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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thank you for the support! Made my Day!

I am an American... worked from a film union worker to CEO, please hear me out. My sister is a letter carrier in Vancouver, British Columbia.
How reasonable is it for a CEO and 20 to 25 vice presidents of the Canada Post Office to hold the final deliverer, caring letter carriers and postal clerks, responsible for the quality of the products he or she is delivering? The postal person on the "front lines", in front of the public, may be contributing to low service delivery, BUT blaming the clerk or letter carrier for this low service, is not only unfair, it's unproductive.
Employees, all employees, on the "front lines" are visible, they become targets of poor management. They become "symptom carriers", of a management problem....NOT the source of the problem. When something goes wrong at Canada Post, it's easy to trace the problem back to whomever touched it! Lay the blame there. And yet the non/or unionized workers rather than management are blamed for everything .
If Senior Management at the Canada Post Corporation truly wants to find the source of CPC's declining service levels, the best place to start is with a long and deep look in the mirror. It may cost management individuals an annual BONU$ though. (From what I have researched, employees of Canada Post received a bonus for employees except for term employees...CEO 33% Bonus??)). I may not agree to all of the union's demands, but I CERTAINLY treat my employees as people and with respect. Just People. People with souls, and with great innovative ideas and enthusiam. My employees ARE my company. They have my respect. We work together, not agaisnt each other. TEOTWAWKI.
Annie Goodwin, CEO
Annie Goodwin Productions/USA/CanadaTEOTWAKI

Some Helpful Facts

When talking to the public about our negotiations, I find that it helps to have a few facts at my fingertips….here are a few from the CUPW Media kit prepared by the Union’s communication specialists.

1) Letter Carriers and PO4s make $24.15 per hour, at the highest rate. Statistics Canada reports that as of March, 2011 the average full-time wage in Canada was $24.73. Postal workers make slightly less than the Canadian average…. So much for the “over paid” argument. CPC wants new hires to start at $18.00 per hour, substantially below the Canadian Average.

2) Canada Post made profits for 16 consecutive years, and over that time paid more than $1.2 Billion to the Canadian government in income tax and dividends. (Dividends: $589 million; income tax $654 million). Postal workers, through our hard work, created the profits that support our government with dividends and taxes. The government does not pay for our wages or working conditions.

3) Because of the productivity and moderate wages of postal workers, Canada Post made profits and paid dividends, while at the same time keeping postal rates low. Canada Post has one of the lowest standard postal rates in the industrialized world. In January, 1982 (just after Canada Post became a crown corporation) it cost $0.30 to send a standard letter within Canada. Today it is $0.59 -- an increase of 96.7%. Over the same time period, the Consumer Price Index (inflation) increased 128.8%.

While some members of the public are "union haters"; others will listen to the facts, if we present them.

CPC Says “NO”

Today we met with the CPC bargaining committee to receive their response to our final offer. At the meeting, which lasted less than 10 minutes, the Employer stated that they were rejecting our offer in its entirety. Basically they said nothing more than what was contained in their press statement of yesterday. The only exception was that they acknowledged we had moved dramatically on some issues.

CPC Prefers Media Messages to Negotiations
Instead of negotiating with the Union, CPC issued a statement commenting on the importance of postal service to rural residents, seniors and small businesses. In their statement, they also say they are 'offering employees better pay and benefits than they currently enjoy.'
They do not say:
  • They are demanding an end to sick leave for all employees and the imposition of a short-term disability plan that provides inadequate coverage for short term illnesses and threatens medical privacy;
  • They have been attempting to reduce service in rural areas;
  • They have not responded to the Union's proposals to extend door-to-door delivery service to seniors and persons with mobility restrictions;
  • They have rejected all of our proposals to follow the example of other postal administrations and diversify into financial and banking services;
  • They are demanding a starting wage, which is 22% less than the current starting rate.

CUPW Meets With Labour Minister Raitt
Today, we also met with the Federal Minister of Labour, Lisa Raitt. She suggested she would organize a meeting with CPC President Deepak Chopra for tomorrow. We agreed to the meeting. At the time of writing this alert, no time has been set for the meeting.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The union will be in a legal position to strike on Thursday, June 2, 2011, at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

May 30, 2011
For Immediate Release
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has made a final offer to Canada Post in
the hopes of negotiating a settlement.
The offer includes several important amendments and clarifications to our positions and we are confident this offer can be accepted by CPC as the basis of a settlement.
CUPW has also given the notice, required by the Canada Labour Code, of its intent to strike if there is no settlement flowing from its final offer.  The union said the notice puts pressure on Canada Post to actually negotiate.
“Striking is our only real bargaining lever with Canada Post and we have concluded that we must give notice that we are willing to use our legal right to strike to get a decent contract that meets the needs of our members and preserves public postal service,” said CUPW National President Denis Lemelin.

