N00-07-00032 - Cease and desist – New Routes

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Grievance File Number: 
N00-07-00032
Collective Agreement: 
Urban Postal Operations (2007)
Date referred: 
Tuesday September 7 2010
Status: 
Referred
Arbitrator: 
G. Dulude, K. Burkett*

Statement

Following the introduction of mail sequencing, the Corporation decided to implement new letter carrier routes with new work methods and a new work system. It is expected that new routes will be implemented in Winnipeg on September 20, and October 18, 2010, and in 2011 as well as in other locations starting in November 2010. The implementation of these routes as planned by the Corporation will result in several violations of the collective agreement, including, among other violations, the following:

1. These new routes will use a new mail delivery method that requires the letter carrier to hold bundles of mail in one hand and on the forearm, in addition to carrying mail in the satchel. This “multiple bundles” work method entails considerable health and safety hazards for employees. By requiring its employees to follow this dangerous work method, the Corporation is violating Article 33 of the collective agreement, Part II of the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.

2. The new routes that the Corporation wants to implement in Winnipeg starting September 20, 2010, have been “structured” by the Corporation’s route measurement officers (RMOs) without giving CUPW observers access to the relevant and necessary information they need to ensure the routes were structured in accordance with the Letter Carrier Route Measurement System (LCRMS), the provisions of the collective agreement and the work standards in effect. In so doing, the Corporation is violating Article 47 of the collective agreement.

3. As a matter of facts and despite the failure of the Corporation to give CUPW access to the relevant information, the Union’s observers noticed that the new routes structured by the Corporation are not in compliance with the LCRMS and the collective agreement and not in compliance with the duty of the Corporation to provide safe working conditions.

4. The deliberate refusal of the route measurement officers to structure the new routes in compliance with the LCRMS and the collective agreement is in addition a contravention of the employee’s right to bid on their future route with full knowledge.

5. The introduction of these new routes is also a violation of clause 29.02 of the collective agreement in that it constitutes an adverse effect on employees and a denial of their contractual rights.

Given these multiple violations of the collective agreement, CUPW is opposed to the implementation of the new routes.

Corrective Steps Requested

A. CUPW asks that the Corporation recognize or that the arbitrator declare the following:

1. The “mutliple bundles” delivery method is dangerous and, consequently, its use contravenes Article 33 of the collective agreement, the provisions of the Canada Labour Code and the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.

2. The Corporation has violated Article 47 of the collective agreement by failing to provide CUPW observers with all the relevant and necessary information they need to make sure the routes abide by the collective agreement and the LCRMS and that the work standards are being properly applied.

3. The new routes established by the Corporation for letter carriers contravene the LCRMS and the collective agreement.

B. CUPW therefore requests that the Corporation be ordered:

1. to refrain from establishing or implementing routes that use the “multiple bundles” work method;

2. to immediately provide CUPW with all information required under Article 47 of the collective agreement so it can verify the compliance of the new routes, and, specifically, a copy of the GeoRoute software and of any change or update thereto.

3. to refrain from implementing any new route until 15 working days after the above-mentioned information has been conveyed, or, if applicable, until consultation under clause 47.09 has been held;

4. to correct all irregularities in the structuring of a route before its implementation.

C. CUPW reserves the right to request any additional corrective action, including compensation for any employee who has been adversely affected by the Corporation’s decisions, and, more specifically, by its inappropriately structured routes.

APPLICATION FOR AN INTERLOCUTORY ORDER

D. CUPW further requests, under clause 9.87 and following of the collective agreement, the issuance, to the Corporation, of an interlocutory order to cease and desist from implementing the new routes scheduled for the Charleswood, Depot C, Depot M, Depot J and Transcona letter carrier depots in Winnipeg until a decision is rendered on the merits of this grievance.

Alternatively, CUPW requests that the arbitrator issue an interlocutory order to cease and desist from implementing the “multiple bundles” work method in the above-mentioned letter carrier depots, until a decision is rendered on the merits of this grievance, and further, to abstain from threatening or disciplining letter carriers from these depots who work overtime to complete their routes.

In addition to the facts alleged in the statement of grievance hereinabove, CUPW submits the following in support of its application for an interlocutory order:

1. Ergonomic studies submitted by CUPW to the Corporation conclusively show the “multiple bundles” delivery method, as it relates to the LCRMS, entails real, major and serious health and safety hazards for letter carriers.

2. Health and safety hazards are also present in other aspects of the new routes the Corporation is planning to implement;

3. Letter carriers have a clear and undeniable right not to work under methods that present risks of injury. Consequently, in this case, there is a clear violation of the collective agreement.

4. This is an urgent situation, since the Corporation is persisting with its intention to require employees to use this work method when the new routes in Winnipeg are implemented, starting on September 20, 2010.

5. The balance of inconvenience definitely favours the granting of such order, on the one hand because there is a serious risk of work injuries to letter carriers, and, on the other hand, because nothing prevents the Corporation from ensuring the delivery of mail using other work methods, including the current “single bundle” method.

6. These are very serious violations of the collective agreement and the Canada Labour Code, since they will seriously endanger the physical safety of the more than 200 letter carriers who work in the above-mentioned Winnipeg depots.

7. It is clear that the endangerment to anyone’s physical safety constitutes serious and irreparable harm.

8. In addition, the right of the Corporation to introduce new routes is conditional upon the Corporation complying first with the process established by Article 47 of the collective agreement with respect to the providing of complete information to the Union and the holding of meaningful and constructive consultations to insure that new routes are properly structured;

9. Furthermore, the Corporation has no right to introduce new letter carrier routes that are knowingly not in compliance with the LCRMS and the collective agreement;

10. Forcing letter carriers to work on route that are not appropriately structured creates stress, excessive workload, worry and even anxiety. Such a situation will result in serious and irreparable harm to letter carriers.

11. These patent violations of the rights of the employees and the Union are aggravated by the fact that the Corporation systematically rejected all proposals made by CUPW that a pilot project be conducted in Winnipeg before permanently implementing the major changes contemplated by the Corporation.