Comrades and friends,
At our July 11, 2021 general membership meeting, we presented our members with the tentative contract extensions proposed by the CUPW National Executive Board (NEB). We went through each point of both memorandums of agreement (MOA) (RSMC and Urban) in detail, and answered all questions. Then, a motion was made to reject the proposal of the NEB and for our local to endorse a 'No' campaign. After lively discussion, our GMM voted unanimously to reject the NEB proposal as well as endorse a 'No' campaign and a statement critiquing the NEB's position.
Our local does not make this recommendation lightly. Our members are deeply concerned with the increasingly wayward direction of the NEB. Real gains are made by perpetually, and methodically, empowering and organizing our members to create leverage to collectively fight for gains, not by retreating further into the technical swamp of grievances, arbitrations, and unsanctioned negotiations. The longer our union staggers down this wrong path, the longer it will take for us to find our way back. Without struggle, there can be no victory. Our first step in preparing accordingly is voting down this extension proposal.
This vote is not only about a contract extension, but about the leadership of our union. Unless the NEB feels pressure from the membership, they will not change course, and unless we change course, we will not be able to effectively fight CPC to improve our jobs. Inform yourselves of both sides of the debate, talk to your co-workers, and, most importantly, register and vote! Once National has confirmed our voting dates, we will promote those dates widely. Below you will find the full statement endorsed by our local as well as ways to stay informed, and get involved, for the referendum vote. The membership will decide.
1) You will not be able to vote unless your contact info is updated - please make sure your information is updated!
2) Read the proposals for yourself. Unless language is specifically included in the MOA, it does not exist! Remember this when you read the NEB bulletins promoting this extension.
1) Updates: Talk to your co-workers and ask them to check out information on the 'No' campaign on www.cupw730.ca
3) Petition: Each local will be hosting virtual meetings where the extension vote will take place. At this vote, your local executive sets the agenda and has the opportunity to give their recommendation. Pressure your local executive to support a 'No' campaign with this petition.
4) Endorsements: If your local or local executive has endorsed a 'No' vote, email me to add them to the growing list of endorsements we will be publishing soon.
The contract extension proposal unanimously endorsed by our National Executive Board (NEB) undermines the democracy of our union, and fails to address the many wounds inflicted on postal workers over the decades. To reclaim our dignity and begin the process of revitalizing our union, we must vote down this proposal.
Our union was once a beacon of strength because it understood our class power as workers manifests from an organized and mobilized membership. It is no coincidence that by forgetting this truth our union has steadily weakened over the past 30 years and our jobs as postal workers have only grown worse.
Article 6 of the CUPW National Constitution centers our membership, not union officers, as the ultimate bargaining authority of our union. This spring, close to $1 million of our dues were spent to hold Regional conferences where more than 900 elected delegates debated demands generated by every CUPW local. The resolutions passed at the eight Regional conferences should then be compiled into a program of demands by the NEB. Only after this program is ratified by our membership in a national vote can the NEB then approach Canada Post Corporation (CPC) to begin negotiating on our behalf.
At no point did our members direct the NEB to extend the current imposed contract or to engage in negotiations with Canada Post without our program of demands. By ignoring our constitutionally outlined democratic process and all the time and money delegates spent in this process debating demands, the NEB is signaling it knows better than us what our priorities are. Even if this choice was made with the best of intentions it displays a fundamental misunderstanding of what makes a union powerful -- the will of our membership, not the abilities of individual negotiators.
The core demands formulated by our membership are clear: RSMC and Urban units should be merged, the two-tier wage system should be abolished, work restructures and SSD should be subject to CUPW approval, and wages and benefits should, at the very least, scale with inflation. Of greatest concern, our members want a postal bank staffed by CUPW members, not big banks being subsidized by CPC to use our infrastructure for their own gain. Once a big private bank entrenches itself, it becomes another substantial obstacle in the way of public postal banking, not a step towards it. None of our core demands were properly realized in the NEB proposal, never mind the countless other supplementary demands.
Rejecting this proposal gives us until at least Spring 2022 before negotiations potentially escalate into job action. This is more than enough time for locals to do the work the NEB has proven unable to do by building direct bridges to one another to properly organize our members, together. We win by empowering our members locally and coordinating ourselves, not by waiting for help from above.
The NEB’s proposal is disheartening but it provides dissatisfied members a tremendous opportunity to assert a new direction for our union. Vote ‘No’ to reaffirm our membership as the ultimate authority of CUPW! Vote ‘No’ to show CPC our dignity cannot be bought! Vote ‘No’ to embrace a grassroots campaign to fight forward for our demands!
Motion: That our local reject the proposal recommendation by the CUPW NEB and actively seek out, and work with, other like-minded CUPW locals and activists to promote a ‘No’ vote.
Unanimously supported by CUPW 730 at our July 11, 2021 GMM, as well as by our entire local Executive committee.