On the first day of April 2020, I took the oath of the President of the country’s largest local in CUPW - Toronto Local 626. I ran my campaign on:
Serving the Membership with strong Leadership:
- No Local Agreement to satisfy Management
- No Staffing strictly under Collective Agreement and not by Local Agreement
- Staffing consultation to have more permanent jobs
- Fight against job cuts
- Temp workers under one list
- Letter Carrier and MSC routes to be more transparent and time value on factual basis
- MAM 10 and MAM 11 workers to be treated fairly
- End harassment interviews that scare our members
- My visibility on the floor
- Local Executives to be seen on the work floor
- All management and union consultation minutes to be published
- Shop Stewards will be more trained
- Regain the pride of being one of the most militant union in our country
- Open communications with membership
- Put a stop to precarious work
Our membership, right in the middle of a war against an invisible enemy, this past year has been nothing but full of challenges, struggles and accomplishments.
With my deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones in this pandemic and a global continuation of struggle in combating virus, we underwent some of the toughest times of a century. Nevertheless we kept on moving and were able to achieve some of the incredible victories as a union.
I would like to report some of the activities that were accomplished, after the membership in our Toronto local 626 put their trust in me in executing the duties of Presidency.
As we all know our world is struggling to conquer the virus and our membership was no exception. During this crisis of immense proportion, health and safety of our sisters and brothers is the biggest concern and the greatest challenge that a union has to outwit.
I strived each and every day of my tenure to make sure that our sisters and brothers’ health and safety was the non-negotiable priority and the Boss to acquiesce that fact.
We received the ESDC report in March. ESDC Senior Investigator found that the certain provisions of the Canada Labour Code Part II, have been contravened. The Local was shocked at the dereliction of duty and irresponsibility of the corporation.
- Provisions of the Labour Code Part II that were contravened by our employer in the ESDC Report:
Paragraph 125(1)(c) — Canada Labour Code part !!
Paragraph 15.8(1)(a) — Canada Occupational Health E Safety Regulations
The employer has failed to submit Hazardous Occurrences Investigation Report(HOIRs) foremployees who have been tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus starting on January 5, 2021, and who have thereby suffered disabling injuries by being prevented from reporting to work,
No./No : 2
Paragraph 125(1)(c) — Canada Labour Code, Part 11
Paragraph 15.5(b) — Canada occupational Health & Safety Regulations
The employer failed to notify the Ministry within 24 hours of the first time the employer became aware that two or more employees had tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and had thereby suffered disabling injuries as a result of being prevented from reporting to work.
Following are the steps that were taken to combat COVID-19:
- On April 08, 2020 we consulted with CPC management to review all the changes that were required on the work floor to make sure that our members are safe, their health and safety is protected and proper PPE is provided to combat COVID-19.
- Our local COVID committee has dealt with more than 1000 cases, were present during fogging and sanitization, rapid testing, floor mapping for social distancing and vaccination The members of COVID committee remains on call – on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- I relentlessly pursued various organization Peel Health, Ministry of Labor, Toronto Public Health etc. to make sure that corporation is providing genuine numbers of the affected employees and are adhering to the standards set out by Public Health Canada. I have also reached out the Ontario Government and opposition Leader Andrea Horwath to prioritize vaccination for postal workers.
- Public Health was relentlessly pursued about the status of the outbreak in Vista in November – December 2020, Gateway East in February 2021, Gateway West and 66 Ray Depot in April 2021.
- We lost one of our brother in his COVID-19 battle in January 2021. I put in a media statement on Jan. 21, 2021 about the unnecessary loss and challenged Government to recognize and treat us as “front line workers”. On April 09, 2021 there was another heartbreaking news coming out of We lost one of our sister to COVID-19, another unnecessary loss of life.
- Following the outbreak in Gateway East and TEO in West, our members were asked to self-isolate in these areas with pay for 14
- Toronto Public Health had declared outbreak in SCLPP on April 02, 2021 and CPC Management informed the union after 7 long days. I hold them accountable, “Why the Delay?”
- Peel Public Health was pursued to provide rapid onsite testing and prioritize vaccination for all the CUPW members
- I also participated in drive-thru support for our health care workers alongside our sisters and brothers in various hospitals in Brampton and We observed March 11, 2021 as a National day of observance to commemorate the significant impact of COVID–19 and the people who lost their lives. We also observed National Day of Mourning on April 28, 2021 and laid wreath alongside a banner reading “A Postal Worker Died Here” at SCLPP and Gateway. The event was covered live in various media outlets.
