Canadian Postal Service In Midst Of Rotating Strike
Strike kicked off in Winnipeg, shifted to Hamilton, Montreal.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers began a 24-hour strike at midnight last Thursday after talks with Canada Post reached an impasse, although both groups have indicated an interest in continued negotiations.
The strike was initiated in Winnipeg. The location was selected, says the 48,000-member CUPW, because it was the first place where the Canada Post introduced new equipment and work rules. However, the strike shifted to Hamilton for 48-hours and is currently underway in Montreal. ‘Montreal is another place where Canada Post has already begun its $2 billion postal transformation,’ said Denis Lemelin, National President and Chief Negotiator. ‘As we saw in Winnipeg, Montreal postal workers are being forced to work with new machines and methods without proper safety studies beforehand.’
This is the first strike in 13 years and has come after about 7 months of negotiations.
The CUPW is seeking wage increases and solutions to health and safety issues. A last-minute compromise put on the table by Canada Post was rejected by the union late Thursday. It included offers to:
-put a short-term disability program on hold until a joint union-management committee review.
-bump starting wages to $19 per hour, which will rise to $26 per hour maximum
-offer the same job security provisions to future hires as current employees
-offer up to six weeks of vacation to future hires
-conduct a feasibility study on retail business growth ideas in urban areas
"Postal workers are staying out on strike to keep the pressure on negotiations," said Lemelin. ‘We will not accept the rollbacks that a profitable company is trying to force us to swallow.’
In the meantime, the USPS has said it will continue to accept, process and deliver mail to Canada "until further notice."
If a general strike is called, the USPS says it will provide customers letter and package service through its Global Express Guaranteed service.