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The Week in Winnipeg

June 5th to 11th, 2022



There is a lot going on and a lot coming up. The kids are finishing school soon, the water is receding a little, and the weather sure is getting sunnier. We’re nearing the solstice and Indigenous People’s Day on June 21st. That week, the local will be hosting its biggest education event in years. The price of gas is ridiculous, Covid rules are changing, and the Southwest restructure keeps chuggin’ along. It’s also time to carry over your personal days if you have any left. You gotta do that by the end of the week. Honestly, there is so much going on, my list of topics for the week’s report is quite long – so I’ll try to be brief!



The local is excited to be presenting Taking Back Our Workfloor on June 24th at the Viscount Gort Hotel. If you want to apply to take this one-day, paid (lunch included) class, email your name, employee number, and a line about why you want to attend to before midnight on June 15th. Applications can also be found on the union bulletin board in your workplace. Participants will be booked off from work to attend.

Taking Back Our Workfloor is about finding the solidarity that already exists. It’s about workers getting what we need right now to do our jobs safely and fairly.

We have 30 spots available for the class, and we will run the program again soon.

  • WHO: You
  • WHAT: Taking Back Our Workfloor
  • WHERE: Viscount Gort Hotel, 1670 Portage Avenue
  • WHEN: June 24th, 9:00 to 5:00
  • WHY: The union is all of us. This is about organizing for the daily struggle and preparing for the struggles to come. We have a problem with frivolous suspensions being handed out by the employer, and we have contract negotiations in 16 months. Both of these are important, and it’s important to be prepared to deal with them.
  • HOW: Email before midnight on June 15th to apply.

If you would like to take your Taking Back game one step further, I encourage you to apply for Train the Trainer on June 23rd. On that Thursday, Third National Vice President, Roland Schmidt, will be teaching six local members how to facilitate and teach Taking Back Our Workfloor. This is a unique opportunity to learn about organizing, a proven program, and how to use your skills to help empower everyone you work with. Apply for Train the Trainer in the same way you would apply for Taking Back Our Workfloor, and good luck!



Everyone is feeling the effects of inflation, but for RSMCs, who need to supply their own fuel to deliver the mail, the feeling is a little more pronounced.

At our general membership meeting on Wednesday, June 8th, an RSMC mentioned how his route, an average one, incurs a $220 vehicle allowance every paycheque. Gas to cover his route for a pay period is now running about $300. 

Also at the meeting, there was a motion put forward for me to write a letter to our National President, Jan SImpson, as well as the corporation’s chief executive officer to ask that some form of compensation be negotiated immediately for RSMCs, who are really struggling with the spike in fuel costs.

I encourage all members to write to their Member of Parliament and ask them to ask the corporation to negotiate a fairer vehicle allowance for RSMCs.

Also, there is a national petition all members are encouraged to sign in support of RSMCs:

If you look up corporate profits for last year and the first three months of this year, you’ll see right away who the real crooks are. We’re being hosed, and it’s not because of insignificant attempts to save the planet for our children like the carbon tax. Corporate greed is why we’re all paying more for everything these days. How do they sleep at night?



This week, management agents started informing workfloors that as of June 16th, wearing a mask would be optional for all workers and visitors to work facilities. The type of mask someone wears will also be optional. Management agents should be able to provide you with a mask, or you can wear the mask of your choosing.

As of July 4th, social distancing goes away, and letter carriers will be expected to get signatures for registered items again.

We’re into an odd transition phase with this whole global pandemic thing. Vaccination-requirement restrictions remain in place in federal workplaces and in order to board an airplane in this country, but the public and some of the ruling class are no longer seeing these restrictions as necessary.

But we’re not through with Covid. Statistics for the next little while will be either up or down depending on which way the wind blows. For example, there were different reports from both Alberta and B.C. this week, the Wild Rose province reporting more Covid-related deaths this year than for the same period in 2020 and 2021. Beautiful British Columbia was reporting a 23 per cent reduction in Covid cases in a week. 

In Manitoba, a lot of Covid statistics are no longer reported by the government, but we did have fewer cases last week than the week before.

What’s coming a few months down the road is anybody’s guess, but it’s clear that the institutions that are charged with keeping people safe, our governments and employers, are throwing in the towel on Covid.



The restructure of the routes in the Southwest Installation continued this week and we took one more step toward signing the memorandum of agreement that will see the Deerfoot model of preparation and delivery in the building. I’ll have more details on all of that when the ink has dried.

Local officers have heard all the rumours about a shift bid in the plant and still have not received any official word from the employer that it is looking to change any schedules at this time.

Nobody wants to go through a shift bid at this time. We have an annual schedule for these things, and interruptions to that pattern are unnecessary and disruptive for workers.

We do know that the employer has canceled a handful of long-term backfills in the plant, and it is odd. Six backfills have been canceled, and others remain. We will be trying to sort that all out this week.

Shop stewards are reporting an increase in emergency suspensions lately. The boss appears to be quite sensitive lately, willing to declare almost anything an emergency. The liberties being taken by local management agents set a dangerous precedent, and we’re asking them to start playing within the rules again.

We also know that local management agents are getting more strict with uniform rules lately. I guess they decided they like some of the uniform policies again? I’m not entirely sure, because policies on things like how to handle oversize and overweight items are still outright ignored. I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised to read that we are fed a string of lies when it comes to the application of some policies.


The deleting of positions, the duplicitous stance on policy enforcement, the general, unprovoked and unjustified harassment of our members, these are the reasons we’re running Taking Back Our Workfloor on the 24th. Exploding inflation and the two per cent raise you got this year are more reasons we’re running Taking Back Our Workfloor. Some things are getting away from us, the workers, the people who actually get our hands dirty and make the money. Management agents are trying to be brazen with their enforcement of their version of the rules, and when it comes time to negotiate a contract with us next year, they won’t be offering us anything that’s close to fair for a raise in pay. Let’s organize so we don’t lose like we did last year. Let’s organize so we can take our workfloors back. Apply for that class. You’ve got nothing to lose.



2022 General Membership Meeting Schedule

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

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

Copyright © 2021 Canadian Union of Postal Workers Local 856.
All rights reserved.

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