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The Week in Winnipeg

July 31st to August 6th, 2022

 
856,
 

This will be my only report to you this month. On Monday, I’m starting three weeks of leave. Local Vice President Cameron Fortier will be taking my calls and doing all the president stuff while I’m away, and I’m thankful for him! We don’t get anything done alone in this world, and having a team you can rely on to keep the machine in working order while you take time away is a great asset.

 

EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES

There is still time to apply to the joint Prairie-Pacific Regions’ facilitator training classes, level one and level two. Facilitators teach CUPW classes either locally or for the region. Taking the training to be a facilitator can increase your union knowledge in a very useful and practical way in a short period of time. If you want to apply for this program being hosted from October 2nd to 7th in New Westminster, B.C., look for the two-page application form on the union bulletin board at your workplace or email Education Officer Tyler Nielsen at education@cupwwpg.ca, or Vice President Cameron Fortier at vicepresident@cupwwpg.ca and they will send you a PDF of the form. Complete applications have to be received by August 19th.

From October 21st to 23rd, the Prairie Region is hosting three classes at the Chateau Lacombe Hotel in Edmonton, Alberta. Look for applications on the bulletin boards or reach out by email to sign up to take Solidarity Skills Level One, Basic LCRMS, or Basic Shop Steward. If you’ve never taken a union class before but you’re ready to get involved with your union in a new way, I encourage you to apply to take one of these classes.

When I’m talking to people about becoming a shop steward, sometimes, people say they’re not interested in having a target on their back. And it’s almost always that phrase, too, “target on my back.” Sometimes, the worst of the worst management agents can try to power trip on a shop steward, it’s true. But those situations are rare and I think for most people, being a shop steward is a net positive experience. And the more stewards we have out there, the easier it is for all of them because the work can be shared. Knowing more about your workplace and your rights is also objectively a positive thing. You got nothin’ to lose by becoming a shop steward, really. There will be two classes of 20 stewards being trained at this event, so your chances of snagging a spot here are a little better than they would normally be! No time like the present!

The Letter Carrier Route Measurement System is the document we use to measure letter carrier routes in this country. From coast to coast, the corporation uses the LCRMS to determine how routes are structured and it’s imperative we have many people who understand how this document works so we can protect our jobs and our collective health and safety on the street. Participants will learn about the restructure process, volume counts, and pertinent clauses in the collective agreement. There are also segments on verifying time values and resolving discrepancies. If the mechanics of a route interest you, or if you’re on the local’s Workload Structuring Committee, give this course some consideration.

Solidarity Skills is about conflict and how to handle it. Topics covered include active listening, non-violent communication, and conflict de-escalation. This course provides locals with resources for helping resolve conflicts between members if they should arise so that we can get  back to focusing on the real conflict, the one between the working class and the capitalists.

Submit your completed application by September 16th to be considered for this year’s autumnal regional classes. Remember to fill out both pages of the application and good luck!

The region is hosting a one-day online course on Monday, September 26th called Pension Whiz. Through the day, participants will learn the fundamentals of all things pension. The course will also, “explain the three types of life insurance and some legal requirements needed,” to ensure your money is going where you want. Time permitting, there will be a presentation on benefits, which will explain coverage requirements and other insurance-related items. 

Reach out to Cameron Fortier or Tyler Nielsen for applications to that class and have them in by September 12th to be considered for the seminar.

 

SOUTHWEST RESTRUCTURE

As the summer cruises along, so does the restructure of all the depots in the Southwest Winnipeg Letter Carrier Installation. There are a few funky things going on there and because not everything has been finalized, a lot of moving parts.

One depot has gained some routes and another has lost a couple of positions. Overall, there have been gains, as there should be in a city that’s growing. Some parts of the city grow a lot and in other parts of town, there is a little infill and a couple new apartment buildings here and there. For some depots, we were wondering why there was a rush to restructure routes that were revamped just in 2019. The corporation has some odd priorities from time to time.

