The tentative agreement between Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and Canada Post – Hamilton Local 548, Atlantic Region, Winnipeg, Vancouver
Mark Platt, President Hamilton Local 548, October 2012
[…] As you may have heard by now the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has reached tentative agreements for the Urban Operations and Rural and Suburban bargaining units. Ratification votes will be held in Locals across the country in November and December 2012. The ratification votes in Hamilton will be on Monday, December 3, 2012, at the Sheraton Hotel in Hamilton, for the Urban members and on Wednesday, December 5, 2012, at the Holiday Inn in Burlington, Ontario, for the Rural and Suburban members. There will be bulletins sent out by the Local to every workplace to the bulletin boards and the shop stewards. There will also be a separate posting on the Local website of the date, times, and places, for the votes. You must be member in good standing to vote and attend in person. There is no proxy voting under the rules of our National Constitution. You also must vote in your own Local. The National Director of the Ontario Region, Gerry Deveau, will be at the meetings along with another member of the National Executive Board yet to be announced, as well as the Local Executive Committee.
The CUPW National Executive Board (NEB) is recommending the membership vote in favour of both tentative agreements. The NEB’s rationale was that they felt taking a negotiated settlement now, regardless of the numerous rollbacks, was better then waiting for another government appointed arbitrator who was likely to accept Canada Post’s offer in Final Offer arbitration which could possibly have been worse. Please take the time to read all the bulletins the National Union is posting on their website and sending to the Locals. There have been many national bulletins released so far and the information provided will assist the membership in coming to a decision on how to vote. There will be an opportunity at the ratification votes to ask the national executive board members in attendance questions about their decision and questions regarding the details of the tentative agreements. The Locals are to be provided copies of the tentative agreements to distribute the membership and we will do so as soon as possible.
“Standing up until the end — no to rollbacks!”
The Hamilton Local Executive voted unanimously against recommending our membership vote in favour of both tentative agreements for a number of reasons. One of dissenting votes on the NEB was our Regional Director, Gerry Deveau, and he will be giving his rationale for voting no at the ratification votes. For the Urban contract it was clear that the Union’s strategy of taking the federal government to court for the biased arbitrators they appointed and the constitutional challenge against the government for denying postal workers their collective bargaining rights was working. By voting no to the Urban contract the membership will remain under the current collective agreement until arbitration is complete which could take years and possibly into the next round of bargaining. If the members accept the employers offer the new Urban contract goes into effect January 2013, only two months from now.
Other major sticking points were the controversial Short Term Disability plan with Great West Life which hands decision making power for an absence caused by illness to an insurance company, not your doctor. No raise in the fourth year of the contract. No right to file a grievance against Great West Life. The reduction of Injury on Duty pay to 75% when the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board in Ontario pays 85%. We already have had a negative experience dealing with Great West Life for temporary and permanent accommodations. The company’s offer of $200 for full time employees, and $100 for part time employees is insulting, especially when PSAC and APOC got significantly more to compensate for the loss of sick time. Most galling was the recent media reports that Canada Post paid out bonuses to 7,400 managers last year in spite of claiming financial losses and demanding so many rollbacks.
For the Rural and Suburban contract, the Local Executive was not in agreement with the pay zone model and the loss of being red circled once an employee changes a route or there is a reduction in calls of more than 20%. While it is very important to raise the wages of the lowest paid [rural and suburban mail carriers (RSMCs)], it is unfair to the higher paid members to face wage cuts because of more lucrative contracts previously negotiated with Canada Post before they became employees. It is also unfair to receive a lower rate of pay because you live in a different part of the country. Canada Post has been aggressively restructuring RSMC routes over the last year and will continue to do so if it means paying the employees less. […]
Jeff Callaghan, National Director Atlantic Region, November 12, 2012
I’ve been asked what will it mean when the membership vote not to accept this Urban Ops tentative agreement.
