September 13, 2018
Postal Workers Stand United
Hold Canada Post to Account!
• Hold Canada Post to Account!
For Your Information
• State of Negotiations between CUPW and
Burnt By Phoenix Pay
• Federal Public Service Workers Demand: Fix
the Pay System
Now! - Peggy Askin
• PSAC Campaigns for a Fix to Phoenix Pay
Wrecking of Canada
Must Not Pass!
• Spirited Picket in Calgary to Oppose
Greyhound Bus Shutdown and
• Remarks by Nicole Montford at Calgary Picket
Postal Workers Stand United
Hold Canada Post to Account!
Action by Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers in Paradise,
Newfoundland, August 2016,
demanding pay equity with urban letter carriers.
Canada Post announced a second quarter loss of $242
million through the monopoly media on August 28. This
so-called loss occurred despite a nearly 20 per cent increase in
second quarter gross income for parcel deliveries.
The announcement came at a crucial time in negotiations
between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).
Many suspect the suggestion of a financial loss was a less than honest
attempt by Canada Post to put pressure on the union in the mediation
process for a new contract after direct negotiations broke down at the
end of June.
The purported loss is not real, but an accounting trick
based on what Canada Post calculates to be the amount necessary to
settle the longstanding pay equity dispute with rural and suburban
postal workers organized by CUPW. This dispute has been dragging on for
over two years because Canada Post simply does not want to meet the
of its rural and suburban employees. To date Canada Post has refused to
come to a settlement in the pay equity mediation process, even though
the legal procedure has already concluded that the nearly 8,000
Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMCs) are paid at least 25 per
cent less than urban letter carriers. RSMCs are more
than 80 per cent female.
A legal arbitration decision on May 31, found that
although both the urban and RSMC letter carriers are hired
with similar capacities to work and are expected to do similar work
delivering mail, a significant wage gap exists between them.
In her decision, the arbitrator failed to impose any
corrective action on the corporation to remedy the situation and
instead instructed the union and Canada Post to continue negotiating
and, if no agreement was reached by August 31, the
arbitrator would decide the award. Both parties are awaiting her
decision on the
The corporation's $242 million loss figure is an
estimate of what the amount will be to compensate the RSMCs for years
of discrimination and violation of their right to wages and benefits
comparable to those received by their fellow urban mail carriers. In
fact, even though the corporation has declared an accounting loss, they
have not paid one cent in compensation to the workers.
All the bluster by Canada Post, with the help of the
monopoly media, about a "severe financial loss," is a feeble attempt to
cover up that for years Canada Post has violated federal pay equity
laws and not only underpaid RSMCs but also imposed onerous working
conditions on them and deprived them of benefits to which they are
Even though the chickens have now come home to roost and
pay equity is the law, Canada Post still claims that paying workers
wages and benefits that they have a legal and moral right to receive
will result in "great financial difficulty" for the corporation.
According to the anti-social outlook of those who control Canada Post,
who produce all the value from moving letters and parcels from point A
to point B are a debilitating "cost of production." This backward
outlook has been evident throughout the pay equity struggle and in all
the negotiations for collective agreements with CUPW.
The leaders of the corporation must be severely
condemned for this publicity stunt of a second quarter loss and making
this an issue in the current contract negotiations. These anti-social
leaders want to punish all postal workers for the compensation the
corporation must pay for its long violation of the rights of
RSMCs. This must not and will not pass!
Postal workers are an important section of the Canadian
working class. Postal workers, with the militant support of their
communities, are determined to hold the corporation to account for the
many years of injustice faced by RSMCs. Canadians reject the shameless
negotiating tactics of the corporation executives who refuse to
take responsibility for their discrimination against RSMCs
and instead declare the rightfully owed compensation a "loss" and use
it as a weapon in the current negotiations. Despicable and
unacceptable! Stand united for a contract acceptable to all postal
1. See article "Arbitration Fails to
Resolve Decades of Injustice Suffered by Rural Suburban Mail Carriers,"
June 19, 2018.
State of Negotiations between CUPW
and Canada Post
Negotiations between the Canadian Union of Postal
and Canada Post broke down at the end of June. In the first
week of July the union received notice confirming the appointment of
two conciliators and the start of the conciliation period.
The Canada Labour
Code provides for a 60-day conciliation period which,
according to the time lines, ended September 4. This
period can be extended if both parties agree.
Conciliation is to be followed by a "21-day cooling off
period," which would end September 25. Following this,
the right to strike or lock-out according to the Labour Code would be obtained one
minute past midnight on September 26.
