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Friday, 19 September 2003
Strike Smart or Strike Stupid: The Last Fax
Mood:  irritated
I'll sure be happy when I no longer have to crusade for union sanity in CUPW and the Canadian Post Office. Voting for the tentative agreement will end Sept/24/03. Hopefully, the "yes side" will prevail and I'll be able to get on with my non postal life and creative pursuits.

Here is the fax:

Back in June, the conditions were ideal for a "smart strike":

* CPC was not negotiating seriously
* There was high solidarity between the locals and the NEB
* The MPs had begun their summer vacation
* The rank and file endorsed a strike mandate by 92.5%

Since that time the favorable conditions in the summer have vanished. What's left now are complex issues and tactics that locals and the NEB are not in agreement with.
* The Toronto Local has waged a non confidence campaign against the ability of the Negotiating Committee to reach an acceptable deal.
* Those on the "no side" have to support either the militant non compromising tactics of the radical malcontents or continue to support the NEB in reaching an acceptable negotiated settlement.
* The severance issue has split the membership despite the 1% increase four years from now.
* The MPs are back in the house which strengthens CPC's negotiating position, ANY NEGOTIATING P0SITION.
* A strike could produce massive losses for Canada Post which could result in CUPW losses in enforced binding arbitration (This has happened before and could happen again.)
* This is not a time for members to have expectations of large painless gains.

The easy strike decision in June now requires a tough strike decision under September conditions. Unfortunately, the ratification vote only touched on the above issues.

I definitely support a "no strike position" at this time. Of course, there are others who support "a strike position", but that position isn't well defined yet. Perhaps, many want to follow brother, Killy and sister, Kolompar to union martyrdom, but I doubt that.

Only a debate could clarify the strategies and tactics of each side. Then the majority could judge what the gains or losses could be and vote accordingly.

Posted by qualteam at 5:23 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 19 September 2003 5:32 PM EDT
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Thursday, 18 September 2003
Inspirational Thoughts Of The Week
A friend of mine sent this different thoughtful prayer to me today. Hope you get something out of it. I did.

Heavenly Father, Help us remember that the
jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a
single mother who worked nine hours that
day and is rushing home to cook dinner,
help with homework, do the laundry and
spend a few precious moments with her

Help us to remember that the pierced,
tattooed, disinterested young man who can't
make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking
bum, begging for money in the same spot
every day (who really ought to get a job)! Is
a slave to addictions that we can only
imagine in our worst nightmares?

Help us to remember that the old couple
walking annoyingly slow through the store
aisles and blocking our shopping progress
are savoring this moment, knowing that,
based on the biopsy report she got back
last week, this will be the last year that they
go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, remind us each day that,
of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift
is love. It is not enough to share that love
with those we hold dear.
Open our hearts not to just those who are
close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be
slow to judge and quick to forgive, show
patience, empathy and love.

Posted by qualteam at 11:57 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 18 September 2003 11:59 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 17 September 2003
Mad Union Cow Disease
Mood:  d'oh
These are some of my major beefs against the Canadian Union Of Postal Workers. Go unionize thyself can mean different things to different people.

* The National Executive is elected by delegates and not by universal suffrage.
* Local unions seem to be just grievance collectors with little clout on tentative agreements.
* Ratification meetings are just info/PR sessions with minimal debate on the issues.
* Professional union types propagandize the membership without inquiring to what individual opinions might be.
* Militant unionists have a tendency to demonize management or anyone else who disagrees with them.
* What happened to the 75 millions dollars for grievances from the 2000 contract?
* There were five different presidents at the Toronto Local during an eight year period. Most quit because of the backbiting and the hatred in the local.
* There should have been a multi union crusade against monopolist insurance companies like Great-West Life. There wasn't.
* Union rhetoric that crashes into the reality wall like "No Retreat No Surrender" "No Power Greater". Rhetoric is no substitute for being able to have the smarts to deal with difficult situations with CPC or CUPW. If you need superman, read a comic book.
* Not having "a strike smart plan" that is agreed upon by both the NEB and the locals.
* Lack of solidarity between the NEB and some important locals. Paid executives fighting each other and not the boss. You either "fight smart" or you "fight stupid." Our union dues is going for this?
* Union meetings that discourage dissent and participation.
* Union conventions that are held in Cuba or other vacation spots.
* Political groups like the communists who try to hijack the union to promote their own beliefs.
* Whining, lazy and irresponsible union leaders who let an arbitrator decide what kind of contract the members should have.
* Incompetent union leaders who blame their inability to get a contract on something else like government interference. Postal contracts are a terrific challenge. The bigger the adversary the bigger the victory. If the present negotiators can't do the job. Pay professionals (Like Buzz Hargrove) who can do it.
* Deluded ideas of what we can get in negotiations (e.g. In 1975, we were told we could get more than the letter carriers got which was $1.70 hr. raise. After six weeks of striking, we settled for $1.70 hr. raise.) Just yelling at someone to give you more because you deserve it doesn't work. It's a package deal that's a win-win situation for both sides that wins the day.
* WE DESERVE OUR FAIR SHARE- The union should support the senior members who have paid their dues and done their strike time (including illegal strike time) more. We fought for the fired guys in Montreal. We fought for PO1, keyers. We fought for pregnant mothers. We fought for oppressed casuals. We fought for letter carrier issues. What do you think our fair share should be?