Two memorandums of agreement regarding the style of preparation and delivery have been signed. When the urban routes go live on September 19th, they will be Deerfoot routes, and things will be a little different. Each wave of letter carriers will be split into As and Bs, and the Bs won’t have access to the sortation case until after they’ve delivered that day’s sequenced mail and parcels. When they do come back to the station after they’ve completed delivery, the Bs will sort and prep their manual mail for the 20th, and then repeat the process the next day, always preparing manual mail in the afternoon for delivery the next day. There will be fewer sortation cases in the building. There will be some spares in case there is a lot of demand at one time and overflow space is needed.

For the RSMCs, the changes will be coming next April when the St. James depot is closed and the 19 routes there are moved back to the Southwest facility. When that happens, there will be two waves of RSMCs and assigned start times, which is new for RSMCs. RSMCs will also be able to bill for their daily overtime, which is not currently possible for our members working in offices without a Deerfoot agreement. Being paid for all hours worked is certainly a disparity that needs to be corrected everywhere. Even in our own local, the boss has forced RSMCs into an assigned-start-time-and-shared-case situation without the ability to claim overtime on a daily basis.

There was a consultation on Friday regarding Southwest 2 and some of the final documents and issues with them. Both parties, the union and the corporation are trying to get all of the information in all the right places so that bidding on assignments can commence as soon as possible. Being able to review route packages is always important to letter carriers, and local management agents have committed to supplying all the information you need to make the best decision for you. While sharing an electronic package for an entire depot is not feasible, we have been told that if someone wants to review the routes in a particular neighbourhood, a few route packages can be shared electronically. 

Southwest letter carriers, you’re almost at the finish line.

 

SUMMER MUSINGS

I’ve been trying to visit every letter carrier station in the local regularly. I try to get to the plant as often as I can. I like talking to all of you and meeting you. I didn’t get a chance to work with many people here before I was elected to a full-time position on the local executive in August, 2020. The pandemic forced some limits on work floor visits, and mask requirements have made it difficult to put a whole face to a name sometimes.

 When I’m out talking to members, there are various reactions and responses to a representative of the union being in the workplace. Often, members want me to know about a situation. Maybe it’s a health and safety or schedule issue. Sometimes members don’t have much to say to anyone representing the local executive. Whatever the case is, even if someone doesn’t have much use for, “the union,” I do want to make sure people are good with their working conditions. 

The last year has been challenging. The vaccine mandate and the constantly shifting sands of Covid policy have put our members in difficult situations on numerous occasions. Some people feel let down by the whole system, the corporation and the union. Some people feel like there hasn’t been enough done to keep everyone safe at work. We got a paltry raise this year and inflation is just out of control. It’s been a harsh world.

But things are changing. There are social events like the Winnipeg Labour Council Labour Day Picnic on the horizon. The September general membership meeting on the 10th will be in-person. Regional Conference at the end of November (24-27) will also be in-person. Things are getting back to normal.

In a few weeks we’ll be into September and the kids will be back at school. There’s a civic election in October. For postal workers, we’ll be busy preparing for 2023 -- a year with a National Convention and contract negotiations. If the last couple of years have felt quiet, the next one will feel the exact opposite.

When my summer leave is over, I’ll keep visiting the work floors regularly. I like to check in, talk to you all about the challenges we’re facing at work and then see if we can tackle the issues and get them resolved. I want to see the local engage with more members on a more regular basis, have robust committees and good attendance at general membership meetings. I want to see the education committee host a lot of classes so that everyone who wants to has access to information that can help them improve their workplace and work life. I’ll keep writing these weekly reports, meeting with the boss and generally doin the things you all expect me to do, and when I haven’t done something or I have done something you don’t like, I hope I hear about it.

Have a good August, everyone. I’ll take the time to relax because when September gets here, it really is a bit of a relentless schedule. Which is fine. There’s a lot of work to do. The struggle continues.

 

Peace,

Matthew

 

WINNIPEG LOCAL 856
2022 General Membership Meeting Schedule
September

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

MEETING AGENDA:
Election of Trustee (three-year term)
Election of delegates to Regional Conference
Debate of Constitutional Resolutions
Regular order of business

LOCATION:
Viscount Gort Hotel and Conference Centre
1670 Portage Avenue

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