“A day of work at Canada Post is a day that must count towards seniority”
This is the principal of seniority that CUPW fought to get recognized and we did. We got this concept of seniority entrenched in our CA signed in 2007. It was clear that as of May 3/07 the old rules of Seniority were amended and the new rules would apply.
The new rules were: The first day of work at Canada Post performing work for the bargaining unit would be the new seniority date provided there was no break in service for more than nine and a half months. Prior to this the Seniority date was the first day of work as a ‘regular’ or permanent employee. So now a person who worked as a casual or a Christmas casual without a break that was longer than nine and a half months would get their seniority retroactive to the first day of their work as a casual or Christmas casual when they became permanent employees.
There was a process spelled out in the 07 contract under appendix MM as to how a person could go about getting the new seniority date. Our members also received letters from Canada Post advising us what our new date would be and if someone disagreed they had an opportunity for a review. This process continued for a year or so and most of us were able to get our seniority date changed. But then when our members started to get hired as permanent employees in the following years, the management in our region stopped giving our members their seniority as agreed to in the CA. Their excuse was the wording of the CA. Their interpretation was that the process only applied for a limited period of time and any one hired after that did not get their seniority based on that appendix. This of course was clearly a misinterpretation of the CA. The whole intent of the new rules was that members would automatically get their seniority based on these rules. Many of our members have still not received their correct seniority after grieving and waiting for quite a few years.
During the last negotiations we brought this up at the table and informed the bosses in Ottawa as to what was going on in some regions and after much negotiating were able to make changes to the article 11 that pertains to Seniority and clarify it. We hope that our new members who get hired as regular employees will not have to fight to get their seniority recognized from now onwards. We also got another process in place to review seniority for all those members who are still waiting to get their rightful seniority date back in Appendix MM. Please make sure you read the new article 11 and the new Appendix MM if you think there is an error in your seniority date and start the process ASAP. If you cannot find the record of your first day worked in your file, you may have to call Access HR to provide you with those dates from their records.
To summarize; under the new process the member with the help of a shop steward should write up in detail when they started work for the bargaining unit and what they think their seniority date should be. They must provide as much documentation as possible as evidence. The burden of proof lies with the member. This should be addressed to Canada Post, Labour Relations and given to their supervisor. A representative of the corporation will be doing the review. Make sure you get the supervisor’s signature stating that she/he received it. A copy of the set should be given to the Local who will send it off to the Region where a person assigned by the National Director will review it as well. Please keep a copy for yourself. Remember this is NOT a grievance, it is a review. The union’s decision will be final if Canada Post and the Union fail to agree on the member’s seniority date.
There is also a MOA attached to the Appendix which explains how ‘random numbers’ are applied. For the longest time there had been a lot of confusion around these, but now an agreement has been made by both parties on this issue. Please familiarize yourself with this as well if there is still confusion around such numbers.
I hope this article would have helped some of the members who have been waiting and fighting to get their seniority corrected which as we believe is the cornerstone of the unions.
Asma Burney, Shop Steward – shift 3