If you want to add to this list or add your own list of kudos, feel free to do so.

The Joke Buffet Page.

Posted by qualteam at 9:49 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 17 September 2003 9:59 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 16 September 2003
Hotel California's Scenic Spots
Without a doubt, Arizona's Hotel California has many scenic and mysterious sites to visit but make sure you don't look into the eyes of the local religious weirdos.

A Tour Of The Castle

Posted by qualteam at 5:29 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 September 2003 5:32 PM EDT
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Monday, 15 September 2003
Movie Review 45: Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark
This film has more going for it than Elvira's cleavage and tight dress. Along with the campy stuff on horror movies, sex and puritanism, there actually is a pretty good story line here. I've seen this movie four times and I still get good laughs out of it. Three stars.
More Reviews On Elvira

Elvira's Webpage

Posted by qualteam at 11:08 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 15 September 2003 11:13 PM EDT
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Sunday, 14 September 2003
The Sept/13/ CUPW Vote In Toronto
Mood:  down
I personally feel that the presentations went on too long and stifled debate from the membership on The Tentative Agreement.

Most members were aware of many of the points raised. A brief passionate overview probably would have been the best approach.

After the presentations, many members rushed to the ballot boxes to vote. At meetings like this, members should be encouraged to express themselves and ask questions.

What other issues should have been brought up and who else should have been there?

* The pros and cons of going on strike with so much already agreed upon by the NEB and CPC
* Personal comments on the floor and questions from the membership before the vote
* Putting together a ratification meeting for part-timers who have to work the weekends. They worked until six o'clock on Saturday and couldn't get out to vote.
* Others were locked out because they arrived late. This is an important vote. No one should be disenfranchised.

You should also know that in the WLPP there was nothing posted from the NEB (Same at the stations and SLPP?). It was a total Toronto Local Show. In a democracy, different views on the same issues should be equally promoted. That means on bulletin boards and tables which are seen daily by postal workers.

Both brother Killy and sister Kolompar have avoided a serious debate on effective tactics that can be used on CPC (e.g. the right time and right approach for a future strike threat).

Like I said in an earlier letter, there is "a strike smart way" to hit CPC and "a strike stupid way" to do it. It's either more gain than pain or more pain than gain. There are lessons to be learned from the strikes in 1997, 1991, and 1987. Everyone in CUPW should be involved in this controversial debate. Senior guys like myself have paid our dues and done our strike time.

Lets debate it. Why we should or shouldn't go on strike now!!!

Lots of good stuff on this webpage.

Posted by qualteam at 11:01 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 14 September 2003 11:06 PM EDT
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Friday, 12 September 2003
CUPW Battles CUPW: Real Conflict Real People Real Stupidity
Mood:  don't ask
My last fax to CUPW's National Executive Board is reproduced below. My local(i.e. Toronto)votes tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes.


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.


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 the company into concessions by uncompromising confrontations. Without a doubt, brother Killy and sister Susan Kolompar came 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.

1. With the 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 87, 91, and 97.
2. Binding arbitration as in the 97 strike can mean losses for the membership
3. Each new negotiating session can have more ROLLBACKS that the negotiators have to handle. This is "The CPC Negotiating Style" and can cause the union a great deal of trouble.
4. 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


From a discussion with Steve Killy(Toronto Local President)on the Sudbury Message Board on this matter, he is willing to accumulate losses in the above scenario for "principle." To him, it's ok for the membership to have lots of pain and no gain. Are we all supposed to get martyred together? This is crazy and I'm sure that most CUPW members agree.

Why doesn't Killy be honest with everyone and admit that he doesn't go for "the package deal method of negotiating?" He wants uncompromising confrontations where he can rant and rave at CPC. It doesn't matter if the union losses. It's the fight that counts. Mr. Killy should have been a boxer or terrorist instead of a union president.


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.

CUPW's National Website

The Toronto Local's Website

Posted by qualteam at 9:35 PM EDT
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Thursday, 11 September 2003
9/11 Remembered
It was my day off from work that Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. My wife telephoned me about the airplane crashes and I watched the Twin Towers disintegrate. I spent the next six hours glued to my television screen.

I'll remember that six hours until the day I die.
We will all remember.

Lets Roll.

Posted by qualteam at 10:17 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 11 September 2003 10:27 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 10 September 2003
Movie Review 44: Triumph Of The Will
I saw this documentary many years ago, but it stuck in my mind. It's a brilliant propaganda film. Great editing with dazzling camera work. Three and a half stars.
Reviews On "Triumph Of The Will"
The Leni Riefenstahl Obituary

Posted by qualteam at 5:27 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 September 2003 5:37 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 9 September 2003
Slogan For The "Yes Side" In The CUPW Contract Vote
Mood:  a-ok
Here it is:



You can read what the "no side" thinks of the issues on this message board.

Posted by qualteam at 8:31 PM EDT
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