On June 6, 2018, the bargaining committees of both parties met with CUPW National President Mike Palecek and CPC Chairperson and Interim President Jessica McDonald. The meeting had been requested by Canada Post to permit Ms. McDonald and National President Mike Palecek to articulate their perspectives on the current negotiations, the recent Pay Equity Award and the ongoing Pay Equity process.
Ms. McDonald expressed her belief that it is important that all employees be treated equitably and fairly and that she was committed to promoting gender equality as a basic human right. She stated that she has been given a mandate from the government to ensure that Canada Post works collaboratively with the union. She addressed numerous topics such as the need for quality services, the necessity to remain competitive, and the importance to end workplace bullying, reduce injuries and address mental health issues. She also said that greening CPC was of great interest to herself and the CPC Board of Directors.
National President Palecek said that he appreciated the change in tone but observed that the Liberal government also talks a good line but nothing has changed in Canada Post to date. He stated that the establishing a better relationship would be difficult given the lack of trust. As an example, he cited the employers continued reluctance to agree to provide access to information necessary for the union to verify compliance with the collective agreement. Nancy Beauchamp and Cathy Kennedy, both members of the Pay Equity Committee, provided Ms. McDonald with several examples where CPC representatives did everything possible to delay the pay equity process and deny RSMCs pay equity and equal working conditions. Sylvain Lapointe, Chief Negotiator for the urban bargaining unit provided her with information on previous negotiations where CPC representatives reneged on offers and exploited the unconstitutional legislation imposed by the Harper government. He also outlined the reasons why there has been such little real progress in the urban negotiations.
The current negotiations and finalization of the pay equity process gives Ms. McDonald and the new members of the CPC Board of Directors an excellent opportunity to put their stated intentions into practice. As postal workers we know there is much to be done to correct the deeply embedded culture of confrontation and deceit that is so pervasive throughout the ranks at all levels of management at Canada Post.
As a start the new CPC leadership can begin by instructing management to be honest with both the public and with postal workers. Instead of predicting huge financial losses that never actually happen management should tell the truth about CPC’s real financial situation.
Instead of congratulating themselves and paying themselves bonuses for a reduction in injuries that never happened management should work with the union to make the workplace safer.
Management should also be instructed to live up to the terms of the collective agreement instead of knowingly and blatantly violating it as they have with Group 1 staffing provisions - actions which have caused thousands of postal workers to remain in precarious employment.
Real change is desperately needed if postal workers are to have any confidence in the integrity of postal management.
We need action. And we need it now.