In the morning of August 11th, 2022, members of CUPW Local 730 met with Member of Parliament Blake Desjarlais (Edmonton Griesbach) to discuss the ongoing struggle of Rural Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMCs) when it comes to high gas prices.
Canada Post claims it's doing RSMCs a favour by paying them the minimum rates so that they don't lose the payment to taxes. Meanwhile, we have RSMCs going into debt through credit cards and lines of credit just to keep working. Some RSMCs continue to do the cost-benefit analysis and decide that they will lose less money by not going to work and subsidizing Canada Post in the process.
CUPW has tried to negotiate for a corporate fleet and fuel cards for RSMCs to alleviate the burden of vehicle maintenance and gas. However, as we have experienced in recent negotiations, Canada Post's negotiators don't even come to the table. They wait for the government to pass back-to-work legislation and allow our collective agreements to be decided by an arbitrator.
Through the conversation with MP Desjarlais, it became clear that this crisis is partly due to government interference in our collective bargaining. MP Desjarlais brought up the agreement the federal NDP made with the federal Liberal Party earlier this year. Known as a confidence-and-supply agreement (CSA), it is an agreement to not vote against the governing party in exchange for advancing some goals of the supporting party and preventing another election due to a vote of non-confidence.
MP Desjarlais made it clear that the NDP would not support the governing Liberal party if they brought forward any back-to-work legislation. While this makes us cautiously optimistic, we will still need to be prepared for action when our contracts expire at the end of 2023 for RSMCs and the beginning of 2024 for Urban Operations.
In the meantime, what can you do to help? First, you can scan the QR code at the top of the page (or click here) and contact your MP to help spread the word about the difficulties RSMCs are facing. Second, we need to be organized. While we have a new national organizing plan that will be starting this September, we also have local courses that we encourage you all to apply for, so please keep your eyes peeled for those opportunities!
We will continue to reach out to representatives to share our stories and ask for support. Click here to read about our previous meeting with MP Heather McPherson (Edmonton Strathcona).