CUPW members who work for the CUS contractor Nor-Pel in Post Offices in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have voted – unanimously – to give the union a strike mandate.
There are about 20 members working for Nor-Pel in three locals in Atlantic Canada. The strike mandate is an effort to get negotiations going. This situation might sound familiar to Urban Postal Operations and RSMC members.
This is work that we organize because Canada Post Corporation (CPC) contracts it out. Courier and logistics companies who win the CUS contracts are doing postal work, and we’ve successfully organized many of their workers into CUPW. This particular Nor-Pel bargaining unit joined in 2016, but the majority of the workers have been CUPW members before with other CUS contractor employers.
CUPW gave notice to bargain to Nor-Pel in December 2016, and since then we’ve been trying to get the employer to the table without success. The Union and the workers are left with our main bargaining power which is to withdraw our labour.
To the rest of the CUPW membership, the strike notice shows how determined our Private Sector Bargaining Unit members are to negotiate improvements – let’s all give our support! It shows Nor-Pel that we are not to be ignored – we understand our collective power and our bargaining rights.
The five days’ notice includes the long weekend, so there is ample opportunity for Nor-Pel to come to the table if they’re serious about averting a strike. Our members are showing, with this vote, that we’ll do what it takes to have our bargaining rights respected.
Now we’ll see how Nor-Pel responds.
CUS members’ work includes sortation, scanning, carding out & delivery of parcels, Expresspost, Priority Courier & Directs; movement of Letter Carrier mail to the street including relay bags; Customer Pickups; Street Letter Box and RPO clearances; shuttling of mail from Post Office to Post Office; and dropping off mail at RPO’s, including parcels.
We have reason to be concerned that Canada Post might try to have other postal workers do the struck work, and we need to be alert to that in the Atlantic region. Contact your local or shop steward if you believe this might be happening.
Canada Post contracting out services to Nor-Pel and other CUS employers puts downward pressure on all postal workers’ wages. CPC is always looking for ways to lower wages, and we must stand together against that effort. CUS workers usually start at $13 to 14 per hour, although CUPW has negotiated better wages and wage scales for many. When they put CUS contracts out to tender, CPC awards the contracts to the lowest bidder, and some of our members have had to change employers and begin the process again.
Organizing more and more CUS workers is our way of breaking that cycle, which affects us all.
You can send messages of support to Nor-Pel members and negotiators at the Atlantic region and at Breton (fax 902-794-7925), New Glasgow (fax 902-396-1636), and St. Stephen (email@example.com, fax 506-466-9899) locals.
Mutual support between bargaining units makes us all stronger in our respective negotiations. Nor-Pel workers may not be as numerous as the Urban and RSMC units, but we’re all in this together to get better wages and conditions for all.