Last Friday in Calgary, the public health authority declared an outbreak at the mail processing plant. Six cases since April 20 have been confirmed so far.
Canada Post Corporation and Alberta Public Health say they don't believe that the virus was spread in the workplace, and they maintain it is not necessary for asymptomatic members to be tested before returning to work.
But as you know, this is not just a question of whether members are safe and healthy, it's a question of how we ensure it.
This has brought to a head concerns that we've had for some weeks, with confirmed cases in other postal installations. In numerous instances, CUPW's Local Joint Health and Safety Committee (LJHSC) and National Joint Health and Safety Committee have not been sufficiently involved by public health authorities and by Canada Post Corporation in the response to the cases, and any investigations that have taken place. It seems investigations and recommendations are sometimes not documented in writing, or not duly shared with the union.
The Calgary local pursued its own investigation and informed the regional and national offices. Our primary concern is your safety and health at work, and that's why our collective agreements stipulate that our joint health and safety committees have a right to be deeply involved in response to cases like this.
It is part of our job as a union to ensure our members' safety at work. Especially in extraordinary situations like these, we can't afford to be in the dark.
Canada Post's line on this situation has been that their measures have been enough to keep our members safe. We need more evidence and we need to play our role before we can be so confident.
As your union, CUPW must be in a position to advise you on whether you're safe at work. In the case of Calgary, we don't have enough evidence to say for sure whether there has been spread in the workplace. Canada Post Corporation and the public health authority have not met our standard for consultation and transparency.
And here's what we're demanding for workplaces where cases of COVID-19 are confirmed:
CUPW is determined to protect our members, and to do so we insist on being properly involved and informed. Front line workers deserve the highest standard of precautions!