CUPW Latest Offer to Canada Post

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Canada Post selects new service provider for Disability Management

Date Posted: 2011/05/25

As part of our commitment to support employees, we provide comprehensive disability-management programs, parts of which are administered by third-party providers. Great-West Life–Morneau Shepell will take over as the service provider for our existing Disability Management Programs that are currently administered by Manulife Financial. Although the provider is changing, all benefits and services offered through the programs will remain the same. Our goal remains to provide employees with the support they need when they need it, and that includes ensuring we have the best possible service model and provider.

As part of our commitment to support employees who are away from work for health-related reasons or who require accommodation through our disability-management services, we provide comprehensive disability-management programs, parts of which are administered by third-party providers.

We work to ensure these programs are best in class and rely on contracted services with external service providers to deliver professional and confidential case-management services. We follow best practices and ensure the programs are administered by industry leaders.

Manulife Financial has provided disability-management services for our Short-Term Disability and Sick-Leave Programs since July 2007.

To ensure we continue to deliver the best possible disability-management services to employees, we periodically assess service providers to ensure we partner with the one that best matches the needs of our employees and our company. A request for proposal process began in 2009, resulting in the selection of Great-West Life–Morneau Shepell as the service provider for the Disability Management Programs that are currently administered by Manulife Financial. The expected date for this changeover is November 1, 2011. All benefits offered through the programs will remain the same.

Great-West Life–Morneau Shepell will partner with us not only to administer disability-management services, but also to further support our company’s evolution to a best-practices approach for our disability-management programs.

We are working with Manulife Financial and Great-West Life–Morneau Shepell to ensure the transition is smooth and seamless for employees, team leaders and Associations/union partners.

About Great-West Life–Morneau Shepell
An industry leader in providing disability-management services and managing mental-health issues, Great-West Life–Morneau Shepell is familiar with our company and our employees, Shepell having been the provider of our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) since 2007. Great-West Life–Morneau Shepell offers a full continuum of workplace health solutions, including integrated, prevention-focused Employee Assistance Program and Health and Disability programs. Great-West Life–Morneau Shepell will work with a full range of healthcare professionals to ensure employees get the care and support they need when absent from work, and to ensure a safe return.

More information about this transition will be provided in the coming months.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dear Sisters and Brothers of CUPW,

We would like to show our support for you in your struggle against the governments attack on your wages and benefits, and we wish you the best in your negotiations for a decent collective agreement.As we all can see, the boss’ class is making working people pay for their crisis the world over. Working people around the world are being forced to pay for a crisis which we did not create. While the attacks on workers may seem overwhelming, there are signs of resistance, and we are excited to hear of your 95% membership vote in favour of strike action with the biggest voter turnout to ever happen. We would like to let you know that we stand in solidarity with you. We know, that when a democratic and militant union like the Postal Workers Union wins, all workers benefit.
If a strike is necessary, our youth members will be out on your picket lines in support.
In Solidarity and In Struggle,

Julius Arscott, Chair
Youth for Socialist Action ( Canada )

