Golder Report “Mail Bundle Ergonomic Review” (Application for an Interlocutory Order)

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Grievance File Number: 
N00-12-00017
Relevant Articles: 
Canada Labour Code and the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, namely clauses 33.01 and 33.02 of the collective agreement, sections 122.1, 122.2 and 124 of the Code and sections 19.1 and 19.5 of the Regulations
Date referred: 
Thursday October 15 2015
Status: 
Decision
Arbitrator: 
Picher

Statement

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers was advised a few days ago that the Canada Post Corporation has decided to implement the method of carrying the double bundle held back-to-back in the hand as the official work method for letter carriers.

In implementing this work method, the Corporation is violating the provisions of the collective agreement, the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, namely clauses 33.01 and 33.02 of the collective agreement, sections 122.1, 122.2 and 124 of the Code and sections 19.1 and 19.5 of the Regulations.

Further, the Corporation is clearly acting in bad faith, given the arbitration awards rendered with respect to health and safety matters over the past few years, namely decisions rendered by Arbitrator Burkett in the matter of Grievance N00-07-00032, and the findings of the July 2015 Golder Report on letter carrier work methods. 

In so doing, the Corporation continues to deliberately compromise the health and safety of its employees, giving rise to a claim for damages for prejudice incurred and exemplary damages resulting from a deliberate violation of the legislation and the collective agreement.

Corrective Steps Requested

That the Corporation immediately cease using any other mail carrying method than the one-bundle delivery method;

That the Corporation immediately cease prohibiting the sortation of sequenced mail at sortation cases with unsequenced mail to create a single bundle;

That the Corporation proceed without delay to adjust letter carrier routes with proper time values in accordance with the one-bundle delivery method;

That the Corporation pay each letter carrier who was or is being forced to use a two-bundle delivery method moral damages of $500.00 and punitive damages of $500.00 for each week during which the two-bundle delivery method was or is being used;

That the Corporation pay CUPW moral damages of $25,000.00 and punitive damages of $25,000.00 for the deliberate and systematic violation of the occupational health and safety provisions of the collective agreement;

All with interest to September 9, 2015.

CUPW reserves the right to seek any other additional or supplementary corrective action.

 

Application for a Cease and Desist Order

Pursuant to the provisions of clauses 9.87 and following of the collective agreement, CUPW further requests that the arbitrator issue an order to cease and desist from using delivery methods other than the single-bundle method and from prohibiting letter carriers from sorting sequenced mail into their sortation case and combine it with the unsequenced mail to form a single bundle. 

In addition to the facts laid out in the above-mentioned grievance, CUPW further submits the following in support of its application for a cease and desist order: 

  1. In 2010, the Corporation implemented a two-bundle delivery method that was deemed hazardous, and that thousands of letter carriers were forced to use until an order prohibiting its use was issued in February 2014.

  2. Despite various awards rendered by Arbitrator Burkett clearly establishing the Corporation’s obligations in matters of occupational health and safety, the Corporation has continued to compromise the health and safety of its employees by forcing them to use work methods that entail risk of injuries and accidents. 

  3. In July 2015, the Golder firm released its ergonomic report to the parties. 

  4. This report, prepared at the parties’ joint request, makes it abundantly clear that the single-bundle method is the least hazardous work method.

  5. The Corporation therefore has a clear obligation to use the method that entails the least risk for the health and safety of its employees. It is clear and undeniable that letter carriers have the right not to be forced to use work methods that entail risk of accidents.

  6. The situation is urgent, since, despite the extensive time that has passed, the findings of the Golder Report and Arbitrator Burkett’s awards, the Corporation continues to insist on imposing the hazardous double-bundle work methods.

  7. The balance of convenience clearly favours the issuance of the order requested by CUPW given, on the one hand, the serious risk of injury and accident for letter carriers and, on the other hand, the fact that there is a known alternative work method, which is as efficient but less hazardous. 

  8. The consequences of these violations of the collective agreement and of the Canada Labour Code are very serious, since the physical well-being of letter carriers is being seriously compromised in view of the very high accident rate among letter carriers.

  9. It is evident that any harm to a person’s physical integrity is serious and irreparable and that there is no other remedy for enforcing the provisions of the collective agreement.