Resolution Supporting Postal Wortkers Hits the Convention Floor

Labour Caucus has unanimously put forward an Emergency Resolution in support of striking postal workers accross the country at the Alberta NDP convention. They are being forced to work 10 hour days and then facing discipline if they do. Things have got to change...

If you think postal work is glamorous and overpaid you need to watch this video (click here). They are being worked to the bone at wages from over a decade ago and are being bullied and disciplined for it. Below find a first hand testimonial from sister Heather Patey from CUPW Local 039:

Everybody is aware that there is currently a work disruption happening at Canada Post. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) initiated rotating strikes on Monday this week. I just wanted to say a few things about this.

Have you ever met a Canada Post employee? Have you ever talked to your letter carrier? Before passing judgement on them, you should think about talking to them. Most, if not all of us, are more than happy to answer questions relating to our jobs. I have spent many hours on my route dispelling myths about what it is I actually do all day.

The first thing I tell people is that not one dime of tax payer dollars is used to prop up Canada Post. My salary is paid mainly because you pay postage. And we have some of the lowest shipping rates in the world. Canada Post has massive profits every year. In fact, we have only lost money in one year of the last eighteen years. In 2011, the corporation locked us out, and then the conservative government legislated us back to work. During that year a pay equity case from the 1980s was won by PSAC against Canada Post, because back in the 80s Canada Post valued women less than men, and paid them a lower salary because they were women. Despite this one year of loss, over the last 18 years we have paid in roughly 1.8 BILLION dollars back to the government in profits. The mandate at Canada Post is simple- break even and keep the public service going. We have done that. We have exceeded that mandate.

Canada post pays its CEO and 22 Vice Presidents six figure salaries, most of which are accompanied by six figure bonuses. This money is made on the backs of its employees. On the backs of its union employees.

If you are lucky enough to still have it, mail delivery to your door is one of the last free things in this life. So I ask, if you don’t have to pay to have someone bring it to you, then why would you encourage getting rid of these jobs? People are so quick to point out how we are overpaid. Why do people do this to each other? Why is it ok to wish that someone else has less in their life? Why don’t people see what we have and say, “I deserve that too!” Instead of, “they deserve less!”

Our union opened the door for paid maternity leave for all Canadians by winning it back in the early 1980s. I am currently on maternity leave. I deserve to have the right to paid maternity leave. Should our union say, “we won this for us, not for you. You don’t deserve it because you didn’t fight for it!” Absolutely not. Everyone should have this right-and they do. People didn’t say, “postal workers get paid maternity leave, but they shouldn’t get it because I don’t get it.” People went out and fought so that we all had that right. We just started the ball rolling. Is this any different than wanting a better salary, benefits or pensions? I don’t think it should be.

Canada Post had 20 days last year where we delivered over one million parcels in a day. Our union is trying to keep up with parcel delivery, and trying to address these changes to the postal system to provide this service to Canadians for years to come. The corporation spouts off about letter mail declining, and that is true, but to cut jobs and incite the public’s anger towards the employees, they avoid topics like parcel revenue and overall profits.

I’d like to think I am good at my job. I genuinely care about many of the people I deliver to. Currently my route is assessed at around 22km. That’s 22km a day, or 110km a week, or around 5720km a year. All while carrying a satchel with up to 35lbs of mail inside. Not exactly a job made for lazy people. You are five times more likely to be injured as a postal worker than any other federal job. In fact, nearly 15,000 workers have had lost time injuries resulting from working at Canada post in the last four years. Employees are overburdened to say the least.

My final thoughts on this rotating strike action are this: The workers at Canada Post are real people. Yes we are asking for raises, because like most people we haven’t had a raise in over a decade, but what we really need is a safe work environment where we are valued for the work we do and are able to come home and see our family at the end of the day. And isn’t that all that anybody really wants when they go to work? Is that too much to ask?

Heather Patey CUPW 039

Throw your support behind postal workers and tell your MP that we need to see some actual changes to employment standards, not only at Canada Post but across the Country!