Postal workers prepare for the picket lines

 Mike Palecek is the recording secretary of the Vancouver local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).
The election of a Conservative majority government in Canada is a turning point for the Canadian labour movement. Until now, Canada has mostly avoided the kind of austerity program being forced upon the rest of the world. This is certain to change now that Stephen Harper has gained a majority. The first attack will be against members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). The militant traditions of CUPW make us a prime target for Harper’s first battle.
Postal workers will be in a legal strike position as of midnight on 24th May. In response to demands of unprecedented concessions at the bargaining table, members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers handed Canada Post their strongest strike mandate in history. 94.5% voted in favour of strike action. It was the largest turnout in the history of the union. Postal workers are not bluffing.
The corporation is demanding major roll-backs. At a time when they are making record profits, they are demanding a two-tiered wage and benefit system for all new hires. Canada Post wants every new employee hired to be given substandard benefits, a defined contribution pension plan instead of a defined benefit plan, and a lower wage.
This is a clear attempt to divide the shop floor and threaten the long term stability of the post office. It is a blueprint for the destruction of our collective agreement. The two-tiered system is an old trick used by employers to divide and conquer the workforce. In grocery stores across Canada, two-tiered wage plans, brought in throughout the 1990s, led to the steady erosion of wages and benefits for all workers. Today, the grocery stores are full of people making poverty level wages. The bosses at Canada Post have the same plan in mind.
But the attacks on postal workers aren’t limited to new hires. Their global offer has something for everyone! Another major issue is the removal of sick-leave benefits that have been in place since the 1960s. The corporation plans to scrap the 15 paid sick days we currently receive per year, and replace them with a Short Term Disability plan. The STD plan will cut postal workers sick-time in half, and leave sick leave to the discretion of Manulife — a third party that has already been contracted to harass sick and injured workers at Canada Post. This is simply unacceptable.
Canada Post has one of the highest injury rates of any workforce in the country. Last year, there were over 9,000 CUPW members that were injured on the job — and those are just the cases that WCB approved. People are often surprised to learn that a letter carrier has one of the most dangerous jobs in Canada. Letter carriers climb stairs, cross streets, and walk several kilometres a day. Slips, trips, and falls make up a huge portion of our injuries. Repetitive strain injuries are common for people working in the plants. With over 20,000 letter carriers out in the community every day, and tens of thousands of other workers doing repetitive work inside, it is no surprise that these injury rates are so high. This is a union that needs its sick time.
But the concessions aren’t the only thing holding the two sides apart. CUPW members are facing serious problems at work that must be addressed. The modernization plans that Canada Post is implementing have presented posties with a plethora of new problems. We have major health and safety concerns surrounding the new work methods that are being proposed. The Modern Post Project has been described as a “catastrophic machine of slavery” by those who are experiencing it. It would be nice if we could say that was an exaggeration. The injury rates have gone through the roof in areas where it has been rolled out. Long hours and dangerous working conditions are the new standard. The first “modern” post plant that opened in Winnipeg last year didn’t even make it through its first day without an injury — and that was to the CEO of the company!
Creative tactics on the shop floor are being employed to fight against these changes. Some places on the prairies have rolled out a Porch Lights for Posties campaign, delivering light bulbs to the community and asking people to keep their porch lights on for postal workers who are now forced to keep working into the night. In Edmonton, several depots are risking discipline by refusing to work forced-overtime. These actions show the determination of postal workers to fight for the changes we need.
Postal workers are fully aware that the struggle ahead of us has very broad implications. Our struggle will set the tone for the many fights that will inevitably rise against the new Harper majority government. A defeat would prepare the way for a series of attacks against the broader public sector. A victory would send Stephen Harper’s government a powerful message that the labour movement will not be pushed around. It is for this reason that the Canadian Labour Congress unveiled an action plan at its convention in Vancouver to launch an escalating campaign of mass demonstrations and direct actions against Harper’s government. The plan specifically mention CUPW’s upcoming battle and vowed support for the posties. In the coming weeks we will see just how far they are willing to go. But the postal workers are certainly prepared to do whatever it takes to win.

CUPW explanation of CPC Final Offer

CPC’s revised final offer includes one proposal for an improvement which is a slight increase in their wage proposal. They have also reneged on two aspects of their previous Global offer and dropped some other demands for rollbacks. Many of the union’s priority demands are not addressed.
Here are the major features of CPC’s offer.

The Sole Improvement

Wages for current employees: Change to1.9%, 1.9%, 1.9% and 2.0%.  For Group 1 employees this represents an increase from CPC’s previous Global Offer of 7 cents per hour over the four year agreement. For Groups 2 and 3 employees it represents 8 cents and for Group 4 it represents 13 cents.  CPC did not reply to CUPW’s proposal for heavy duty truck mechanics.

Issues Where CPC Reneged on Previous Offers

Bar Charts: CPC has reneged from its offer to record all absences except for relief employees, temporary employees, and local and regional union leave paid by the corporation. This was tied to CPC’s proposal to combine the vacation and other absences relief into one list and to automate the system into SAP.
Letter Carrier and MSC Work Measurement Systems: CPC has dropped its demand to provide provisions for time certainty when it wants to introduce a new work method or time standards and has reneged on its offer to eliminate the expiry date for Appendix CC.

Issues Dropped

Injury on Duty Pay: CPC has dropped its demand to reduce from 100% of pay to 75% and allow employees to use accumulated sick leave credits to top up to 100%.
Bilingual Retail Positions: CPC has dropped its demand to require employees applying for bilingual retail positions to be bilingual.
Part-time Employees at Retail Counters: CPC has dropped its demand to increase the proportion of part-time employees at wickets from 10% to 15%.
Not Filling Vacant Positions: CPC has dropped its demand to relieve the Corporation from the obligation to fill a vacant the position in group 2 if, at the assessment phase (which occurs 4 months prior to a restructure) the review process forecasts a reduction of positions within the post office.

