Canada Post strike looms large

Canada Post logo. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle)

Postal workers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike.

Members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) held strike votes across the country between August 7 and September 9. CUPW said 93.8 per cent of urban workers and 95.9 per cent of rural workers support their bargaining committee and are ready to take strike action, if necessary. Postal workers will be in a legal strike position as of September 26 if the parties cannot reach an agreement.

“Over the last decade, the working conditions of all our members has deteriorated, leaving many overburdened, with little time for their home life,” said CUPW National President Mike Palecek. “This ends now. Our members have spoken — this is the time to address serious workplace problems.”

Palecek said it’s also time to look at renewing the post office with expanded services that include postal banking, grocery delivery and greening the postal fleet and the post office.

“Postal workers are also bargaining for the future – future employees and everyone who relies on the postal service,” said Palecek. “Expanded public services at the post office will help our communities thrive, which is why we have put new services for all at the front and centre of our negotiations.”

The union said this round of bargaining has been both difficult and complex. Negotiators have had to address new issues arising from the changing nature of postal work, including the continued explosion of parcel volumes, which has placed huge burdens on members. CUPW added that pay equity for rural and suburban mail carriers is also an issue saying they need pay for all hours they work, guaranteed minimum hours and job security, among other issues.

On September 7, after months of negotiations, Canada Post presented global offers to the union, the first time the corporation has offered any position on the issues, and these offers “simply weren’t good enough,” according to Palecek.

“Our negotiators will continue to work with Canada Post to develop a fair agreement for all our workers, and we will not settle for less,” added Palecek. “Our membership has given us a clear mandate to take job action if Canada Post doesn’t come to the bargaining table ready to make some changes to give our workers fair working conditions and expanded services benefitting everyone.”