In this piece Phineas Gage recalls the challenges of organizing under punitive back to work legislation and the effect it had on shop floor organising. As tensions grow over a dispute about the safety of various parking arrangements around renovated facilities the shop again begins to mobilise. Then tragedy strikes and the workers are reminded that sometimes the cost of a partial victory can be as great as any defeat.
By P. Gage
The first permanent job I got at Canada Post was in the early weeks of the spring of 2007.
It was an ‘inside job’ processing and splitting up flyers between one hundred or so letter carriers. I had been working for Canada Post as a Term (read temp) for a year before getting a permanent position. Because of the labour shortages in Alberta I moved up in seniority quickly.
Being the flyer guy in the depot made me far from the most popular person. Letter carriers like delivering flyers even less than their customers like getting them, they see them as a waste of time and not worth the $0.15 piece rate they get paid to deliver them. It did mean that I got to talk to almost everyone in the depot and hear their opinions on everything. Sometimes those opinions were not just about how much they hated seeing me every morning.