Rollbacks Maintained By CPC

Short Term Disability Plan: No change: CPC is keeping its demand to eliminate paid sick leave and replace it with a Short Term Disability Plan.
Wages, Benefits and Pension for New Employees:
  • For employees hired after the date of signing in Groups 1 and 2 the starting rate will be $18.00 and it will take 7 years to reach the maximum rate. New employees will be eligible for COLA.
  • 4 weeks vacation after 10 years of service, 5 weeks after 18 years and 6 weeks after 28 years.
  • Defined benefit pension with full indexation but with early retirement eligibility of 60 years of age and 30 years of service without penalty.
Job Security: Current regular employees will have 40 km protection. Those hired after the date of signing will be entitled to the 40 km protection after five years of employment as a regular employee.
Group 1 Ratio: Starting in 2013 CPC wants to reduce the current full-time ratio of 78% by 1% per year until it reaches 75%. Their proposal does not address the Union’s demands to include overtime hours in the calculation of the ratio; or to correct the adjustment factor that gives the corporation the ability to undermine the ratio by approximately 5%.
List of Arbitrators: CPC wants to remove two arbitrators from the list of arbitrators.
Compensatory Time Off: CPC is agreeing to compensatory time for Group 1 but the provisions will place new restrictions on Group 2 (which will also apply to Group 1) to limit the carry over to five days per year and eliminate the right to be paid out upon request. The corporation’s proposal even takes away the right of the members to be provided with a monthly statement of their accrued hours when requested which permits them to verify if the overtime hours have been registered.
Health and Safety Training: CPC has reserved the right to prohibit Union facilitators from providing training.

Union Issues Not Addressed By CPC

Multiple Bundle Delivery: CPC has not addressed the Union’s demand that a one bundle delivery method be used for points of call other than stop and go and centralized points of delivery.
Cost of Living Allowance (COLA): CPC’s proposal covers only the last three years of the Collective agreement and triggers at 8%
Forced Overtime: CPC is not providing any response to the Union’s demand to minimize forced overtime.
Pension: CPC refuses to include the pension in the collective agreement.
Health and Safety: CPC does not address the Union’s demand to have ergonomic studies prior to the introduction of new work methods or new machines.
Childcare Fund and Education Fund: CPC has not agreed to the Union’s proposals to increase these funds.
Appendix T - Job Creation: No new services or job creation.
Contracting Out: CPC will amend the current protections to include the new packet and bundle sorters which are being introduced and exclude the Bar Code Sorters (BCS).  They are saying no to all of CUPW’s demands for contracting in and for greater protections from contracting out. Also CPC wants to create separate work centres for VES.
Access to Information and Transparency: CPC has not addressed the Union’s proposal to receive data in a workable and stable format.
Depot Support: CPC provided no proposal to resolve the issue of which Group will perform the inside duties within the modern post depots.
Parcel Delivery by Letter Carriers: Nothing in the offer addresses the Union’s proposal to find a solution to the overburdening of letter carriers caused by the introduction of parcel delivery on their routes.  
Percentage of Coverage: CPC has not addressed the Union’s demand to fix the percentage of coverage which contributes to the overburdening of letter carriers.
In solidarity,

Denis Lemelin
National President and Chief Negotiator

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

CUPW National Bulletin

May 24, 2011
CPC has submitted a revised final offer in which they have dropped some demands and amended others. CUPW is analyzing it this evening and will provide details tomorrow. Statements made by the CPC Chief Negotiator appear to justify a resumption of intensive negotiations at the three sub-tables.
In this context the CUPW National Executive Board has decided not to submit a 72 hour strike notice today.  Consequently there will be no strike activity on May 28th.

CPC Exaggerates Cost of Union Proposals
The Employer also made a statement that CUPW's proposals will cost $1.4 billion over the next 4 years. There was no explanation of these figures. Exaggerating the cost of union demands is a tactic that has been used by CPC in all previous rounds of bargaining to distract attention from the real issues and justify taking a hard line during negotiations.

Collective Agreement to Apply
The Employer has stated that all provisions of the collective agreement will continue to apply until the Union provides a 72 hour notice as required by the law. Consequently the collective agreement will remain in full force and effect.

Canada Post's Newest Counter offer

Canada Post Response to Union's Global Offer

What's at Stake at Canada Post?

By Cindy McCallum Miller

Canadians embrace the urban myth that postal workers strike regularly, usually at Christmas and always over money. That's as far from the truth as believing Stephen Harper is a feminist. The last pan-Canadian strike by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) was in 1997 but that will soon change.
CUPW commenced negotiations for its urban bargaining unit in October 2010. Within hours of presenting their demands to the union's bargaining committee, management representatives met with members at work, promoting the corporation's proposals in a well-coordinated campaign to cause confusion and division among the membership. Canada Post Corporation (CPC) intends to roll back decades of progress and introduce a new category of more highly exploited workers into the urban workforce. They are overtly encouraging existing employees to sacrifice their future co-workers in the name of management's "Modern Post" scheme.

