Comrades and friends,
The pandemic's brought many long festering societal tensions to the surface. As someone who's been politically marginalized most of my life for advocating workers' democracy, I have a lot of sympathy for people who don’t trust the mainstream media, the government, law enforcement, or any entity that values profits over human dignity. The left in Canada (i.e. unions, the NDP, social justice groups, etc.) have struggled to shift the pandemic response to reverse decades of attacks on our public health system and extend sick leave to all workers (not just Federal employees); demands which would've helped get life back to normal faster than lockdowns and vaccine mandates. Instead, most folks supporting the convoy, who aren't white supremacists or fascists but who are justifiably suspicious of existing power structures, are drifting toward the empty promises and false answers of movements orchestrated by far-right elements historically hostile to labour unions.
This dispatch has a lot of information for any members sincerely looking to understand the complexities of what's happening beyond the media's simplistic depiction of "Racist convoy bad! State oppression good!" including an excellent article on the citizen-led counter-protests rising up in Ottawa, and a podcast episode analyzing the roots of the "freedom convoy". Beyond that, you'll find an in-depth interview (@36mins) where I discuss CUPW losing its way and how to get us back on track to better help our members, the latest issue of our award-winning, member-produced newsletter, and a note from our Health & Safety officer, Rashpal, asking for assistance on making sure CPC has been reporting C19 cases properly in the EMPP.
Solidarity (both in our union and in broader society) over the issue of vaccines has proven impossible but that doesn't mean we should be taking problems created by CPC and the government out on each other. We need to accept where we can't find agreement while still working toward building solidarity on issues where we can find common-cause. In the blink of an eye, we'll be fighting to improve our next contract, and the strength we'll bring to this fight will only be as great as the effort we've committed from here on out. As always, more hands make lighter work.
Podcast Episode: Freedom Convoy & CUPW Organizing Analysis
The convoy in Ottawa against pandemic public health measures was the largest mobilization by the far-right in so-called Canada since the 1930s, so this episode opens with analysis from Todd Gordon. Next (@36mins) is an interview with CUPW local president Roland Schmidt about building workplace power among postal workers and some of its broader lessons. LISTEN HERE
Other convoy analysis:
1) The Battle of Billings Bridge: Ottawa residents' blockade of the convoy is a model for confronting the far-right: LINK
2) Freedom convoy is steering pandemic response to the right: LINK
3) What the left can learn from the "Freedom Convoy": LINK
CUPW 730 February 2022 Newsletter Contents:
1. President's report: February 2022 GMM - Hindsight 2021
2. Make a difference - get involved with our union
3. It won't grow if you don't delegate
4. Route measurement by the numbers: restructuring the realities of delivery
5. Benefit info for those on LWOP or considering retirement
6. The "Multi-Injury Program:" there is no program
7. Save the date! International Women's Day march
8. Worker solidarity
9. Comic - No Relief: The Initiative, Part 2
10. My (merry?) Christmas
Help Promote Delivering Community Power
After a very challenging couple of years, we are sincerely hopeful for 2022 and beyond.
During the pandemic, it's been challenging to do campaign work: difficult to mobilize resources, to make time, or to travel and be physically together. Despite all that, the Delivering Community Power campaign is going strong. Our efforts are working, and this is our year to turn up the pressure considerably.
Your campaign coordinators are focusing on one-minute actions to pressure decision-makers at Canada Post and the federal government to step up the pace in implementing Delivering Community Power's many transformative ideas. New public opinion polling shows broad support for the campaign's work; MPs are endorsing and discussing it; and new allies join every week – let's seize our moment.
Do you have just one minute to help protect job security in the postal service? Please sign up here to support the campaign. If you're part of a community group, political group, or other organization that you can get to endorse the campaign, your group can do that here: https://www.deliveringcommunitypower.ca/endorse_orgs
And stay tuned for more opportunities to get involved!
Ongoing Reminder: Local Office Access
To stay aligned with the federal health guidelines affecting our members, our office remains available by appointment only. We are trying to conduct all meetings with members over the phone or via video conferencing. Exemptions can be made for unique circumstances. In either case, please call (780) 423-9000 to arrange an appointment with the appropriate officer. We are extremely busy in the office so please leave a message if you’re unable to catch us on the phone.