- There were several consultation with the management to increase the numbers of permanent employees that will give the temporary employees a sense of ownership, paid vacation, health benefits, pension and a sure path to achieve the top tier wages.
- As a result of relentless efforts during the past year, there has been a huge spike in promotions from temporary to indeterminate positions.
- Article 39.07 was implemented in SCLPP and WPDH to fill up the positions that were vacated by members who were on Special Leave due to High
- Article 07 was also implemented in Gateway on a massive scale, opening up 230 Full Time Positions to be backfilled. We demanded that backfill will be against the position number, so that there is full transparency.
- Unassigned employee placement was streamlined. All indeterminate employees should be assigned. We made sure that all the unassigned employees are assigned under article 08 (f) by Seniority only (and not by reverse seniority!!).
- In all staffing movement, I have made it crystal clear that SENIORITY should be the only benchmark to secure any
- Section bidding was implemented in Gateway East and West, after full complement is Seniority Restored!!.
- The local was concerned that there are number of employees who are on accommodation without Union’s Local made it very clear to CPC management that all the employees who are seeking accommodation MUST go through the article 54 process.
- I want all our members to be It is imperative and I firmly believe that the medical restrictions of our members should not be compromised. We must protect our injured members.
- I have made it abundantly clear that the implementation of accommodation policy should be the same across Toronto Local
- Rotation of Duty: The local absolutely stands by the implementation of rotation of duties at all times. Any violation would be grieved.
- The local has demanded that our members working as Letter Carriers, RSMC and transportation should be paid for all the hours worked including overtime. They should not be subjected to a disciplinary interview for working extra hours on their own walk/tour.
- The management was put on notice that they are in violation of article 17 in Gateway as the consultation and annual bidding is not conducted as per the collective agreement.
- Monthly Assignment Bidding was vitalized by keeping up with the pace of Now our sisters and brothers in Plant operations can fill out and submit their bids online.
- Unassigned list is now published at the end of each bid results for a greater transparency.
- Our sisters and brothers, who are mechanics, were given the opportunity to participate in a shift bid for the first time in 4 years in Gateway.
- We have asked the management to conduct a proper staffing exercise for G L & T Hiring of more members is vital for a full complement thus, making sure that Health & Safety of our members is not compromised.
- Toronto local is one of the few locals that did not do the dues assessment (local assessment) to increase the union dues.
- Toronto Local members are paying the minimum amount of dues required to pay under the National Consultation.
- The membership of our Local will not have an increase at all except where the dues keep up with the raise.
- I have not used TKNL or the other service provider to conduct a virtual GMM as it costs anywhere from approximately $8000 to $18000 plus tax per meeting. That is an enormous savings of $96000 to $216,000 per year for General Membership Meetings only.
- The local is in a very sound financial situation as we save hundreds of thousands of dollars from our union funds.
- I have saved money by using local resources and purchase Teams and the ZOOM platform and conduct the meeting to the best of our ability.
- I have reached out to the IT experts and educate ourselves with the virtual technology and got support from our National office to facilitate any virtual meeting.
- The local has conducted virtual pension courses and will continue virtual training for shop stewards and other union courses to educate our members. Shop stewards will be prioritized for all the educational and training sessions.
- The local is planning on conducting other courses which can be done over a virtual platform.
- The Local has seen a number of increase in retirements following the new collective agreement resulting in a significant increase in the workload at the local office.
- Due to Pandemic and the increased mental and physical stress level amongst the membership, the Local has dealt with a significant increase in Long Term Disability claims as well.
WSIB/Health & Safety:
- We were able to end the 1 year long extension (due to COVID-19) of LJHSC members on March 30, 2021.
- As per the Canada Labour Code, elections of Local Joint Health & Safety Committee were conducted safely and adhering COVID-19 Our local welcomes all the new and re-elected LJHSC Members and alternates.
- The Local is participating in all the hearings of WSIB appeals virtually, to defend our members’ claims.
- The Local is attending article 54 meetings on a monthly The Local has raised concerns about the implementation of Appendix “G”, which is the duty to accommodate RSMC sisters and brothers.
- The Local has informed CPC that they must provide a copy of any investigation report arising from clause 04, 33.06, 33.07.
- The Local has dealt with more than 2000 grievances since last year.
