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Why We All Must Support Our Postal Workers

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
Why We All Must Support Our Postal Workers

In all honesty it is as simple as this: You want to fight Harper? Then support the posties!

Any day now, 45,000 postal workers could be on strike or be locked out from their job by their employer, Canada Post Corporation (CPC). The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and CPC have been in negotiation since October. The two sides are at fundamental odds over working conditions, the future of the postal service, and the treatment of new workers.

The CPC, a crown corporation, has been profitable for the last 16 years. In its last reported year, 2009, CPC registered a net profit of 281 million dollars from a total revenue of 3.1 billion dollars. Mail volumes fell in 2009, largely due to the economic downturn, but remained well above what they were 10 years ago. According to CPC, in 2009 "the negative pressure on revenue growth was mitigated by cost containment and operational efficiencies along with an unplanned non-cash reduction in employee future benefits expense."

Thus, despite an 8 percent reduction in mail volumes in 2009, CPC was able to make profits by reducing worker's benefits and denying health and safety concerns of their employees (Postal workers make up about 6% of the federal workforce but account for  20% of federal workforce injuries). And even though CPC recorded its most profitable year in 2009, "Canada Post did not pay a dividend to the Government of Canada in 2009 due to the company’s financial challenges and the need for significant capital reinvestment to modernize the postal system. "

This reinvestment was the spending of 2 billion dollars to purchase new sorting machines, reorganize routes, and reduce "inefficiencies" in the postal service. This capital reinvestment is referred to as the Modern Post. The Modern Post is an attempt by the CPC to reduce the size of its workforce, weaken the power of CUPW, and increase the productivity among workers while reducing wages and benefits to those very same workers.

During negotiations the CPC has insisted on creating a two-tiered workplace where new workers will: get paid around 30% less than current employees, will have a defined pension plan where they bear all the risk, longer hours, less job security and less paid leave. This is an obvious ploy to weaken the union by creating resentment among new members and by setting up a precedence for all members wages and benefits to be reduced in future bargaining.

The CPC is also trying to implement working conditions that defy any standard of health and safety. They want letter carriers to carry double bundles in one arm when they are delivering mail. For those of you who are not letter carriers, this means two huge satchels on your side, a scanner gun, a heavy bundle of mail in your hand, and a heavy bundle of mail on that same forearm.  This is just plain dangerous, especially with longer routes and inclement weather. In places where they have tried implement this change, letter carriers simply refused to work under such conditions and went out on a wildcat strike.

The CPC is also trying to end sick leave as it is known. The want to replace sick days with a Short-Term Disability (STD) plan. The STD plan pays 30 percent less than sick days, and there is a lag of seven days before you can file for STD plan coverage in which you have to use personal days. Your claim is then subject to Manulife's approval.

So why is the postal worker's struggle important for us non-postal workers?

First off, CUPW is the most progressive union in Canada. It has been at the forefront of many progressive struggles. It was the first national union to pass a boycott, divestment and sanction resolution against the state of Israel for its illegal occupation of Palestine. CUPW was also the first Canadian union to pass a boycott resolution against South African apartheid. It has also taken stances against the Iraq war and the Afghan war as well as taking stances against NAFTA and the FTAA. CUPW is also a major reason that maternity leave exists at all in Canada. In 1981, as a result of a 42-day strike, CUPW successfully negotiated 17 weeks of maternity leave paid at a rate of 93% of wages. This was a major breakthrough for all workers as the government and other major employers were forced to provide maternity leave and improve on it.

The defeat of the postal workers would be a major blow to the Canadian labour movement which is also facing huge jobs cuts on the federal level. If the CPC were victorious other major employers would implement many of CPC's rules regarding sick leave and wage rollbacks and two-tier workplaces. This would be disastrous for all workers, whether they are unionized or not.

The CPC and the Harper government want to privatize our postal system. The CPC over the years has been whittling down the services provided by the postal system. They have reduced rural service, replaced door-to-door service with community mail boxes and have gotten rid of banking services. An expanded postal service would create more jobs and provide more services in our communities.

Our society has become more and more unequal. As the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives', Linda Mcquaig and others, have noted, the top-earning 1 per cent of Canadians almost doubled their share of national income, from 7.7 per cent to 13.8 per cent, over the past three decades. Things are only set to get worse under Harper. Workers, both unionized and non-unionized face a future of precarious job security and working conditions. Migrant labourers, women and people of colour will be facing even worse conditions as the Harper government will cut services, increase the security apparatus and institute a regressive regime that will police borders, bodies and dissent with the utmost cruelty.

This will be done in the service of a system, capitalism, which serves only those who already have power and wealth beyond the wildest imagination of most people in our society.

We are facing a choice in our society. Do we want to live in a place where managers and bosses aim to squeeze out as much profit from our labour and our communities just so a few people can have a third home and a second yacht? Or do we want to live in communities based on social solidarity, where if someone is down and out we help them out as equals and we look out for one another?

