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Report by the Modern Post Committee from the Health and Safety Tour of the Pacific Processing Centre on August 27, 2013

Brothers and Sisters,

The new plant (PPC) is a massive site that stretches approximately 0.5 kms from one end to the other.

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The most striking feature of the PPC is the massive conveyor system called the Integrated Mail Sorter System (IMSS). The IMSS will operate continuously for 22 hours and then is shut down 2 hours for preventive maintenance. It will be the only fully integrated system in Canada and will not allow for any human or mechanical error.

It is very clear that this building is a huge factory designed in a way that does not pay any attention to the comfort or safety of the human beings that must work in this alienating work environment.

There are many features that the Union has vehemently opposed from the very first consultation such as: half lockers, non-enclosed rest pods, break away room, lack of job rotations, overall noise from machinery and so forth.

Not only are the 'rest pods' not enclosed, but two of them are located underneath operating conveyor systems. It is not difficult to understand how this will pose a serious health and safety risk. Would you eat underneath a belt that is raining down dust and debris?

There are other serious issues such as the YVR jet fuel containers right next to our building. How will we be evacuated safely if a major incident occurs which would block the only vehicular exit off of Sea Island?

While the building may arguably be clean right now, and the machinery will operate quietly at first, the future working conditions in the PPC may be less than the unicorns and rainbows that the Corporation will have us believe.

It is very disconcerting that the Corporation distrusts its employees so much that they have to install 511 cameras in the PPC. While only 97 are intended for security of the facility itself, the remaining 414 are intended toalt ensure the safety of the mail and to watch over employees. Canada Post says that the cameras are not to monitor us as much as to ensure the vital workings of this integrated system. It is clear that these cameras will be used to monitor why a belt is not moving. It may be jammed or maybe the operator has gone to the bathroom.

These are just some of the problems that we have encountered. The most frustrating aspect is the disregard that the Corporation has for our feedback, input and general concern. For instance, when we from the outset said that we wanted full lockers, the Corporation responded that they would look into it and get back to us. They never did. Most likely they never had any intention of putting in anything other than half-lockers because the building was designed that way.

This is a simple thing, yet it will mean so much to our members who will find that this is the only space that is theirs. The rest pods do not provide rest from the noise and general cacophony. Your locker will not hold your purse, umbrella, boots, coat, your gloves AND steel-toed boots. A common shred of compassion is what we ask, but that appears to be too much. It is a disgrace that they seem to hold us in such contempt. After all, it is us who are their bread and butter!

To this end, a sub-committee of the Local Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (LJOHSC) has been struck. Until the PPC is fully operational this temporary committee will deal with all Health and Safety matters pertaining to the new plant.

The make up of the committee reflects the diverse knowledge required from key operations. The transitional LJOSHC PPC committee is:

Ken Doyle (Co-chair), a PO4 from VMPP docks,

Gary Fedoriw from Technical services,

Scott Dowling, a PO5 from VPDC,

Jayne Priest, an MSC from the VPDC Hub.

Pictures from our visit are available at cupwvancouver.org/photogallery

If you have concerns that you would like to bring to the committee’s attention please direct them to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Telephone messages for the committee may also be left with our staff at the Union Hall.