- Please reach out to the grievance department for inquiries related to grievances.
- The Local raised concerns with the routes and time value of Group 2, RSMC and transportation members.
- The Local actively put employer on notice for Bar-Chart verification, Bar-Chart staffing changes and on going overtime on own route.
- The Local has put employer on notice for clause 07, and ask to suspend route restructuring exercise due to COVID-19.
- I have made it very clear to Management that the floor belongs to the workers. We demand respect and we are proud to serve the public.
- We are meeting the employer on a Monthly basis for Group 2 addressing the issues of Letter Carriers, RSMC and clerks for delivery We are also consulting with management for MSC and TTU for complaints, concerns and staffing issues.
- I have raised the concerns of the LC & RSMC and overburdening of the walk and management is instructed to stop doing the updates where the LC time value is not appropriately recorded.
- The management has been put on notice that no restructuring of the LC walks should be carried out during the pandemic.
- The Local has demanded that all the retail outlets MUST be properly staffed and Health & Safety audit must be done and posted in the installation/retail outlet.
- The Local has demanded that the retail clerks should not be instructed to perform job duties that does not reflect their bids and the job function must be adhered to.
- In my very first consultation, I have made it very clear and put it on record that we have a new collective agreement with arbitrator's decision. All the past local agreements are expired as the new collective agreement is in place.
- All the “sweet heart” deals ends now!!! Management must follow the collective agreement word-by-word.
- I put the employer on notice for violation of collective agreement and also against systemic discrimination.
- The ongoing “Kara” issue of our sisters and brothers of Sikh faith was addressed.
- I made it explicitly clear to the management that “Kara” is not a “bangle”. “Kara” is a religious symbol and pride of Sikh faith and does not require to be covered and it is solely at members’ discretion, as long as it is The power goes to the membership.
The COVID VACCINATION:
As a result of our continuous efforts, requests, pressure and the number of outbreaks that we had in our Gateway facility, Toronto Local 626 was able to persuade the Public health and corporation to bring the vaccination site at the doorstep of the Gateway plant.
So far a significant number of our sisters and brothers and their family members above 12 years old has taken advantage of Pfizer vaccine. This was urgently needed as Postal workers who are also frontline workers were walking in day & night, in an extremely unpredictable situation and were exposed to the virus while at work. This vaccination site has received tremendous response and I am extremely happy that we were able to achieve it.
Toronto local has conducted their first ever “Meet The President” webinar on June 01, 2021. The response was amazing and the members were extremely happy to get answers to their concerns straight from the President of the Local. There were number of extremely good points raised by the membership. The virtual session was very lively and extremely informative for both Membership and the Local Executives.
I will be continuing this webinar every month because I firmly believe that our membership has a right to directly interact with the President. I strongly believe from the core of my heart that this will elevate all of us and will make us stronger than ever.
National Negotiations & Contract Demands: I am happy to inform all the members of Toronto Local, that this time we had 119 contract demands for Urban and 92 contract demands for RSMC. I was thrilled to see membership taking such active participation in the negotiations procedure and submitting resolutions in overwhelming proportion. I made it sure that this time around we do not miss the deadline for submissions of contract demands and follow all the constitutional requirements to submit our contract demands to the Regional Office for the National negotiations team and thus, making sure that the voice of Toronto Local membership was heard loud and clear.
And Last but not the least….. It is an historic negotiations as 2 of our sisters will be the chief negotiator for Urban and RSMC for the first time in the history of negotiations. My heartiest Congratulations!!!
The Gratitude: At the end of my first year as Local President I would like to thank whole heartedly to our National President Sister Jan Simpson, 1st VP Sister Julee Sanderson, National Grievance Officer Brother Carl Girouard, National Secretary-Treasurer Sister Bev Collins, our National Director Brother Walter Woloschuk, Regional Grievance Officer Sister Joanne Leader and all the Full time and Part time Officers of the Toronto Local.
Above everything else… I salute our members of Toronto local for their dedication and hard work during this pandemic. Our members who are extremely passionate about their working conditions and stand up to the “Boss” whenever they see any violations. Our members are very vigilant. Through knowledge & education our membership will be more united than ever and the only weapon that can hold the “Boss” accountable is the knowledge of our rights and entitlements protected by our Collective Agreement.
Injury to One….Injury to All, Solidarity Forever !!
Qaiser Maroof President
CUPW – Toronto Local
June 04, 2021