Monday October 26, 2020
The new CUPW film Justice and Dignity for All, which details the 40-year struggle of RSMCs to gain working rights and pay, premiered virtually on Sunday, October 25th. Despite COVID restrictions relegating us to a virtual premiere, the event was well attended by members across the country. The premiere included not only the screening of the 34-minute film, but also a panel discussion with some of the sisters that took part in the documentary. The bilingual premiere was emceed by our National President, Sister Jan Simpson.
This film celebrates the victory of CUPW and RSMCs in their long-desired bid to be treated as equals to their Urban counterparts. Director Michael Ostroff said: “Before there were gig workers, there were…rural route mail couriers…There were no benefits, no sick leave, no maternity leave, and renumeration that was less than the minimum wage.” This film is a factually based account of how bad the situation was for rural mail carriers, but more importantly, a testimony to the power of solidarity and collective action.
CUPW owes a debt of gratitude to director Michael Ostroff, who is known for another CUPW film called Memory & Muscle. Visual media of important struggles are vitally important to the Union, as they are used to educate members on CUPW successes, and also to remind all of us of the reason we belong to a Union and what we can accomplish together in solidarity. In this instance, it was the courage and dedication of these women which offer us a model of how to act collectively, and an inspiration for accomplishing ever-better conditions as workers and community members.
Justice and Dignity for All will be an invaluable tool for sharing our history with others in the labour movement, informing the public, and for union and university education. We encourage locals to invite their members to view the film, and to organize watch parties to view it collectively. If you are planning on hosting an in-person watch party, please do so safely, making sure to respect public health and safety COVID-19 guidelines.
An accompanying discussion guide is currently being developed and will be shared as well.
ASL: American Sign Langauge version – https://youtu.be/IQ_im7S00po