Everywhere we look we can see how corporations and governments are attempting to force concessions on workers and attack fundamental principles of workplace safety, job and economic security, reducing wages and benefits to an unacceptable level. What's happening at Canada Post is no exception. CPC wants to gut our collective agreement for the next wave of workers as they plan for a future where workers have weaker rights, benefits and protection.

With sixteen consecutive profitable years for CPC and the Modern Post as the backdrop to negotiations, CUPW's demands are simple. They fall under the themes of respect, equality and the right to share in the benefits of technology. In contrast, CPC wants to roll portions of our collective agreement back to the 1970s.

CPC intends to replace our long-held sick leave credit system with a drastically inferior short term disability (STD) plan controlled by the financial firm Manulife. Already imposed on other CPC bargaining units, the STD plan has generated numerous complaints and complications and invades medical privacy. CPC plans to penalize injured workers by reducing compensation to 75% of our income at the same time as new equipment and work methods are being introduced, which will lead to more work-related injuries for postal workers.

Another important goal of CPC is to change the collective agreement so that employees hired after the signing of the new contract would be paid at a much lower rate and be required to work seven years to reach the same maximum rate that current employees earn. New employees would also have to work longer before seeing an increase in vacation leave, and would have an inferior pension plan. CPC also plans to reduce the maximum amount of vacation time for postal workers from seven weeks to six weeks for workers with 28 years of service. These concessions violate CUPW's fundamental principle of equality.

The stakes are high for CUPW, the labour movement and the future of public services, including the post office. During recent minority Tory governments, Harper's ministers said they had no plans to privatize the post office, but allowed partial deregulation, preparing for the future. CUPW's diligence in working with communities has been an important strategy to counter attempts by capitalist think-tanks to diminish the importance of postal service. Now that the Tories have a majority, we will see what they really want to do to postal services.

The Modern Post's focus is serving large volume mailer corporations. CUPW's focus is ensuring the people of Canada and Quebec have access to quality service that meets their diverse needs.   Canada Post's transformation of the post office into "the Modern Post" includes new equipment, delivery methods and reduced labour costs. Winnipeg's new processing plant was slated to be the corporation's flagship, the first centre to have all aspects of the transformation implemented.  Despite union objections, CPC imposed a fatally flawed "multiple bundle" delivery model on letter carriers, forcing workers to work unsafely, balancing bulky, oversize mail on their arms while they carry letters and ad-mail in their hands. Groups of Winnipeg carriers rebelled against the forced conversion to the new method by walking off the job on Nov. 22, 2010, sparking a spirit of resistance among postal workers across Canada and Quebec.

On May 17, CPC presented a new proposal showing negligible movement. CPC appears ready to gamble on whether or not the members will act on the record-high 95% strike mandate to fight for our future.  With the election of a majority Conservative government, perhaps management believes there is an opportunity to achieve their goals by having parliament impose them through legislation?

Unions are the only entities capable of blocking the dismantling of our rights and social infrastructure but in order to do that we have to mobilize our membership to take on the government's agenda.  At what point does labour say enough is enough and really mean it? This is the first pan-Canadian labour confrontation in post-election Harper Canada. If CPC obtains the concessions they seek, who is next?  CPC anticipates an immediate flood of retirements and many militants of the 1980s have already gone. The leaderships of other unions are supporting CUPW in this struggle but the test will be to see how that support will manifest itself.

CUPW faces many challenges. The majority of members have never experienced a lengthy strike, and in many cases have never taken strike action. The combination of inexperience at the rank and file level of the union, the virulent animosity demonstrated by CPC management and an anti-labour government create an unpredictable situation for the union. This round of bargaining will make an indelible mark on the future of the post office. The determination and strength of the membership will be the key to what that future looks like

Anonymous said...

With the new machinery in place, those of us at the main plant are even more determined to retain our sick leave - as is -it is the #1 priority. I have worked for CPC for many years now with no injuries. Since the working on the new machines for the last several months - I now have foot & leg problems (no anti-fatigue mats) & lower back problems (those bottom stackers were made for the seven dwarfs !!!) Who knew postal transformation meant pick your option - unemployed - modified - disabled - early retirement. Health & Safety there is at an all time low. Be aggressive - Be persistent - make sure you get your rotation of duties - No excuses - & above all - all injuries MUST be reported. Mgmt likes to brag that the # of reported injuries has decreased - but I remind them - REPORTED injuries - not ACTUAL injuries - employees (especially the new ones) are being intimidated into "taking it on the chin" for fear of reprisals & harassment.

