Mail service may cease by Monday if negotiations between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) remain at a standstill.
Two collective agreements are on the table – one for urban members and one for rural carriers. But the bottom line is if no settlement is reached between the Crown corporation and the union by July 2, workers could be locked out or go on strike.
The union’s national vote was overwhelmingly in favour of strike action. Ingrid Tyson from Local 842 (Trail) confirmed 91 per cent of rural/suburban workers and 94 per cent of urban carriers voted in favour of work action/strike.
Earlier this week Canada Post issued a public advisory announcing a potential work disruption, suggesting deadlines for expedited parcels and Xpresspost mail delivery by Thursday.
“We anticipate that Canada Post is going to lock us out early in July,” CUPW National President Mike Palecek told the Trail Times on Tuesday.
“We have not announced any strike activities. And we are doing everything we can to avoid a labour dispute particularly now as the federal government is holding it’s public review of Canada Post,” he added.
“Frankly we have been raising the alarm for months with the government and the public that these Harper-era managers at Canada Post are attempting to provoke a labour dispute in the middle of this review.”
If the dispute does lead to a lockout, Palacek says the union’s plan includes the delivery of specific mail.
“One thing we’ve managed to get Canada Post to agree to is to allow us to deliver pension and disabilities cheques if we are locked out,” he explained. “Our members will volunteer to deliver those.”
A news release from Canada Post said in the event of a labour disruption, operations will stop. Mail and parcels caught up in the system will not be delivered and no new items accepted.
Canada Post didn’t respond to questions from the Trail Times by press time.
“We understand the impact a work disruption would have on customers and are therefore doing everything possible to reach a negotiated settlement quickly,” the company stated. “While a labour disruption remains a possibility, we are asking customers to take precautions.”
Union workers have been without a contract since January. Palacek says Canada Post applied for conciliation early (April 4) in negotiations, giving the company power to lock workers out on Sunday.
“Normally conciliation happens at the end of bargaining when the two sides are reaching an</sp