Shop Floor Action, Workers Stepping Up

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Thursday April 30 2020

Everywhere postal workers are delivering under poor conditions. It’s been over 100 years since we delivered during a pandemic. Yet, workers continue to defend themselves and support health care workers. There is a lot more happening in locals than are included here.

Members of the Golden, B.C., local used their individual right to refuse work because the post office was not properly cleaned.  Everyone refused to go into a filthy unsafe workplace. The matter is resolved for now. In order for CUPW members to return to work, Canada Post arranged to have the facility thoroughly cleaned.

This pattern repeats elsewhere. Operations often require extra convincing to do the right thing. The “disgusting” Collingwood, Ontario, post office was unacceptably filthy. “Clean it or we are leaving” was the message. That weekend, cleaners came in. It was reported by one observer that it had suddenly become “the cleanest post office” they had ever seen.

The Winnipeg local continues to demonstrate visible support and gratitude for health care workers and our public health care system. The Royal City, Windsor, Hamilton, Calgary, Nova, Scarborough and Toronto Locals have done the same. In Newmarket, Ontario, 80 vehicles driven by local RSMCs and letter carriers drove by the hospital while health workers came outside to greet them. In Montreal, visits continue to the various hospitals in an ongoing show of support to ensure every hospital worker feels support.

In the absence of CPC providing masks to those that want them, a Winnipeg worker sewed masks for co-workers. Workers who left non-perishable items for the food bank received a mask. Food and toiletries went to Sunshine House.

The Niagara Local organized and conducted an action in support of a retirement home and its residents who have had a bad time with COVID 19. The members raised money through donations and provided the retirement home residents and staff with coffee, donuts, and flowers. The action received good coverage by the local news. The organizers plan to donate to other homes in Niagara Falls each week.

All over the country, health and safety committees are stepping up. We know in many cases that shielding and social distancing took place when locals started making it happen. The social stewards are playing such a vital, and thankless unacknowledged role. They deserve our gratitude for helping people through difficult times. Like all postal workers, rural workers and those working in smaller bargaining units are making a real difference in the lives of people in a crisis.

Political work for the post office of the future continues. In Atlantic Canada, one member of the Fredericton local appeared on a virtual panel seen by hundreds on Delivering Community Power. There is still interest in this ecological and sustainable postal vision from the public. There will be an opening to drive this initiative after COVID-19 and we need to be active in this transition to create a sustainable economy that serves communities and not billionaires.

We do not know of every single action you have taken and likely miss many, but we do know that this is a time of uncertainty requiring solidarity. Please send your story to us. 

Postal workers stepping up to take care of one another deserve respect and amplification of the good things we do in society.


The struggle continues. 

In Solidarity,

Dave Bleakney
2nd National Vice-President