July 18, 2005

DEALING WITH THE HEAT

With the brutal conditions of this Summer, members should be aware of their Rights during this current Heat Wave and the Humidity. While the Collective Agreement covers breaks, these are not always enough in these conditions.

How we currently deal with heat is based on temperatures in excess of 30 degrees.

Level 1 If employees need to hydrate i.e. drink water, the employer must provide water. Labour Canada says that the Employer shall provide “potable water” for employees. Water bottles should be made available for all employees who require them.

Level 2 If an employee is on the street and requires a break to sit in the shade, and cool down, he should, however, remember to record the time(s) of the break(s) in case you have to justify it on an Overtime Request.

Level 3  If an employee needs to go to an air-conditioned cool down area. The Corporation suggests you be reasonable, don’t go more than 5 blocks. If it’s more, it can be considered excessive. We are allowed to use our discretion within reason. Once again record your times.

Note that these Levels apply to all members that work outside.

While we can not refuse to deliver the mail in extreme weather conditions, we can take “steps” to ensure that we work safely and minimize the chances of suffering heat related illness.

Other Unions have language on temperature extremes, unfortunately, our current Collective Agreement doesn’t but we must make it a priority demand in our next round of negotiations which will start in Summer 2006.

For more information, check the Scarborough Local website, www.scarboroughcupw.org.

In Solidarity

George X Tomaszewski
1st Vice President
Scarborough Local