It means that the union would continue to prepare for the Final Offer Selection arbitration and putting our best case forward in order to protect and improve our benefits. It will also mean that we continue to mobilize, fight and resist the attacks against us by the employer and Harper government. Voting “No” would mean our fight for fairness and respect would continue, both on the shop floor and in the streets.
While this is an important question and members deserve to know the answer, for me the more prudent question is what happens to us if this agreement is ratified? What does voting “Yes” mean for us as workers and as a union?
The reality is that accepting these rollbacks (not “negative changes”) to our wages and benefits will deeply divide the membership for years to come; that the union will have shown the employer our willingness, when threatened, to concession bargain away long fought for gains; and most of all, we will have showed the federal government that implementing their undemocratic laws, like Bill C-6, really works! Lisa Raitt is already on record as congratulating both sides for reaching a “negotiated” settlement!
It is truly unrealistic to think that in 2016 there will be a better employer to bargain with or that a worker-friendly federal government will be in place (when have those ever happened?), or, that after a year without a wage increase and accepting major concessions and rollbacks, that there will be a mobilized membership.
I believe that voting for this agreement will have much more long lasting and devastating ramifications on the union and its members than a “No” vote would ever have.
The Atlantic Region, all officers and union representatives, unanimously recommend members vote “No” to accepting this Urban Ops tentative agreement.
Stay Strong and Stand United!
Winnipeg Local Executive Committee, November 1, 2012
Because the membership have mandated the Union to negotiate provisions to offset the adverse effects of the Modern Post that have not been achieved, and;
Because the membership have mandated the Union to negotiate improvements to the compensation and benefits provisions of the collective agreement that have not been achieved, and;
Because the membership mandated the Union to resist any attempts of the employer to divide the membership with a two tier wage and compensation system, and;
Winnipeg postal workers hold wildcat walkout, November 22, 2010, to reject Canada Post’s unsafe working conditions caused by its postal transformation process,
“The Modern Post.”
Because the membership proudly stood shoulder to shoulder on the picket lines during the June 2011 rotating strike and national lock-out in order to achieve our demands for equality, respect and a share of the benefits of technology, and;
Because the membership must consider the ramifications on the Union for future rounds of bargaining and membership mobilization if concessions are freely negotiated with the employer out of fear on how right wing governments may react to resistance from workers fighting to maintain accomplishments achieved through historic struggle, and;
Because the tentative collective agreement contains rollbacks that will adversely affect every current and future member that will be virtually impossible to reverse in future bargaining while Canada Post pays out lavish bonuses to senior and junior management, and;
Because Canada Post and the federal government need to understand that postal workers will not passively accept attacks on our right to free collective bargaining and will fight for justice;
The Executive Officers of the Winnipeg Local recommend that the membership vote NO to the ratification of the Urban Operations tentative collective agreement.
POSTAL WORKERS DESERVE BETTER!
Vancouver Local Executive Committee, November 6, 2012
Whereas the draft Tentative Agreement contains significant rollbacks and concessions of gains that were achieved throughout years of collective bargaining;
Whereas the Vancouver Local Executive Committee feels that the members best interests would be served by continuing to fight to maintain the rights and entitlements that we have achieved over the years;
Whereas we should continue to fight for the reasonable program of demands which the membership endorsed;
Whereas the membership of CUPW registered a historical vote in support of a strike to assert their demands;
Be it resolved that;
The Vancouver Local Executive Committee recommends that the members of the Vancouver Local vote no to the Urban Tentative Agreement being put to them at the ratification votes being held in November and December 2012.
Be it further resolved that;
The Executive Committee will make every effort to communicate the potential consequences of either a yes or a no vote to the membership prior to the ratification vote.
TML Daily, November 13, 2012 – No. 142
Related articles on this weblog
Louis Lang. “The security of postal workers lies in their ability to fight for their rights,” November 11, 2012
Louis Lang. “Roll-backs and concessions demanded by Canada Post are unsustainable,” November 28, 2012