Northeast station, so two would be going to one facility, and one would be on its own for a while.

When the employer finds a space, it will take three to four weeks to turn it into a letter carrier depot. This means the Northeast to St. James stuff is here until at least Halloween, and I’m thinking the new facilities won’t be operating until Remembrance Day. There abouts.

There are some changes for next week. Letter carriers were to be canvassed for start times on Monday, and for the duration of the Northeast-St. James operation. Both the union and management felt like the numbers of letter carriers arriving at St. James at any one time to retrieve mail needed to be reduced. There will be six start times for letter carriers at half-hour intervals starting at 7:45 a.m. The hope is this will alleviate some of the traffic concerns at St. James and be a safer operation.

Because the RSMCs are loading their mail in the parking lot and not in the lineup with letter carriers, we felt their start times could remain the same for now.

Sortation of mail and collation of flyers will still be offered on extension and overtime, through the process outlined in 17.04 of the collective agreement. Management agents were not willing to offer collation of flyers or sortation of RSMC routes to OCREs unless the route holder was willing to forfeit their sortation pay for the day. We don’t find this equitable or fair and cannot force the employer to pay OCREs to do this work.

There is more equipment coming to the St. James facility. Twenty-five sortation cases have been moved to the facility. We have a commitment from the employer that the 17 cases that the St. James RSMCs use for sorting their mail will no longer be used for emergency sorting of Northeast mail. 

The employer is still not willing to add the extra drive times to the letter carriers’ time values for the day. However, local management agents did say they would inquire with their bosses about getting this pay and will have an answer for us next week.

In our meeting with local managers yesterday, they did again commit to paying RSMCs for the drive from Northeast to St. James and then to the first point of call on the route’s Schedule A. There had been some confusion this week about what the employer was willing to pay. If you are a Northeast RSMC, please make sure you and your colleagues are ad hocking for this mileage.

So, some items are still on the table but overall, we think the little refinements we made to the plan this week improve safety and generally make a bad situation a little bit better.

 

SOUTHWEST RESTRUCTURE

 Three of the four depots in Southwest have been restructured and letter carriers started their new routes on Tuesday. Charleswood, or Southwest One, is currently undergoing a restructure and will be ready to go in October.

This week was painful for letter carriers in the Southwest station. There were issues with case strips, the building layout, heavy volumes because of the long weekend, and the flyers were out of sight as well. But letter carriers get things done, and that’s what we did. 

Workload Structuring Officer Sean Tugby reports that these issues have been addressed and other than the heavy volumes brought by an unexpected statutory holiday on Monday, a normal part of the restructure process.

“We’re currently trying to learn a new process and it’s causing some tension,” Tugby says about the transition to the Deerfoot model of delivery. “We’re doing our best to adapt. Deerfoot is a better alternative for us than SSD. If we had SSD, we would have completely lost control of our bundle sizes and we would have been on the street longer,” he says. “At least with Deerfoot, we are still in the driver’s seat.”

Restructures of letter carrier depots are complex operations. Letter carrier routes are complex things. The local’s advice is to get used to your new route and when you’re ready, request your route package and make sure the data is accurate.

 

2023 SHIFT BID

 Last week, while the local officers were dealing with the fallout from a flooded letter carrier depot, we were sent the employer’s proposed schedules for the WMPP for 2023.

This week, Health and Safety Officer Reggie Taman and I were able to put together some binders that show the current schedules and the proposed schedules for 2023. Instead of just providing copies of the proposals, we added something new this year — comment sections. 

We hope members will take advantage of this and let us know what they think about their section’s schedule. And to be clear, this isn’t the only outreach we will be doing on this issue — we will still visit as many folks as we can at work to hear their concerns. We will accept alternate schedules, we are planning on bringing shop stewards to the consultation with the employer scheduled for October 7th. 

We dropped the proposed schedule and comment binders off at the plant on Wednesday morning and we plan on collecting them all on October 4th, so get your comments in there before then!

Nationally, the employer wants to eliminate Shift 2 in all medium-sized facilities. Places like Victoria and Edmonton have seen a lot of losses on their Shift 2 already this year, while we have experienced a few vacant position deletions.

Next year does not look the same right now. There are significant reductions to daytime shifts and increases to evening and overnight work. Workers know that working in these hours of the day is unsafe for the body and significantly anti-family. Every time we are in talks with the employer about this, the human condition is ignored, and the needs of capitalism are cared for. I have definitely wondered what some management agents think of themselves when they look at themselves in the mirror in the mornings. In the quiet and reflective moments in life, how do they justify the abhorrent things they have done to people and families? 

 

SPECIAL GMM

 We have a special general membership meeting scheduled for September 28th to discuss and debate some constitutional resolutions and elect four more delegates to join 25 others in Edmonton at the end of November.

I don’t know about all the resolutions out there, but I know I’ll be bringing resolutions that would prorate dues and see our members earn strike pay for participating in single-day, rotating strike actions. Currently, you have to be on the picket line for five days to earn $200 of strike pay. The resolution we’ll be presenting would see members paid about $60 for one day of job action. 

We have already passed resolutions that advocate for an increase to the number of officers at the regional level as well as a policy resolution that would have the union advocate for free personal hygiene products for everyone.

If we still have resolutions after the meeting on September 28th, we’ll have a regular meeting on October 5th.

The September general membership meeting was in person at the Viscount Gort, and was well attended. Local officers are interested in having in-person meetings again, but what do you, the members, think about that? Would you like to continue having meetings online, or are in-person meetings preferred? Hybrid meetings, unfortunately, are difficult to arrange and we’re just not sure we have all of the right equipment to make them go smoothly. 

Let us know, we do wonder!

Register for the meeting on the 28th by emailing connect@cupwwpg.ca to get your registration form!

 

RSMC FUEL COMPENSATION

 This week, Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responded to the petition presented on behalf of RSMCs regarding the insufficient CRA rate they receive for putting miles on their own vehicles every day.

The response contradicts the line the corporation was trying to sell regarding fuel allowances. The corporation was saying that any extra compensation for fuel is taxable, and would make the CRA rate taxable. The response from Minister Freeland says that reasonable allowances are not taxable.

Reasonable is subjective. When would an increased allowance become unreasonable, and therefore taxable?

The response is underwhelming and doesn’t give RSMCs the answers they deserve. Read it here: https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-4007

 

If you’re still reading, hey, go get your eyes checked! Our benefits reset at the end of the year. Check your balances on GroupNet: https://gwl.greatwestlife.com/sign-in.

 

Peace,
Matthew

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

Call us at: 204.942.6323

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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