From October 24 to 28, 2016, 18 sisters and brothers from across the country met in Ottawa to lay the foundation of our national network of social stewards.
We all recognize the negative impact of the organization of work at Canada Post on our union, personal and family life. For example, just think of the childcare obstacles that the two-wave system created for letter carriers. What about the overburdening and restructure fallout that RSMCs face, which results in an extreme, excessive and unreasonable situation and where their hard work goes unrecognized? This is why delegates to the 2015 National Convention unanimously adopted a resolution asking that social stewards be recognized in the collective agreement and that this become a priority demand during negotiations.
However, to strengthen its position, the Union needed to implement a proper structure to address members’ needs.
Policy D-32 of the National Constitution clearly explains the role of social stewards as follows:
“…to listen to people to help them identify their problems and find solutions, to provide timely help in referring someone to appropriate resources …”
In the past, sisters and brothers from several regions of the country received social steward training, but now we need to implement the network.
After many discussions with the individuals responsible for such networks at the Fédération des travailleuses et travailleurs du Québec (FTQ) and the Canadian Labour Congress, and taking into account our own experience, the National Executive Board decided the best way to implement a national network was to train regional coordinators.
These regional coordinators will be responsible for recruiting and training social stewards, to prepare an inventory of existing resources and to promote the network in their region.
Now that the regional coordinators have been trained, you will certainly hear from them in the weeks ahead.
Canada Post can be a brutal place to work. Through our Union we can learn to support one another when we face these unjust workplace stresses.