Postage work stoppage still looming

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The first national postal service work stoppage in Canada in five years could be just days away and although there can be no legal stoppage before Saturday, there will also be no mail delivery on Friday which is Canada Day.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers says it has not indicated there will be a strike, but also says Canada Post’s actions are pointed to a lockout.

That’s Union President, Mike Palack who has listed job security, rural pay and pensions as the key issues and more recently has been quoted by the CBC as saying negotiations are breaking down over “major cuts to benefits and job security”.

However, at last report the talks, which began last year, were continuing to replace the last collective agreement signed in 2012, which expired on January 31st of this year.

The last postal service labor dispute in the country was in 2011, when a rotating strike turned into a lockout which lasted nearly three weeks before the then Conservative government passed back-to-work legislation.

Canada Post has said if there is another work stoppage this year any mail or parcels caught up in the system will be secured and held until operations resume.

CUP-W now has about 54,000 members and represents both postal workers employed by Canada Post and private sector workers outside the corporation.

The workers are divided into urban and rural bargaining units and the urban unit has reportedly voted 94% in favour of a strike mandate, and the rural unit 91 percent in favour of job action to back contract demands.

The union has been pressing the new Liberal government to restore home delivery arguing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau started the process to bring back door-to-door delivery shortly after winning last October’s election.

That process has now gone forward to a government appointed four member public review panel and CUP-W has weighed in with its ideas for better service.

In addition to door-to-door delivery, they include proposals for postal banking, and check-ins for seniors and the disabled.