Postal Worker Wildcat in Winnipeg

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EdmontonWobbly's picture
EdmontonWobbly
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Nov 22 2010 17:58
Postal Worker Wildcat in Winnipeg

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2010/11/22/mb-canada-post-dispute-winnipeg.html

Postal Workers in Canada are currently undergoing the most massive technological change in forty years. Winnipeg is the testing ground for the entire new postal model and so it is the front lines for all of us at Canada Post. The entire process was started by CEO Moya Greene who is now the CEO of Royal Mail and is working on gutting service, slashing jobs and destroying communities in the UK- just like she did in Canada.

The technological change has been a disaster with lots of injuries on duty, many workers working late into the night to get the mail delivered and harsh discipline against anyone who speaks up.

On top of this Canada Post is currently negotiating with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers for a new contract. Those of us in CUPW will be in a legal position to strike this spring, with our contract running out January 31s 2011.

As of now there are about 140 workers on strike by my count, this is not a temporary work stoppage like the last wildcats in Edmonton, workers are packing their things and going home to spend time with their families. Everyone across the country is keeping in touch about this and watching Canada Post's next move closely.

This is the opening shot of a period of extended struggle.

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Nov 22 2010 18:14

Wow! this sounds pretty interesting! I've turned it into a news story so more people will see it.. it you have any updates, def stick them up..

That's good that the workers are staying in touch across the country.. how are they doing this? Is it through the union or is there something like the royalmailchat forum that went up during the 2007 wildcats?

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Nov 22 2010 18:25

It's half through the union half not through the union. Mostly we are texting each other, some short phone calls and facebook.

Basically there is a network of anarchists in CUPW, many of whom are officers, like myself and many of whom are not officers. The union had nothing to do with the wildcat in any official capacity but I know for a fact that there has been lots of agitation by some union officers to act outside the grievance procedure and for workers to plan actions themselves.

The downtown station was off the job for half and hour and are back at work since the CBC article. Now the Wilkes st. depot has had its second shift walk off indefinitely and the Trasncona depot is out indefinitely now too.

Apparently the Winnipeg local has called a mass meeting to coordinate the actions and discuss what to do about retaliation from the boss.

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Nov 22 2010 18:29

Oh yeah also some additional reading:

I wrote this about the last wildcat strike wave that happened in Alberta:

http://recompositionblog.wordpress.com/2010/10/15/my-introduction%E2%80%A6/

And this is a blog that has played some roll in coordinating more radical elements in CUPW:

http://theworkersstrugglewiththemodernpost.blogspot.com/

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Nov 22 2010 18:29

EdWob, keep us updated!

And please pass on a messages of solidarity from the UK!

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Nov 22 2010 20:02

Solidarity from the UK!

Sounds like there's a long road ahead, but it's great to hear you're making a stand.

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Nov 22 2010 20:03

(Arrgh, double post)

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Nov 23 2010 05:06

Solidarity from a UK postal worker

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Nov 23 2010 09:52

the comments on that CBC article above are encouraging - the majority are pro-worker and rated that the vast majority agree with them. The minority which anti-worker are overwhelmingly disagreed with.

I would be curious to know what the employers rationale is for the change?

syndicalist
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Nov 23 2010 12:37

Tried to post this, but no dice.

"The Canadian and US Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA) stands with the posties! Trusting your struggle today will help with a larger and greater victory for all posties tommorow!

Yours in solidarity,
W.S.A"

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Nov 23 2010 18:41

Hey Steven,
The official rationale is one the workers and Canada Post both agree with. A lot of our equipment is archaic and needs to be updated and there are some changes that will make our lives easier. The union's line is that modernisation should be used to improve service to the public and workers should benefit from it. So we are putting forward demands of reduced work hours, more vacation increased pay that come with increased profits.

Of course Canada Post is using it to take a hatchet to us and a lot of the Canadian Bourgeoisie has their back in this fight. CUPW is widely seen as a bad example to the rest of the country, the union has a history of being extremely militant (though various leftist groups have done an admirable job of destroying what CUPW once was).

Our national president makes exactly the same wage as a letter carrier, when we go on strike our president does as well. Our union reps are elected not appointed (we are the only union in North America that does this) the preamble to our constitution paraphrases much of the IWW preamble line by line. Officially the union is for workers control of industry.

I think it is a text book case of the erosion that militant unions must inevitably face. The regional director has washed his hands of this walkout and the national office is completely silent. Almost all of the vocal support is coming from local initiatives, in Edmonton we started a black arm band campaign for the week to support them, we are also circulating statements from the local on the floor. The only local to put out a statement in favour of the walkout officially is Toronto.