On September 7, the union
received global offers from Canada Post for both the Urban Operations
and RSMC negotiations. The union said the corporation's proposals are
"unacceptable and disrespectful" and that the global offer is full of
rollbacks and "Trojan Horses."
The union recently conducted a nation-wide strike vote
of its members in all the locals. The union announced the results of
the voting on September 9 saying 93.8 per cent of
urban postal operations workers and 95.9 per cent of rural and
suburban mail carriers voted to strike if an agreement cannot be
with Canada Post.
A bulletin from the union states that the negotiating
committee is meeting "to determine the next step to respond to Canada
Burnt By Phoenix Pay System
Federal Public Service Workers Demand:
Fix the Pay System Now!
Federal public service workers represented by the Public
Alliance of Canada (PSAC) confronted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as
he arrived for a fundraiser in Edmonton on September 5. They
him for the government's refusal to take the necessary action to solve
the ongoing problems created by the Phoenix
pay system. The workers held a lively rally, to bring home their
message: Fix the pay system now! It is not enough for the government to
acknowledge the problem and say it understands the hardships it has
caused; it must take serious action to fix it now!
Marianne Hladun, PSAC
Regional Executive Vice-President, Prairies,
explained the aim of the rally: "Federal public service workers haven't
been paid properly for almost two years now and when we heard that the
prime minister was going to be in town, we thought that it was
important for him to actually see the faces of the people that he's
On Canada Day, PSAC launched a national campaign to
remarkable commitment of federal public service workers who continue to
provide critical services to Canadians, despite more than two years of
Phoenix pay problems." PSAC says that Phoenix has had a terrible impact
on the lives of federal public service workers, who
are facing endless stress including missed paycheques and the fending
off of debt collectors. Despite the hardships imposed by the Phoenix
pay fiasco, "Our members continue to come in to work every day because
they truly care about Canadians and the services they provide them,"
said Chris Aylward, PSAC National President.
More than half of the 290,000 federal public
service workers who
are paid through the Phoenix system have been underpaid, overpaid or
not paid at all, with 577,000 outstanding pay issues. They may go
without pay. If they are overpaid, PSAC points out, the government
claws back the "gross amount" not the net amount
after taxes and other payroll deductions have reduced the gross amount
thus causing even more difficulties. Workers have yet to receive
any compensation owed to them for damages done, or assistance to those
in financial distress.
The Harper government hired
IBM to replace the existing pay system,
claiming that this would "save" $70,000 a year by eliminating
numbers of in-house federal workers; instead, it is estimated that the
bill to fix Phoenix will top $1.2 billion in addition to the
The IBM implementation was rushed through
government approval despite unmistakable indications that it was not
ready to launch and without proper testing, and despite the demands by
PSAC to delay the second phase of the implementation.
Workers' Forum calls on Canadians to support
the demands of
the federal public service workers to fix the pay system now, and
oppose more pay-the-rich schemes where private interests are paid
millions at the expense of the workers and the services they deliver.
Stop Paying the Rich! Increase Funding
for Social Programs!
PSAC Campaigns for a Fix to Phoenix Pay System
Workers' Forum spoke with Marianne Hladun, PSAC
Executive Vice-President, Prairies, about the union's campaign and the
response. Hladun explained that the government says it is working on
the problem and understands the impact on people, but the government
has not followed through on the promises it has made.
The government needs to take this seriously and fix it, she said.
Hladun explained that the government has now announced
intention to scrap the Phoenix system and contract with yet another
private corporation for a new system. The new Request for Proposals
(RFP) does not close until August 24, 2020, two years from
means it will be more than two years before a
company is even chosen and work begins to design the new system. "It is
ridiculous," Hladun said. "It is all band-aids and public relations.
The government can say they have issued an RFP, but our people are
still not getting paid, or if they are, are underpaid or overpaid."
Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
Deb Daviau is calling on the federal government to try the Canada
Revenue Agency's system while waiting for a replacement for Phoenix to
be developed. Alternative systems are already readily available within
government that hold the potential to be adapted to the entire
federal civil service, Daviau has pointed out.
Wrecking of Canada Must Not Pass!
Spirited Picket in Calgary to Oppose
Greyhound Bus Shutdown and Explore Solutions
Calgarians held a picket and lively discussion on
Labour Day to
oppose the impending shutdown of Greyhound bus routes in western
Canada and Northern Ontario and discuss solutions.