CPC looks at the global offer!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Link to CUPW Global Offer!

The interview Part 6

“Jets” Tuesday

Congratulations to everyone that organized and participated in Fridays’  “No Uniform” day.  Winnipeg joined Locals across the country in sending a message to the employer that we’re ready to fight for Jobs, Justice & Equality.

Is it time for another fashion protest?  Some say so.  Some say that maybe a  is in order coming out of the long weekend.  Some say maybe we should capitalize on the community momentum developing around the possible return of an NHL franchise.  How cool would that be to see a bunch of carriers and couriers out delivering mail and wearing “Jets” gear. What kind of dilemma would that create for the employer?  Discipline the friendly Postie that supports another Jets team?  Bring it on!!!!

Don’t have Jets clothing?  Not a clerk or courier or wicket clerk?  No worries.  Be creative.  Montreal letter carriers wore blue jeans all last week.  Talk to your friends and co-workers and come up with your own statement to show your support for a negotiated collective agreement now that respects postal workers and our communities.

Most importantly….Have Fun!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Union to Submit Global Offer

In an effort to energize negotiations CUPW is preparing a global offer that will address all outstanding issues in our negotiations with the Canada Post Corporation. We believe this offer should be the basis of a settlement. The offer will be provided to the Employer on Sunday, May 22, 2011. The exact time has yet to be determined.
The Union will summarize the details of the global offer in a bulletin and post a copy of it on the Union’s website ( as soon as it is submitted to the employer.

72-Hour Notice Postponed

In the context of the Union submitting a global offer tomorrow the CUPW National Executive Board has decided not to submit a 72-hour strike notice this evening. A 72-hour notice is required under the Canada Labour Code prior to any strike/lockout action being undertaken by a union or employer.

Collective Agreement to Apply

The Employer has stated that all provisions of the collective agreement will continue to apply until the Union provides a 72-hour notice as required by the law. Consequently the collective agreement will remain in full force and effect.

No Strike on Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Since we are not providing the 72-hour notice this evening there will be no strike activity on May 25th.

Goal remains a negotiated settlement

Currently it is impossible to predict what will occur over the next few days. If the employer responds favourably to the Union’s global offer we may move quickly towards a negotiated settlement. If not there is little doubt that strike action will be necessary to convince CPC to drop its rollbacks and negotiate the demands of the membership.
We prefer to negotiate a settlement. But we are ready and prepared to strike if necessary.
In solidarity,

Denis Lemelin
National President and Chief Negotiator



CPC proposes a 4 year agreement with wage increases of 1.75%, 1.75%, 1.9% and 2.0%. For Group 1 and 2 employees hired after the date of signing the collective agreement the employer is proposing a starting rate of $18.00 per hour.
CUPW believes the wage offer is much too low considering the current annual inflation rate of 3.3%. The Union opposes the introduction of a new starting salary that would be 22% less than the current starting rate of a letter carrier which is $23.11.

Work Methods and Health and Safety

The union is proposing ergonomic studies prior to the introduction of new equipment or work methods, improved rotation of duties and a “one bundle” method of delivery for all points of call except for “stop and go” and centralized points of call.
The employer rejects these proposals despite the high injury rate of postal workers.

Short Term Disability Plan

CPC proposes to eliminate the current sick leave plan and impose a Short Term Disability Plan administered by Manulife which provides for seven personal days per year. Employees with borrowed sick leave credits will have to reimburse CPC. There is no protection for short term illnesses once employees have exhausted their personal days.
CUPW believes the current sick leave plan should be maintained and employees must be protected from harassment by Manulife. Instead of sick leave the employer should address the reasons for the increasing number of days lost due to workplace injuries. Plus, should Manulife refuse a sick leave claim, there is no recourse to grievance and arbitration.

Internal Staffing

CPC wants a reduction in the current ratio of full-time employees in Group 1. CUPW wants measures to increase full-time job opportunities.

Other Issues

Other issues in dispute include:
  • vacation leave and pensions of new hires and current temporary employees when they become regular employees
  • householder values
  • paid parental leave
  • cost of living allowance
  • injury on duty pay
  • union funds (education and childcare)

CUPW Ready to Negotiate

The union has notified the employer and the mediator that the Union’s National Negotiating Committee is ready to resume intensive negotiations. The CUPW National Executive Board is in Ottawa and they are prepared to make the necessary decisions.

Friday, May 20, 2011


By the time you read this bulletin, the Union and the employer will be hours away from invoking their right to strike or lock-out.  The Union has done everything humanly possible to persuade the employer that they have to drop their unacceptable concession demands and bring forward a proposal that could form the basis of a settlement. 