A lot of the Canadian public is coming around to the idea of militantly fighting back, the CBC is a good barrometer of where the average progressive minded person in Canada sits. CUPW also has a lot of allies in the progressive left because our union pushes the envelope on a lot of social issues (Palestine, LGBT rights, etc).

The howls of outrage from the non public media will be coming soon though, I'm sure their sharpening their hatchets right now.

SK
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Nov 24 2010 21:00

usernamechange..

OliverTwister's picture
OliverTwister
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Nov 24 2010 05:22

This is really exciting news! I hope to hear more...

Mods - maybe the previous posters' account name could be changed? If they are a postal worker I would not be surprised if management was reading this thread.

Mike Harman
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Nov 24 2010 05:32

I've sent them a pm and e-mail suggesting they do this, if I just change it without asking they'll not be able to log in again.

gwry
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Nov 24 2010 20:09

Nice to see some fight back going on in Canada from brother and sister posties. Here in London we've got similar problems with weight and the rush culture at work, especially since we went onto a one delivery system. We had a big dispute 18 months ago, which was going well untill the union executive pulled a fast one and called off the strike. CWU members were being harrassed and bullied by managers on a daily basis to take out increasing volumes of work.As a result of the agreement the union signed up to we have, a very cynical and de-moralised work force. Moya Green is now over here and despite a change of voice, is still after the same results as the previous head of Royal Mail, which will involve huge job losses, part-time contracts and eventual privitisation. We do need job cuts though - in the union bureaucracy!
Keep up the good fight
in Solidarity!

SK
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Nov 24 2010 21:01

..

kittykat0303
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Nov 25 2010 02:00

change it..or can it be deleted?

tsi
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Nov 25 2010 16:28

solidarity to the posties!

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Nov 30 2010 03:16

Three different installations had actions today in Edmonton. Large groups in Edlton depot marched on the employer and cornered the bosses in their office where they were issued a set of demands that included no discipline against workers in Winnipeg and a promise that the 1 bundle system will remain after technological changes. A third depot held a mass rally in the parking lot with almost 100% participation.

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Nov 30 2010 07:44

Brilliant news! Thanks for the update!

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bizcaz
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Nov 30 2010 14:08

thanks for the update. solid stuff in Edmonton!

EdmontonWobbly's picture
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Nov 30 2010 16:16

Another march on the boss happened this morning much like the Delton Depot walkout except at Depot 2. As well there was a mass rally in the postal plant on Shift 1 where a Solidarity photo was taken.

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Nov 30 2010 16:53

Any picks or links FW?

EdmontonWobbly's picture
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Dec 1 2010 07:01

There's some on the blog, all the one's I've seen have been posted up there. Edmonton folks have been bad for that. Maybe at the next step!

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Dec 1 2010 08:09

Yeah, because if this type of stuff can be documented, preferably filmed, I guess, and it goes viral on the web, it could really be an eye opener for a lot of people who would otherwise be doubtful that workers in Canada ever do anything like that. In that way, it could be really inspiring to some, and to give them confidence that they could get involved in similar activities.

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Dec 3 2010 14:57

An article published on the Labour Notes site on the recent Winnipeg postal worker wildcat.

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May 5 2011 01:57

More stuff from Edmonton
http://recompositionblog.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/postal-worker-solidarity-defeats-compulsory-overtime/

Malcy
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May 5 2011 04:34

Is this your new blog Nate?

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May 5 2011 17:55

Yes and no. It's a group blog with I think 7 people involved. I do most of the administrative stuff for it, because that fits with my schedule in a way that most stuff doesn't and the others are doing more political work and of a more important variety than I am (I'm a parent of a small child and work on a computer for my job so I can do that kind of stuff more than I can do meetings and demos right now). The blog's a mix of reposted stuff that one or the other of us wrote for some publication - a number of us write occasionally for the Industrial Worker newspaper, for instance - and reposting older stuff for the sake of discussion. I've written a few pieces on the site but not many. More than anything else I tend to write to think. I ramble my way to an idea or a question that a proper writer would then start from but I often can't be bothered to do the revising etc -- too lazy and indisciplined. There are a few other pieces on there about Canadian postal worker stuff, mostly by Edmonton Wobbly under the name Phinneas Gage (Edwob I hope you don't mind my saying this, if you do let me know and I'll edit this note - call or text me though as I rarely read this site). I think those pieces are really great and definitely worth a look. I'm heavily biased because Edwob's a close friend and long time comrade but I think he's a fantastic writer. Sorry, longer answer than you probly wanted, I'm a bit fucked up at the moment.