Members Speak Out (Perspective • December 2014)

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Wednesday December 10 2014
Volume 42 • Number 3 • December 2014

Perspective December 2014 cover

Bloodied, but unbowed, CUPW members from coast to coast to coast are feeling the impact of postal transformation and Canada Post’s cuts. Perspective asked activists in every Region about their experience in the workplace.

Here’s what they had to say:

Members Speak Out

PACIFIC

“I continue to be amazed by the support from my allies, my MP and city councillor, whose voices continue to defend public services. I am reaffirmed in keeping up the fight to maintain door-to-door delivery when my customers ask me, “Are we going to lose our mail delivery?” I reply, “ Not if I have anything to do with it.”

Janet Barney,
Victoria Local

“We are tired of having to apologize to the public for bad management decisions…

Temps and part timers wonder if they will ever get fulltime jobs. Urban and Rural members alike worry about what other attacks the boss and their political masters have waiting for us in the next rounds of bargaining…

Canada Post treats us like disposable commodities: they try to use us up, throw us away when they break us, and ignore their responsibilities to us once we’re out of sight. We refuse to let them treat us like trash!”

Cindy McCallum-Miller,
Castlegar Local

PRAIRIES

“It has been demoralizing, people feel beaten down.

We went through a restructure in May and we have long routes. We just got the news that door-to-door delivery is ending in Medicine Hat: they’re cutting us in half. We’ve been campaigning, handing out flyers and petitions, but now we’re stepping up the fight. The Conservative government has to go. People need to get involved in the political fight.”

Doris Salmaso,
Medicine Hat Local

“Members have told me we are all pack mules now. I never get to see my family anymore because I am forced to work overtime. I can’t take my breaks and still get the route done in 8 hours. People are getting injured a lot more as management is forcing us to do all of the mail, rather than prioritizing or load levelling. Why do we have to be guinea pigs for management’s ideas? Why can’t they think the thing all the way through? ”

Anna Beale,
Calgary Local

ONTARIO

“On the floor, there’s frustration – people feeling like it’s a no-win situation, a constant flow of propaganda from the boss – so it’s a challenge to keep getting the word out there that we can win this. Windsor has already been hit so hard by unemployment. These are more good jobs leaving the community and it’s not right, it just hurts. But all the other unions are behind us and all the feedback we get from the public has been very positive. There’s a waiting list for our lawn signs.”

Jeff Carroll,
Windsor Local

“Giving up or giving in is not an option. The Canadian public, the membership, and the future of good-paying jobs are relying on us…. I believe in the members. Together, we are capable of greatness beyond imagination.”

Shelley Sillers,
Guelph Local

“Due to the job losses, there is a lot of apprehension. But where a lot of people were thinking before that this is a done deal, they are now starting to see the momentum picking up and realizing this is a political issue. When we get the message out about the alternatives, the support in the community is tremendous. You can’t go anywhere in Hamilton without seeing Save Canada Post signs. ”

Terry Langley,
Hamilton Local

“There have been job losses due to the introduction of sequenced mail and the closure of our downtown retail post office, which was downsized to a “hole in the wall” model. The elimination of door-to-door delivery will devastate our Local. RSMC workloads are increasing without fair pay for all hours worked. It’s a nightmare. However we continue to fight and we have faith in the union’s fight-back plan.”

Zaimene Carter,
Milton Local

TORONTO

On September 20th, I volunteered with Toronto canvassing door-to-door; this was the first for me and… I must say I was pleasantly surprised that it was overwhelmingly in our favour… When we got back from canvassing, you could see the hope etched on the carriers’ faces from the positive response they received from our customers. Going out and educating and talking to people gave them hope that we can stop this with canvassing and support from the communities. Some of the carriers have since gone out on their own canvassing in their own neighbourhoods and erecting lawn signs… when people get involved and work with the communities to stop these cuts and services, it acts as an incentive to continue to do so and renews our faith that the people we are trying to help maintain their services are there to support us in maintaining our jobs.

Angela Jones,
Toronto Local

CENTRAL

“We all have bills to pay and have arranged our lives around our current shifts, and now it’s all been thrown into chaos. This makes for a horrible work environment, especially when what you’re being told is constantly changing.

I’m hoping that the union can win some of the upcoming grievances, which could reverse some of the effects, or at the very least stop the proposed changes and spare some of us this grief.”

Daniel Morin,
Ottawa Local

“My parents are elderly and have health issues so working evening shifts, I was able to take them to their appointments during the day… now, who knows where I will be, somewhere across the city, and it’s going to be a lot more difficult to take care of them.

Some of my co-workers need to accommodate children’s daycare, school, before-and after programs, others work two jobs to pay the bills for themselves and their families, and some are just not physically or mentally able to deal with these changes. It’s been six months of hell on my floor… hopefully we are all going to survive it.”

Lori Pagani,
Ottawa Local

METRO-MONTREAL

“Prioritizing human relations is crucial to the proper functioning of society. Letter Carriers have been going door-to-door every day for a century, why change that now?”

Isabelle Richard,
Montreal Local

“What does Canada Post’s announcement of its five-point plan mean to me? It means the elimination of more than 8,000 jobs, and possibly mine. It means the unjustified dismantling of our public postal service, but it also means that we won’t stand by and just let it happen.”

Magali Giroux,
Montreal Local

“For me, the elimination of door-to-door mail delivery means one step closer to privatization, and the destruction of thousands of well-paid jobs with good benefits that Canadians need.”

Mathieu Clermont,
Montreal Local

QUEBEC

“There’s a lot of uncertainty – we don’t know what’s going to happen. And now, as part of postal transformation, they’re implementing the two-wave system, which is creating divisions among workers and problems for families, especially single parent families. The boss lets the media know about the changes, but, in the workplace, we’re being kept in the dark. We’ve had marches and demonstrations, and our Local has canvassed door to door with our allies. Public support has been tremendous!

Stéphane Genest,
Quebec City Local

“Canada Post’s new direction is causing a lot of uncertainty, frustration and anxiety. A lot of people are wondering if their community will be next in Canada Post’s hatched up plan. And there are members working more than 40 kilometres from another office who are rightly worried about whether they will still have a job. It’s even causing some division among our members. This is why we need to mobilize against the employer’s vicious attack and make sure we get out the vote in the next federal elections to defeat this government, which is ready to privatize our universal public postal service.”

Marc Roussel,
Outaouais Local

ATLANTIC

“We can win this, but we need postal workers and the public to stand shoulder to shoulder. At the speed at which the corporation is trying to ram this through, we are preparing to take on the biggest fight we’ve ever seen! We’ve been canvassing, meeting with municipal leaders, MPs, and setting up information pickets and tables wherever we can. We are trying to stay in the public eye by taking out newspaper ads. Live radio shows have been a great way to talk directly to the public.”

Mike Mcdonald,
St. John’s Local

“Community mail boxes do nothing to build communities when seniors and the disabled are left behind.”

Gina Miller,
Nova Local

“Prince Edward Island has seen more than its fair share of government cuts over the past few years. There is a lot of fear and uncertainty for our future, but we have a lot of support from our community and that, I find, has helped us the most. Our members know that not only are postal workers standing behind us, but our neighbours as well.”

Chris Clay,
Charlottetown Local