Last year’s negotiations for both Urban and RSMC members were settled with two short-term collective agreements, and very little progress. While we succeeded in temporarily halting the austerity-drive, all of our most substantial issues remain unresolved. Now with the government review of Canada Post finished, and the Liberals still dragging their feet on decisions, we are getting ready to head back to the bargaining table. Nobody should expect an easy round of bargaining.
We are still early in the bargaining process. Our locals have submitted their demands and each region has held regional conferences to decide which demands move forward. Now, the National Directors will meet to develop the program of demands for both bargaining units and forward it to the National Executive Board, before they are submitted to the membership for a ratification vote. All of this happens before we even sit down with the employer. This is one of the most democratic, bottom-up bargaining processes in the entire labour movement.
We know that the strength of our membership is the only power we can rely on at the bargaining table. That’s why we will make every effort to keep the entire membership informed of every development. That’s why we involve the members at every step. And that’s why we will never agree to a moratorium of silence regarding negotiations. Our members are our strength.
It doesn’t appear that management has any intention of changing their approach to bargaining. We expect another tough round of negotiations, with very little respect from management for the work that we do or the lives we live outside of work. With this in mind, the possibility of a strike or lock-out next year is high.
If you haven’t already started to prepare for this possibility, do it now. Pay down debts, save money, take out an additional line of credit do whatever you need to do to prepare to be without income for a period of weeks or even months. The more we prepare now, the stronger we will be on the picket lines.
Our goal is to get a fair deal for postal workers, not a labour dispute. But if we want to achieve this goal, if we want to settle these long-standing issues, we have to be prepared to stand up against whatever the boss throws at us.
The Struggle Continues.