Unfortunately, they have chosen to ignore the Union’s negotiators and are trying to convince you to accept their last insulting offer by sending it directly to your home in an Xpresspost envelope.  At this point, it appears evident that we will need to use the 94% strike mandate given by the membership in order to push the employer off their agenda of implementing a cheap labour strategy.

STRIKE CALL:  The Union could decide to invoke the strike mandate as early as 12.01 a.m. on Wednesday, May 25th.  The National Executive Board will determine what type of strategy is most suitable and advise the Locals accordingly.  You will be contacted by your picket captain once Winnipeg members are asked to join the strike.  If you are a temporary employee and don’t know who your picket captain is, please contact the Union office at 942-6323 or the Strike Headquarters numbers listed below.

PICKET HOURS & LOCATIONS:  For the first day of the strike, all members are asked to picket their own workplace for their regular scheduled work shift.  Following the first day, all members are expected to contribute 4 hours of duty per picket shift at a time and location determined by the Strike Committee once we see what type of operation the employer attempts to run.  We recognize that there are many members with varying limitations and we fully intend to use the strength of our members with all of the diversity that exists within our ranks.  No matter what your situation, we will find a way to have you participate and contribute to the success of our strike.  If you have medical limitations, please report to the Strike Headquarters for appropriate instructions. 

STRIKE HEADQUARTERS:  The Union has acquired space for our Strike Headquarters at 2A – 1717 DUBLIN AVENUE.  Phone numbers there will be 632-0632 or 632-1714.  We will also be maintaining our Local Office operation during the strike as well.  Our Local office is located at 204-171 Donald Street.

STUFF WE NEED:  The Local is asking for donations to furnish the Strike Headquarters.  We need things such as a fridge, tables, chairs, couch, futon, entertainment items for children (such as a TV, DVD player, VHS player, games), card, crib boards and anything else you think might make the place more enjoyable.  

PARTICIPATION GUIDELINES:  All members will be responsible to ensure that they are signed in for their shift in order to process strike pay.  No one is to report for any strike related duty under the influence of alcohol or uncontrolled substances.  Under no circumstances are any types of weapons to be brought to the picket line.

SOMETHING FOR THE MORE ADVENTUROUS:  Sometimes we learn about new developments that require just an extra bit of energy and enthusiasm and a fast response.  Common sense dictates we not say too much about it here.  If you like living life on the more “Wild Side”, let your picket captain know and they will refer you to some really fun people.

STRIKE COMMUNICATIONS:  During the Strike, we will be using a number of different forms of communication to keep you informed.  WPGINFO is our electronic mass distribution system using e-mail and text messaging.  If you haven’t signed up yet, please call the Union office or let your picket captain know.  You can also get information on the National Union website at,
through the Winnipeg Local website at

HELPING THOSE THAT DEPEND ON US:  Once again, CUPW has made a commitment to deliver socio-economic cheques for those that rely on the postal system for their existence.  An agreement has been reached with the employer for CUPW volunteers to deliver Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security and Child Benefits cheques in the event of a strike.  Volunteers selected will be paid a modest honorarium and we are asking our members to donate those monies to a worthwhile cause or charity.  We can always use funds to help finance our annual children’s Christmas party! 

MOST IMPORTANTLY:  For the vast majority of our members, this will be their first strike and it may feel a little scary and overwhelming.  We understand that but want to assure you that you will be part of an action that you will never forget and will forge solidarity with Sisters & Brothers that can never be broken.  At the same time, our newer and younger members will bring energy and creativity that will breathe new life into the Union.  Make this struggle a powerful and positive experience – you’re on the side of social and economic justice. 

Have Fun!

Executive Officers
Winnipeg Local
Canadian Union of Postal Workers


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Link to article regarding possible strike

Letter from CPC chief Negotiator to Denis Lemelin, National President

The following is a letter that was delivered to the union on behalf of the Corporation explaining the issue of certain leaves during a strike or a lock out.

Dear Mr. Lemelin:

This letter addresses the issue of a settlement
in the current negotiations not being reached
and your bargaining unit acquiring the legal
right to strike and Canada Post acquiring the
legal right to lockout.

Although we would prefer a settlement and
remain hopeful that one can be reached, we
must be cognizant of the status of the
collective agreement. The purpose of this
letter is to set out the new terms and
conditions of employment that will apply upon
conclusion of the extension of the collective

n the event that a notice of a work disruption,
which complies with section 87.2 of the
Canada Labour Code, is provided, the terms
of the current collective agreement between
Canada Post and CUPW will no longer apply.
In such a case, but no earlier than May 25,
2011, the terms and conditions of employment
of all CUPW-represented employees (urban)
will revert to the statutory minimum conditions
established by Part III of the Canada Labour
Code, with the exception of the following:


An employee will be paid for time worked at the rate of pay to which he/she was entitled on the day prior to the date upon which the
provisions of the collective agreement ceased to apply.


