Courier companies across Canada follow a similar script: hire drivers, using per piece payments or low wage schemes, and avoid responsibility for paying into pension, workers’ compensation and employment insurance entitlements by labelling the drivers as “independent contractors.” The result of these bosses’ tactics is bigger profits for them, and less for the workers who make the company successful.
In late 2017, workers at Medical Carriers Ltd. contacted the union, citing issues around wages, health and safety, and toxic worker-employer relationships. These workers deliver medical supplies and documents throughout the Winnipeg area, and saw CUPW as a union who understands the courier industry. Many believed that by standing together they could achieve resolutions to the issues they face, and the gain the respect they deserve.
Brother Myron May, Winnipeg local education officer and Acting Director of the Workers’ Organizing Resource Center led the campaign, and with support from the Prairie regional office worked with the drivers to take the step of joining to demand better working conditions. On January 26, CUPW filed an application for certification, and on February 5, 2018, the drivers voted in the majority to join CUPW.
The union has now served notice to bargain with the employer, and the workers will be creating and voting on their first program of demands at the beginning of March.
I would like to thank everyone that has been involved with this campaign for their dedication to building working class power. Most importantly, I would like to welcome the drivers at Medical Carriers Ltd. to CUPW. Our 50,000 members stand with you in your quest for a first collective agreement, and beyond.