RSMCs have made gains

April 27, 2012  -  11:00 http://www.cupw.ca

RSMC Negotiations 2012 / Fact Sheet

2012 RSMC Negotiations – Fact Sheet 2

RSMCs have made gains (Fact Sheet 2)Prior to 2004, RSMCs had no rights and no benefits. Their working lives, wages, and futures were subject to the whim of Canada Post.

Under section 13.5 of the Canada Post Corporation (CPC) Act, RSMCs were “contractors” who had no collective bargaining or other rights. RSMCs had to bid on their routes. They were often told to accept a contract for less money than before or else they would lose their route and their job. After they deducted their expenses from their earnings, many earned minimum wage or less. RSMCs got tired of their unfair treatment and waged a long battle to gain rights.

On January 1, 2004, RSMCs became employees of Canada Post. From 2002 to 2003, they signed membership cards for CUPW to represent them and bargain for their first collective agreement. Canada Post did not just “give” RSMCs employment status, access to the pension plan, a grievance procedure or any rights. Rather, these gains were made because RSMC bargaining was tied to the urban operations bargaining. Canada Post knew that urban operations members had the right to strike and were not afraid to use it to gain rights for all postal workers. Free collective bargaining combined with the right to strike resulted in the first ever RSMC collective agreement.

Gains made in 2004 bargaining

  • A financial formula for guaranteed funding of improvements was agreed on: CPC was required to contribute $29 million in the first year, and an additional $15 million each year thereafter, to finance improvements in wages, benefits and working conditions. These were negotiated in a series of re-openers.

  • RSMCs no longer had to compete with other bidders to keep their routes and their jobs.

  • A grievance arbitration process was put in place to protect the rights of RSMCs.

  • RSMCs received two weeks paid vacation leave in 2004 and three weeks paid vacation leave in 2005.

  • Canada Post was required to pay the employer’s share of the CPP/QPP. Prior to 2004, RSMCs were required to pay for both employer and employee shares. The average RSMC gained approximately $876.00 from this.

  • Most RSMCs became covered by the Canada Post Pension Plan.

  • RSMCs gained coverage under Workers’ Compensation.

  • RSMCs gained coverage under Employment Insurance.

  • A joint, six-person Transition Committee, with three CUPW and three CPC representatives was formed.

  • RSMCs gained protections against unjust discipline and dismissal.

  • The agreement outlined a standard vehicle allowance of $0.42/kilometre, for the first 5,000 kilometres and $0.36 for each additional kilometre per year.

  • In 2004, RSMCs received an increase in wages of $225.00 for each daily hour designated on their route.

  • RSMCs also obtained the right to unpaid parental leaves, paid statutory holidays, health and safety protection under the provisions of the Canada Labour Code, and protection from harassment in the workplace under the Canadian Human Rights Act.

  • In 2005, RSMCs were covered under the CUPW childcare fund, a vision and hearing-aid plan, and provided with improved bereavement leave.

  • Canada Post was required to pay 1/3 of a cent (per scheduled hour for all RSMC employee routes) into the CUPW education fund as of January 1, 2004, 2/3 of a cent as of January 1, 2005 and three cents as of January 1, 2011.

2006 re-opener

  • March 1, 2006: An increase of $95.00 per daily scheduled hours of work.

  • January 1, 2007: An increase of $95.00 per daily scheduled hours of work.

  • On January 1, 2007 and every year afterwards, RSMCs received a non-taxable boot allowance of $30.00 per daily scheduled hours of work. Relief employees were also entitled a boot allowance

  • Effective October 1, 2007 all RSMCs with six months of service became entitled to the dental plan.

  • Effective September 1, 2005, the vehicle allowance increased from $0.42 to $0.45. Effective April 1, 2006, it increased by five cents to $0.50 for the first five thousand kilometres driven in a year.

  • Canada Post was required to hire 300 relief employees.

  • In offices without relief employees, CPC was prohibited from disciplining RSMCs who were unable to provide a replacement worker after making every reasonable effort to do so.

  • In installations where relief employees were employed, vacation leave became granted on the basis of seniority.

  • Relief workers became covered by certain provisions of the collective agreement.

  • A route management study was initiated. The Transition Committee became responsible for studying six elements of the work performed by RSMCs, including delivery to community, group and rural mailboxes, delivery and sortation to business points of call, and driving time. This resulted in $4.1 million being added to RSMC wages.

  • A clause was added to ensure union representatives do not suffer a loss of pay while performing activities related to health and safety during working hours.

  • Vacant routes were filled on the basis of seniority from route holders within the installation.

  • New employees were entitled to receive up to five days of paid training.