Greyhound Canada announced in early July that by
it would be shutting down all of its bus routes in western Canada and
Northern Ontario with the exception of one route in BC. These cuts to
service amount to nation-wrecking. They will eliminate a vital
transportation link for many Canadians in rural areas,
including many of society's most vulnerable people.
Furthermore, 450 Greyhound workers represented by Amalgamated
(ATU) Local 1374 will lose their jobs.
Organizer Nicole Montford began the picket by stating,
an essential service that keeps people and communities connected. In a
very real way, these cuts make our world smaller by keeping our cities
and towns more and more isolated."
Montford spoke further about the necessity for
Greyhound to meet
the needs of seniors, including those who require medical care only
available in large cities, Indigenous peoples who need safe and
reliable transportation, and students who depend on public
transportation to attend school and return home. She called on the
to meet with ATU representatives and to find a public solution to meet
the needs of rural communities across western Canada and Northern
After the opening remarks everyone was invited to
speak, and almost
everyone had something to say in defence of Canadians' right to safe,
affordable bus transportation. Speakers provided examples of how
necessary national and regional bus links are to the Canadian working
people. A young Métis woman elaborated on how
important this bus service is to Indigenous peoples, saying they need
improved transportation service so that there will not be another
Highway of Tears. The Trudeau government likes to talk about
reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, but real reconciliation
requires concrete actions on this and other issues, she said.
Another person raised the issue of how critical
regional bus service is to the economy, a vital link allowing people to
reach their potential and contribute as full members of society.
Activists from CPC(M-L)
pointed out that foreign-owned monopolies
have no stake in our country. They view the people and their economy as
an object to exploit for their narrow private interests. They should
not be allowed to make important decisions that wreak havoc with
people's lives and adversely affect the economy such as the
Greyhound shutdown. The people must be the ones to decide both the
direction of the economy and what means of transportation are necessary
for its extended reproduction and to fulfil the demands and needs of
Canada is one country; monopoly transportation companies
should not be allowed to exploit the most profitable routes
between major cities to the neglect of the rest of the country. Revenue
from service on the profitable routes should be used to subsidize those
routes less travelled. Canada after all is an immense country. Why, for
explore the possibility of working in tandem with Canada Post to
service remote communities combining the increased delivery of
parcels with greater public mass passenger travel? Working people who
see the necessity for safe public mass transportation, which has
trained professional workers at the centre and heart of a modern
integrated economy, should be put in charge and control. Working people
with a stake in our communities and who have an outlook of serving the
general interests of society can find solutions to our problems that
favour the people and the humanizing of the social and natural
environment, the CPC (M-L) activists said.
Safe and affordable mass transportation across Canada
is a basic
right. Discussions regarding solutions to the Greyhound shutdown
reflect the workers' striving for empowerment and the defence of
people's rights and the dignity of all.
Whose Economy? Our Economy!
Who Decides? We Decide!
Stop Paying the
Rich! Increase Funding for Social Programs!
Remarks by Nicole Montford at Calgary Picket
to Oppose Greyhound Shutdown
[...] I want to give a shout out to our friends in
organized an event at their Labour Day March and BBQ. It is fantastic
that we have two events happening in two different cities in two
different provinces today. I think it really shows that we are not
alone, and that many other people across Canada are concerned.
So as you all know, Greyhound announced in July that
they are going
to be cutting service in western Canada by October 31. Like public
transportation in cities, buses are an essential service that keeps
people and communities connected. In a very real way, these cuts make
our world smaller by keeping our cities and towns more and
more isolated. Additionally many of our society's most vulnerable
people depend on buses for connection between communities, and to
access critical services that are only available in larger urban
For example, seniors often require medical care from
that are only available in larger cities. If there is no bus service,
then these seniors need to decide between leaving their communities and
getting the care that they need. This is a choice that no one should
have to make.
Indigenous women are also
put at risk by these choices. The interim
report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous
clearly states that a lack of safe, affordable, and reliable
transportation is one of the major contributing factors. This is a
noted problem already, and these closures are only going to make it
Students are also impacted. While many students
post-secondary are from cities, there are many who come from rural
communities. Rural students should not have to choose between their
futures, and visiting their families.
It is now September and no plan has been announced by
or any provincial government to deal with this looming transportation
crisis. The federal government has yet to meet with ATU
representatives. Greyhound has shown the failure of the market to
provide this essential service. That is why we are here today.
We are calling for government action on this issue. A
solution is needed to provide transportation not just between our
larger cities but to all of the rural communities that make up western
Canada and Northern Ontario.
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