Under the law, benefits can be maintained if the Union pays for them. CUPW has not indicated whether it will pay to continue
benefits. Therefore, the following benefits will be suspended unless payment is received before or upon receipt of notice:

Extended Healthcare Plan (EHCP)
Disability Insurance (Dl)
Life Insurance
Adoption and maternity sub-plan

Vacation leave that was approved and
started before notice is given will be
honoured until any strike activity occurs

All new vacation leave requests will be subject
to Director-level approval and one week's
Once any local or national strike activity
occurs, all vacation leave will be cancelled
for all employees.


Certified sick leave and sick leave without pay that began before notice is given will be honoured, subject to the availability of credits, until any strike activity occurs.

New sick leave requests will be subject to management approval and will require a medical certificate.

Once any local or national strike activity occurs, sick leave will no longer be paid for any employee.


Until advised otherwise, injury-on-duty leave will continue where an employee was on such leave prior to notice being given. Upon notice being given, an employee who works and
claims an injury-on-duty shall be entitled to only those benefits as determined in
accordance with applicable workers'
compensation legislation.


Employees will not accumulate pensionable time while they are not working due to any strike activity.


Union dues will not be collected once notice is given and will not be deducted again until the effective date of a new collective agreement or such earlier time as may be determined.


The Corporation will staff to workload to meet customer requirements.

Important Information for Winnipeg Local members regarding Strike headquarters contacts!

In the event that CUPW is forced into a strike or a lockout position the Winnipeg Local has set up a strike headquarters.

Place: 2a-1717 Dublin Ave  ( Across the street from UPS)

Phone numbers:  632-0632 or 632-1714

The strike headquarters will be open and staffed 24 hours a day during a strike or lockout. If you have any furniture or supplies you would like to donate or you would like to volunteer your time to staff the headquarters call the local office at 942-6323.

No Uniform protest information for all members!!

To all Members:

The Local has been advised by some members that the employer has been suggesting to letter carriers that they may be subjected to discipline if they participate in our “No Uniform Day” of protest.  The employer has suggested that this may be construed as an illegal work stoppage or a concerted effort.

We are not advocating a work stoppage for Friday, May 20th.  We fully intend to deliver the mail, just not in our uniforms.

This is a concerted effort ito show our support for our negotiating committee and to support our bargaining demands.

The above link will bring you to a pdf version of the decision showing the Canada Industrial Relations Board upholds our legal right to do so and fully rejects the employers’ assertion that it is an illegal strike.  The decision is fairly short and concise and I would encourage you to read the entire document.  The most relevant provisions are in paragraphs 22 to 25.

We have a legal right to show our support for our Union during collective bargaining.  This right only lasts as long as we are determined to stand up and fight for it. 

Stand Together Sisters & Brothers!

PS:  Please share with your contacts through email or other medium.

Important information on Annual leave and sick leave during a strike

Today in Winnipeg the employer has started informing workers that in the event of a strike or a lock out the corporation will be cancelling all annual leave and sick leave and will not be paying members. Many people were unclear on this so hopefully this will clear things up.

Winnipeg Local Blog will be up and running again daily as of today

As of today The worker struggle with the Modern Post blog will be back. 
The blog will also include information regarding issues around the possibility of  a strike, negotiations, and all other issues affecting CUPW membership in these truly uncertain times.

Feel free to leave comments or questions but let it be known that not all comments will be posted for strategic purposes. Information from the membership across the country will be truly valuable for this blog at this time however we may need to edit comments or exclude some because of the truly sensitive nature that times like these create. We encourage other locals to send us updates on their respective situations if we in fact are forced by the employer to invoke our right to strike. Pictures and videos are more than welcome as well.

Check back regularly as there will most likely be alot of information being relayed in the coming days.

If there is a specific issue or question that you feel requires additional privacy, the email address you could send  to is:

This email account will be monitored daily as well.

In the past this blog has had a very large following and it is our goal to increase its following. Please share this blog address with as many postal workers as possible.  Membership participation with this blog is  the key to it's success. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


What does a Conservative Majority Government mean to Postal Workers???

Nothing different than a minority government meant yesterday!  We need to continue to defend our Public Post, our jobs, our benefits and our rights under a negotiated Collective Agreement.

We need to continue with our Voices of Solidarity to send a message to the Employer that we will not accept their rollbacks under any government’s power.

CUPW has been here before – we have fought in the past to get the benefits, wages and job security we have today – we will continue to fight to ensure we keep them!

That is why we say