Vancouver Local Executive Committee unanimously recommends “No” vote to the Tentative Agreement

At a special Vancouver Local Executive Committee (LEC) meeting held on November 1, 2016, a motion was passed unanimously recommending “No” to the Urban Tentative Agreement.

This agreement does nothing to address:

  • The 2-tier wage for those hired after February 1, 2013.
  • Reducing the number of years to reach the maximum wage rate.
  • Reinstating Article 20 and our sick leave provisions.
  • Reinstating 100% lost wages for an accepted WCB claim.
  • Improvements to Appendix P and Group 1 internal staffing.
  • Improvements to the rights of temporary employees.
  • The multiple bundle method for Group 2.
  • Clear job descriptions and additional classifications in Groups 3 and 4.

As you may be aware, the CUPW National Executive Board (NEB) has recommended that members vote in favour of the tentative settlement.

The Local Executive started their discussions on October 13. At that time, we felt a need for clarification on some of the new language, as well as the rationale behind the NEB’s recommendation.

The Local Executive received the necessary clarification via teleconference with three (3) members of the NEB/Negotiating Committee prior to debating and formulating our own recommendation.

This round of negotiations was to be much different than the negotiations that we faced back in 2011. In 2011, we were locked out by the employer, legislated back by the government, and forced into Final Offer Selection arbitration by the legislation. This winner-take-all approach would have seen a Harper appointed arbitrator pick one collective agreement over another in its entirety. This draconian approach was a clear violation of our Canadian Charter Rights and in October 2011, CUPW filed a challenge with the Ontario Superior Court.

On April 28, 2016, CUPW, and the labour movement, had a significant win. The Ontario Superior Court determined that the back-to-work legislation that was forced on us in 2011 was a violation of our Charter Rights and unconstitutional. Unions have the right to free collective bargaining.

What did that mean for us heading into the 2016 contract negotiations? We had a favourable court decision, a new government, and strong public support. We would once again be able to freely bargain for our collective agreement. We could negotiate improvements into the new collective agreement, as well as try to get back some of the rights and benefits we lost in the last collective agreement.

Unfortunately, although Harper was gone, his appointee, in the form of Deepak Chopra remained. On top of the imposed rollbacks CPC achieved in 2011, CPC attempted further rollbacks in 2016 such as:

  • End the defined benefit and indexed pension plan.
  • Reduce job security from 40 km to province wide.
  • A reduction in full time jobs for Group 1 with an increase in part time jobs.
  • The closure of corporate Retail outlets.
  • Impose 12-hour shifts for Groups 3 and 4 & to include work every weekend.
  • No financial penalty for the employer when we are bypassed for overtime.
  • No obligation to find a suitable place to have lunch when motorized.
  • An even worse STDP plan with longer waiting period.
  • Elimination of superimposing annual leave for Group 2.
  • Elimination of compensatory time, and day in lieu.
  • No raises for temporary employees for the life of the collective agreement.
  • Elimination of the paid meal period and the 5 minute wash-up time.
  • Increase of fees for EHCP and a reduction in physiotherapy coverage.
  • More years of service required for vacation weeks, with the elimination of the 7th week for all employees.

Although CPC did not achieve these proposed rollbacks in this tentative agreement, with the exception of a few changes, this agreement is essentially the same one that we reluctantly ratified in 2011. The agreement that we would never have accepted if it wasn’t the back-to-work legislation, imposed on us by the Harper government.

It must be understood that there are consequences to a “No” vote:

  • We would have to go back to the bargaining table.
  • We could end up being locked out or end up going on strike.
  • We could end up with an agreement that is worse than the offer currently before us.
  • The government could legislate us back to work, although not in the same manner as 2011.
  • However, we could potentially negotiate an agreement that is better than the offer currently presented to us, which addresses our concerns for our working conditions, pay and benefits, as well as our health and safety, and starts to undo the rollbacks from the last contract.
  • It sends a clear message to CPC and to our National Executive Board that unresolved issues around excessive overtime, the distribution of overtime, the 2 bundle method, STDP, the misuse of temporary workers, and many other points, need to be addressed.
  • A strong mandate from the Membership will give our Negotiators more leverage at the bargaining table.
  • It will show that we expect improvements to our working conditions.

A strike vote will be held in conjunction with the tentative agreement vote.

No matter what your decision is on the tentative agreement, a strong strike mandate is essential. A “Yes” strike vote does not guarantee a strike, it merely guarantees that our negotiators have the necessary tools to try to achieve our collective goals. We need to send a clear message to CPC and the Liberal Government that the Harper imposed contract of 2011 was neither an “agreement”, nor was it acceptable. We need to let them know that we, as Postal Workers, will make every attempt to protect working conditions, for each and every one of us.

Now is the time that our collective voice can be heard. Contract negotiations are the only time we can exercise our collective strength. The leadership of the Union must act on the will of the membership. The Union will facilitate the fight. The negotiators will articulate our demands. It is the membership however that holds the power, and in this knowledge, must be prepared to rise to the challenge. The choice is yours.

Ratification and strike votes are being held at the locations, dates, and times listed below. Please make sure you attend one of these meetings. Come early to sign in. Doors will be tiled (locked) at the start of each meeting. All CUPW workers are eligible to participate in a strike vote, but only Members in Good Standing (MIGS) are eligible to participate in the vote on the Tentative Agreement. If you are RAND (someone who has not filled out a union card), please give yourself extra time to fill out a CUPW Application for Membership card. A onetime $5 Membership fee is collected with your application.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Pacific Gateway Hotel
3500 Cessna Drive
Richmond, BC

6:30 A.M.*

8:30 A.M.*

10:30 A.M.*

1:30 P.M. *
5 P.M.
7 P.M.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Metrotown Hilton
6083 McKay Ave.
Burnaby, BC

11 A.M.
1 P.M.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Maritime Labour Centre
1880 Triumph St.
Vancouver, BC

5 P.M.
7 P.M.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Maritime Labour Centre
1880 Triumph St.
Vancouver, BC

11 A.M.

* Sign Language Interpreters have not yet been confirmed.