I am a 24 year employee and have been the President of my local, the Fundy Local 105 of CUPW in Saint John for 14 yrs. I have been through every strike to date since 1987 and every negotiation since then. There are always going to be people who will voice their opinion to the detriment of the union. That is their democratic right. Some though, should consider before they speak, where we would be without the negotiations process. There are anumber of members who would have had the membership vote on the first offer on May 17. That offer started as a joke by CPC but a lot of people that may have never been through this process before are very unsure of themselves and their jobs. The seventh week of vacation was off the table, IOD payments were reduced to 75% from 100%, the STDP was being shoved down our throats, the wage offer was 1.75% for three years and 2% for year four. The offer a week later on May 24 put the 7 th week back on the table, the IOD reduction was dropped, and the wage offer was improved. Good thing we never voted on the May 17th offer. There are still to many issues that are outstanding to conduct a vote as things stand. We all have to understand this process always comes down to the wire. The latest offer dated June 2, has at the very least, got management thinking because they have made a concession on the STDP that they were holding fast on just yesterday. The offer to hire new employees has improved a dollar an hour overnight.
Remember that Canada Post has invested over 2 BILLION dollars in new equipment across the country to come up with savings of 250 million dollars a year, those savings will be placed directly on our backs. The new machines and equipment are designed to make the way of work more efficient but no real thought has been given to the Health and Safety aspect of the employees. All of us can only do so much and eventually your body will get tired. Running up and down a machine that has twice the capacity of the old machines will surely lead to an increase in injury just for the simple fact that the boss will expect you to work at the same rate as before. That is why protections have to be extended in the current round of negotiations to protect us from the injuries that are sure to come that deal with new technology. For those in smaller offices with no machinery that is a less important thing to worry about but the risk is still there for many others. The two bundle method of carrying mail for the carriers is another obvious concern that has to be dealt with. This is another issue that may not concern a lot of members at this time but it will eventually concern the majority of the external work force. You only have two hands and arms (well most of us) and to have to work the mail while walking on the street with both hands and arms. It is not impossible but it is certainly not safe. I would assume every letter carrier has at least one set of stairs on their walk that has a hand rail, think of how you will work the mail with both hands and still try to hold on if you happen to need to.
Everyone remember we have the only service that reaches to every conceivable point of call in the country from NLD to BC. We deliver other couriers products to the remote locations because it is not cost effective for them to do so. They pay us to do it. The Postal service in Canada will ALWAYS be around in one form or another because of this simple fact. Remember we have not had a non-profit year in 17 years even in the face of the Corporate schemes that do more than any of us ever could to drive business away.
These negotiations are the most important ones ever undertaken for us as a union. Do not be fooled or misled by the Corporation because they post a few facts up on a web site.
None of us wants to strike but there comes a time when we all have to stand up for our collective benefits and show our strength by standing together.
Have some honour and don't be afraid. You will find in the end that what we are fighting for is well worth the gains we will make.
Support your negotiators and as hard as it may seem right now staring at the fact that we have to take away our services we will come out better at the conclusion of this very stressful event.
If in the end it all comes down to whether you want to die on your feet screaming at the top of your lungs OR being on your knees begging to live, I will die on my feet.