Dear Sister Bourque,
THE ROAD TO A TENTATIVE AGREEMENT
I don't believe that many members are aware of the different phases that negotiations go through to reach a settlement.
At some points, there are few concessions from the employer and at other points, there are quite a few concessions. It is
necessary to make this process come alive so the members can see it for themselves.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK
There is also the militant myth that the only way a union can get a decent contract is by going on strike for
a long time and forcing CPC into major concessions by uncompromising confrontations. Without a doubt, brother Killy and sister
Susan Kolompar come from this school. (It's motto is: "No Retreat And No Surrender.")
As you know, when CPC faces militant CUPW positions, it will ask the Government to step in and solve the dispute
through binding arbitration.
" With a fall strike, negotiations turn into a confrontation and few or no further gains are obtained by
the members. The results are there in black and white from the enforced settlements of 1987, 1991, and 1997.
1. Binding arbitration as in the 97 and 91 strike can mean losses for the membership
2. Each new
negotiating session can have more ROLLBACKS that the negotiators have to handle. This is "The CPC Hardball Negotiating Style"
and can cause the union a great deal of trouble.
3. CPC complains to the press and the Government that CUPW is trying
to bankrupt them. This can create "bad press and enemies for the union
WHAT COULD HAVE WORKED
There would be no negotiating session extensions after Aug/18/03
* The MPs were on summer vacations and maximum pressure would be on Canada Post for concessions
locals and the NEB were united on a strategy to get big gains for the membership
* On my staff, there seemed to be
a high acceptance of this approach from the rank and file
As you know, the solidarity on this plan disappeared when a tentative agreement appeared later in July. Will
there be a strike debate in the near future? I guess it depends on more nays than yeas.
"THE NO LOCALS"
Does the "no side" have a consensus as to what is an acceptable "package" for a tentative agreement? Did they
get together and work something out? I don't think so. Local presidents are like most members. They look rather than act.
They react rather than plan. They wonder how negotiations work and think they can do better without really knowing how.
The weakness of the union lies with the passive non-participating locals who are still in mystery as to how
collective bargaining works with Canada Post. Reminding them to what produces gains for the membership and
what doesn't is important.