8000 Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMCs) deliver mail in rural and suburban areas. 70 percent are women.
Roughly 50 percent of RSMCs work out of offices with letter carriers and postal clerks. The rest work with rural postmasters (represented by the CPAA).
For many years, RSMCs were considered “contractors” rather than employees, which meant that they had no rights, no benefits and inferior working conditions. RSMCs were often told to accept a contract for less money or else they would lose their route and their job. After they deducted their expenses from their earnings, many earned minimum wage or less.
Things changed for the better on September 30, 2003, when RSMCs ratified a collective agreement making them CUPW members with rights.
This agreement came into effect on January 1, 2004 as an eight-year contract with 're-openers' every two years, allowing Canada Post and CUPW to negotiate steady improvements based on a net increase of $652 million during the eight years.