Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis CUPW representatives, at all levels, local, regional and national, have been meeting with CPC management to ensure that the health and safety of postal workers is the number one priority of management.
Here is an update on discussions we have had with senior management and actions taken by the Union.
The union raised the issue of sanitation, protective equipment and Plexiglas barriers at the retail counters.
Management stated they expected to receive a shipment of nitrile gloves in 2 to 3 days. Concerning the liquid sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, CPC is discussing with the government to get on their priority procurement list. They have also set up a process where management or Employees can purchase these items if they find them and be reimbursed for them. We told them it was management’s responsibility to provide proper equipment.
CPC plans to reduce hours at the beginning and the end of the shift. The first hour of operation will be reserved for seniors and persons with disabilities. Tape will be placed on the floors and customers will be required to stand behind the line to help with social distancing.
Installation of Plexiglas barriers in retail will start with the highest volume sites. The Local Joint Occupational Health and Safety (LJOHS) should be involved in prioritizing sites if required. CPC is trying to procure the Plexiglas barriers and trying to find sub-contractors to install them. CPC will keep CUPW informed of the progress.
At the request of the Bank of Canada CPC will continue to accept cash at retail counters
The Union has raised concerns about the cleaning being insufficient or late in some facilities. CPC’s response is that they have increased the frequency of the cleaning in all facilities and that there is an additional process in place to clean if someone is showing symptoms or has travelled abroad and has been in the facility. Management asked the union to raise any specific issues and specific location and they will ensure quick resolution.
CUPW has raised the issue of sanitization of facilities where RSMCs work out of postmaster-owned premises and franchises. We are waiting for a reply.
NOTE TO MEMBERS: If you believe the cleaning in your facility, your corporate vehicle or the taxi provided by CPC to get to you route is inadequate, raise this issue with your shop steward or LJOSH representative. If the matter is not addressed it will be referred to the Regional or national level.
CUPW requested that CPC apply the same directive as the Quebec government and require that workers who are over 70 years of age and/or with immunodeficiency should self isolate. CPC’s position is that they are currently following the federal health agency’s guidelines and that said current guidelines are not to send this group of people home. CUPW proposed that CPC should send these workers home notwithstanding the lack of recommendation or directive from the federal government as the increased risk to the health of these workers is real and recognized by the health authorities.
Management stated that people over 70 and/or suffering from immunodeficiency can voice their concerns to their supervisors and they will be granted paid leave. They agreed that workers in these categories that reside in Quebec and work in Ontario, or New Brunswick should be covered under the Quebec directive as they reside in that province.
CUPW raised situations where members have either been denied Quarantine leave or who have returned to work prior to fourteen days. CPC confirmed that workers should stay in self-isolation for the full 14 days even if they got a negative result for COVID-19. They are going to look into the cases raised by the Union.
The Corporation has agreed to let employees cancel booked leaves but want employees to utilize the portion of cancelled leave before June 30th 2020. They understand that this crisis may very well last past June 2020 and will revisit the cut-off date if necessary. CUPW agreed to this condition on a without prejudice basis so the process can go ahead next week and the Union will provide a response subject to a decision of the NEB.
Currently, members need to exhaust their personal days and then they are entitled to 5 days of special leave. Employees who require additional special leave must submit a request to management. If the member meets the criteria (no childcare available and the employee can demonstrate that they have tried to find an alternative solution), they may be granted special leave up and until April 10th 2020. CPC will revisit the need for supplementary leave after that.
With respect to temporary workers and OCREs backfilling long term absences CPC will reply to the union in the near future.
CUPW has also reached out to other unions to learn about best practices being implemented in other countries. We have exchanged information with American and Japanese unions and received information on several countries from Union Network International (UNI).
CUPW has also contacted the SEIU (Service Employee International Union) to obtain information on proper cleaning protocols to permit us to evaluate CPC’s protocols.
On behalf of the National Executive Board, I would like to recognize and thank the shop stewards, local health and safety committee members, local executives, regional representatives, union representatives and CUPW staff for your tireless efforts during this crisis. All of the efforts make and the actions we take will benefit postal workers, their families and society as a whole.