So we must support our postal workers with as much effort as we can muster. If they are handed a defeat by the Harper government we will all eventually feel it. So please. Lets organize and support postal workers in our communities as best we can. Whatever differences we may have, politically or personally, let's put those aside so we can rally around this important struggle.  Put your trust in the postal workers and let's focus on build community mobilization for this cause.

By practicing solidarity with our postal workers, by talking to our friends and neighbours, by building links in our communities around common struggles we can further build our capacity to resist attacks on those very communities. Also, through struggle we can build a better political analysis based on concrete realities that will help hone future political strategies to fight for a better world.

Together we can win this fight!

How You Can Help:

-Educate yourself on the issues

-Talk to your friends, neighbours, and family about the issues

-Put a sign of support in your window, then go to your neighbour and ask if they will do the same

-Write into your paper, call your radio station, commnet online and demand they get their facts straight and let them know you are with the posties

-Find groups organizing in your community, coordinate actions with them such as: canvassing neighbourhoods, having an information picket, leafleting events, putting up posters, making banners, organize teach-ins, film nights, organizing picket line support, coordinating community food servings, etc....

If there is no group in your community organizing, then start one...

Their struggle is our struggle!

An injury to ONE is and an injury to ALL!

For materials (posters and pamphlets) you can use in your communities visit

supportpostalworkers.wordpress.com

If you are on Facebook join the event

https://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=221211814573000&notif_t=event_wall#wall_posts

www.hammerhearts.wordpress.com

 


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1381 words

Comments

Canada Post

would someone please show me , a letter carrier for the past thirty -two years where the lettermail volume has decreased, I get as much if not more than I ever have each and every workday and spend anywhere from two to five hours just standing and sorting the mail to prepare it for delivery. Canada Post has placed so many more duties onto us and taken the work that supervisors and others are suppose to do, we are provided with antiquated equipment and it causes delays in our work on a constant business, perhaps they should rid themselves of much of the mid -management people who do absolutely nothing within their own required duties other than to harass employees and make life at work a very stressful place. Considering the figures the Corporation would like the public to believe about the mail volume and the revenues they are rather embellished, they waste so much by using overtime and forcing letter carriers to work on other mail routes for two hours once they have performed the duties on their own route, should an employee refuse to work the overtime they are then suspended without pay for up to a week without pay . Try doing that on a winter day with nothing but freezing weather and the roads and walkways leading into each address covered in ice and now they want carriers to accept the ridiculous way of carrying two bundles of mail on your arm plus what you carry in the bag besides all that stuff you call junkmail to which the Corporation calls Admail, as many as dozen different sets loosely sitting in the bag and somehow it is to be delivered without having it blow away on a windy day or be damaged in anyway, try it yourself and see how difficult it is, and as the fall sets in it becomes dark earlier and the carriers are out doing this in unsafe conditions, I sometimes visualize the two cons in the movie " Home Alone" attempting to get up or down a frozen set of steps only to come crashing down, for us it is no laughing matter and now Canada Post wants to deny us the right to receive 100% pay if injured on the job and offer us only 70%, if I am out there putting in 100% then I expect to receive just that !  With regard to their so-called Admail, we the carriers receive two cents per piece of Admail and then off course after taxes it works out to about 1.1 cents, how many of you would accept the offer of walking door to door to five hundred homes in all or any weather conditions no matter the time of year or the area and once you have fought off a mean aggressive dog or two or some other health and safety issue then you receive a whole $10.00 minus the deducted taxes for your effort, meanwhile Canada Post has been paid as much as twenty-five cents per flyer, that's one hell of a profit so please " DO NOT POOR MOUTH ME "  Canada Post !!!!!!!!!!  Once again the public has been duped into believing our union has created all the problems and " what's his name" in Ottawa is just sitting back and patting himself on the back, aren't you Stevie boy !

It is time to introduce back

It is time to introduce back to work legislation!

Have u seen what they already

Have u seen what they already have....and what they are asking for..! Bunch of greedy pricks...dont work any harder than anyone else by ANY means and want more!!? Fuckin unions!!!!

Postal Workers

Canada Post has made a profit for the past 16 years? Status quo seems a reasonable solution to the negotiations.  Canada Post is required to pay a dividend to the federal government when they are profitable.  What is the government going to do with that money? good question right; it will be squandered away on billion dollar summits.  Continue paying all postal workers a decent salary and in turn the money paid to them will be then spent and help bolster the economy.

In Solidarity

Postal Workers

Canada Post has made a profit for the past 16 years? Status quo seems a reasonable solution to the negotiations.  Canada Post is required to pay a dividend to the federal government when they are profitable.  What is the government going to do with that money? good question right; it will be squandered away on billion dollar summits.  Continue paying all postal workers a decent salary and in turn the money paid to them will be then spent and help bolster the economy.

In Solidarity

Perfect

You just enunciated all the reasons why CUPW must be dismantled.

You are a bunch of self entitled twits sucking on the public teat.

 

And what a postal union in Canada has or should have to do with the situation in Israel boggles the mind.

 

I hope the government dismantles the entire union once and for all.

Support

I just want to say thank you for your story,it means a lot to me and probably all my brothers&sisters,we shall fight to the end.

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