  • Canada Post was required to make adjustments in the compensation paid to routes in a particular installation when they introduced a new route in the installation with a higher rate of compensation.

2008 re-opener

  • Effective September 1, 2008, RSMCs received a wage increase ($80.00 yearly per daily hour) and on January 1, 2009, an additional increase ($32.00 yearly per daily hour).

  • The lowest paid routes received an additional, substantial wage increase.

  • Wages were paid bi-weekly instead of once per month.

  • Certain RSMCs in Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon received additional increases.

  • Vehicle expenses increased to $0.52/kilometre for the first 5,000 kilometres a year and $0.46 cents for additional kilometres beyond 5,000 kilometres a year.

  • Two personal days per year of paid leave.

  • Canada Post was required to provide on-call relief employees (OCRE) to cover all absences in major urban centres. This forced the corporation to create new OCRE positions.

  • RSMCs in other locations received a replacement training allowance of $250.00  per year if they were required to train a new replacement because Canada Post had hired their replacement as an employee.

  • Qualified route holders were able to fill vacant routes within 50 kilometres of their present installation on the basis of seniority.

  • Canada Post guaranteed that its intent to introduce “sequencing of mail” would not affect RSMCs  during 2008 or 2009.

  • Changes to a route resulting in an adjustment of wages (Appendix A) were implemented once per calendar year, based on the actual changes to a route.  In addition, adjustments were made to the amount payable if the increase or decrease in the total number of points of call or total kilometres exceeded 5%. Payments were retroactive to the date on which the change exceeded 5%.

2010 re-opener

  • RSMCs became entitled to paid leave when they are required to serve on a jury.

  • RSMCs became entitled to four weeks of vacation leave after the completion of ten years of employment.

  • Canada Post became required to fill vacant positions by seniority from applications received from members working within 75 kilometres of the vacancy. Both route holders and On Call Relief Employees within the area of eligibility are entitled to submit applications for the vacant position, although route holders are to be given the first opportunity.

  • Canada Post’s Corporate Team Incentive was applied to RSMC members effective December 31, 2011.

  • There was a new provision that CUPW and Canada Post may, through consultation at the local level, create additional On Call Relief positions if the local situation requires such additional positions.

  • RSMCs who are entitled to maternity, parental or adoption leave under the Employment Insurance Act or the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan, became entitled to receive an allowance that “tops-up” their wages to 93% of their weekly wage for the period of coverage.  

  • As of December 1, 2011, RSMC route holders who are scheduled for 12 hours or more per week (see Schedule A) were entitled to a drug plan.

  • RSMCs became entitled to short term disability insurance to cover absences due to illness or accident, in some circumstances up to 30 weeks. The number of personal days increased to seven per year. Five days per year can be carried over to the following year at an RSMC’s request, up to a maximum of 12 personal days per year.

  • Canada Post became required to negotiate with the union about the introduction of technological changes that may affect RSMC members and eliminate any adverse effects arising from the introduction of such technological changes.

  • RSMCs received retroactive wage increases: $107.00 and $68.00 for each daily hour of work, effective as of January 1, 2010 and January 1, 2011 respectively.

  • There was an additional wage increase for the lower paid routes, bringing the minimum hourly rate up to $15.55 in 2011.

  • There were improvements for on call relief employees. They became eligible for an annual boot allowance of $240.00, up from $180.00. As well, they received an annual retention allowance of $1000 for remaining on call for a year.

  • RSMCs received increased payments for householders under 500 grams as of January 2010, doubling the amount previously received and providing an average annual increase of $1000 per member.  New tasks with corresponding monetary values were added to Appendix A (Changes to a route). Pre-existing monetary values were improved.

So what gains have RSMCs made in 8 years?

  • Improved wages

  • Increased vehicle allowance payments

  • The Canada Post Pension Plan

  • Access to Employment Insurance, Workers’ Compensation and CPP/QPP

  • Seniority

  • Paid vacation leave

  • Paid personal days

  • Short term disability insurance

  • A grievance procedure

  • A dental plan

  • Bereavement leave

  • Parental leave top-up

  • Boot and glove allowance

  • Relief employees

  • A hearing and vision plan

  • Protections from unfair discipline

  • A drug plan

  • Health and safety protections

  • Access to a childcare fund and education fund

  • Protections from technological change

  • Union rights

Free collective bargaining – a better deal for RSMCs!

In short, RSMCs have made significant progress over the past 8 years. This is because the union, RSMCs and urban members, fought long and hard for improvements. But more needs to be done. This is why in 2012, rural, urban and suburban postal workers are united and determined to obtain equal pay and the same benefits and rights. It’s time for fairness, respect and progress.

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