Pacific Processing Centre: September 12, 2013

Today Sunday September 12, 2013.

Sunday greetings!  As you know, Canada Post is near completion of its new mail processing facility in Vancouver called the Pacific Processing Centre (PPC) which is scheduled to be in full operation by February 2014.  I have been following this issue very closely since the Corporation announced its plan to build the facility on October 21, 2011.

I have written a discussion paper on the subject entitled “The New Vancouver Mail Processing Plant—Whose Interests Will It Serve?” which was distributed amongst the postal workers at the OMPP and which was posted on postiebook.com, a website managed by an executive officer of the Vancouver local.

Canada Post said at the time that it would invest $200 million to build the new postal facility, a sum to be taken from the $2.4 billion fund reserved for its “Postal Transformation Initiative”.  The Corporation reported then that the facility was expected to house approximately 1,200 plant workers and administrative staff.

Canada Post will be transferring its operation from its downtown operations from the current mail processing plant at 349 Georgia Street West and the Vancouver Parcel Delivery Center located in Richmond, B.C. to the new facility.  Canada Post says it will continue to operate at Georgia Street West until 2015.

The Vancouver local has created a committee, the Modern Post Committee which works diligently in representing the interests of postal workers during this period of postal transformation.  Both the Vancouver local executive committee and the Modern Post Committee make sure that the membership is well informed of all the developments through their very own website and other important means of dissemination of information such as bulletin boards.

This week, the Sunday e-mail is providing its readers with news from the Vancouver local by featuring an item showing that Canada Post is planning to significantly reduce the number of full-time POL4 and POL5 at the new facility in favor of more part-time POL4 positions. This is a very important adverse effect of technological change and of the postal transformation project, one which the Vancouver local is addressing at this time.

Also, for your information, I am reprinting the report presented to the membership by the Modern Post Committee from the Health and Safety Tour of the new Pacific Processing Centre (PPC) on August 27, 2013 as it was posted on the Vancouver local website. 

CPC’S FUTURE PLANS FOR POL4s & POL5’s AT THE PACIFIC PROCESSING CENTRE

Canada Post has given CUPW two sets of schedules. One of them is for the new plant’s opening in February 2014. The second set gives us an idea of what Canada Post wants to do in the future as full-time workers retire, quit, or transfer. They plan to reduce full-time PO4 and PO5 positions while increasing the number of part-time PO4s.

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The following tables give you an idea of the sort of schedules management would like to have in the future. If your shift is important to you, you should take management’s future plans into account during the upcoming bid for assignments.

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*Please note that the schedules above are subject to change. The Union is currently meeting with CPC to discuss scheduling, bidding, and other issues involving the move to the new plant.

These figures represent a significant decrease in the number of full-time positions and an incredible attack on the livelihood of postal workers working in Vancouver.  The Sunday e-mail fully supports the just struggle of our brothers and sisters working there.

The following is the report by the Modern Post Committee from the Health and Safety Tour of the Pacific Processing Centre on August 27, 2013. 

REPORT BY THE MODERN POST COMMITTEE FROM THE HEALTH AND SAFETY TOUR OF THE PACIFIC PROCESSING CENTRE (PPC) ON AUGUST 27, 2013.

Brothers and Sisters,

The new plant (PPC) is a massive site that stretches approximately 0.5 km from one end to the other.

The most striking feature of the PPC is the massive conveyor system called the Integrated Mail Sorter System (IMSS). The IMSS will operate continuously for 22 hours and then is shut down 2 hours for preventive maintenance. It will be the only fully integrated system in Canada and will not allow for any human or mechanical error.

It is very clear that this building is a huge factory designed in a way that does not pay any attention to the comfort or safety of the human beings that must work in this alienating work environment.

There are many features that the Union has vehemently opposed from the very first consultation such as: half lockers, non-enclosed rest pods, break away room, lack of job rotations, overall noise from machinery and so forth.

Not only are the ‘rest pods’ not enclosed, but two of them are located underneath operating conveyor systems. It is not difficult to understand how this will pose a serious health and safety risk. Would you eat underneath a belt that is raining down dust and debris?

There are other serious issues such as the YVR jet fuel containers right next to our building. How will we be evacuated safely if a major incident occurs which would block the only vehicular exit off of Sea Island?

While the building may arguably be clean right now, and the machinery will operate quietly at first, the future working conditions in the PPC may be less than the unicorns and rainbows that the Corporation will have us believe.

It is very disconcerting that the Corporation distrusts its employees so much that they have to install 511 cameras in the PPC. While only 97 are intended for security of the facility itself, the remaining 414 are intended to ensure the safety of the mail and to watch over employees.  Canada Post says the cameras are not to monitor us as much as to ensure the vital workings of this integrated system.  It is clear that these cameras will be used to monitor why a belt is not moving.  It may be jammed or maybe the operator has gone to the bathroom.

These are just some of the problems that we have encountered.  The most frustrating aspect is the disregard that the Corporation has for our feedback, input and general concern.  For instance, when we from the outset said that we wanted full lockers, the Corporation responded that they would look into it and get back to us.  They never did.  Most likely they never had any intention of putting in anything other than the half-lockers because the building was designed that way.

This is a simple thing, yet it will mean so much to our members who will find that this is the only space that is theirs.  The rest pods do not provide rest from the noise and general cacophony.  Your locker will not hold your purse, umbrella, boots, coats, your gloves and steel-toed boots.  A common shred of compassion is what we ask, but that appears to be too much.  It is a disgrace that they seem to hold us in such contempt.  After all, it is us who are their bread and butter!

To this end, a sub-committee of the Local Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (LJOHSC) has been struck.  Until the PPC is fully operational, this temporary committee will deal with all Health and Safety matters pertaining to the new plant.  The make-up of the committee reflects the diverse knowledge required from key operations.

Pictures from our visit are available at cupwvancouver.org/photogallery

It is obvious from these two reports from the Vancouver local that Canada Post is in contempt of our rights under the work contract and that it has not even begun to eliminate all adverse effects from the introduction of very significant technological changes and from the implementation of its so-called modern post project including addressing the health and safety concerns of the workers with the building itself.

These reports also speak volumes on Canada Post total disregard for the dignity of labour.   The Corporation only pays attention to its “bottom line” when it comes time to fulfilling the needs of the workers while they spare no capital investments when it comes time to serving the needs of the world’s monopolies who will be the ones using the new Pacific Processing Centre while providing them with a free infrastructure to move their goods within the Canadian, US and Asian markets.

Postal workers from across the country face similar problems than those facing the workers in Vancouver.  We need to continue to face these problems together as a united force and further build the workers’ opposition and fight for all of our rights.  We must vigorously fight against monopoly right in Canada and defend the public post office at all cost.  Our security lies in the fight for the rights of all!

In Solidarity!

Danielle Desormeaux

hoffdesormeaux@gmail.com

*For a copy of the discussion paper on the new Pacific Processing Centre just send an e-mail and I will forward it to you.  It is a good read with lots of information.

 

Feel free to add to the discussion.