Canadian Union of Postal Workers Gives Strike Notice
Will be first postal strike since 1997 if put in effect.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) gave a 72-hour strike notice yesterday, which will begin at 11:59 EDT on Thursday, June 2 if the Canada Post does not submit to certain provisions demanded by the CUPW.
This type of notice is legally required of an intention to strike.
According to Post & Parcel, the 48,000 CUPW members are seeking a 3.3 percent pay rise to be put in effect in February 2011; the Canada Post is offering union members 1.9 percent. In the subsequent three years, union members are requiring a 2.75 percent increase in pay each year. The Canada Post is offering a 1.9 percent hike for the first and second year, with a 2 percent increase in the third year.
The CUPW is unwilling to negotiate on the final contract submitted to the Canada Post, and that “it can only be accepted as a whole.”
Denis Lemelin, CUPW national president, says the union is willing to negotiate terms, “right up to the strike deadline.”
If acceptable terms are not created by the strike’s witching hour, all mail and parcels will not be delivered; this includes all mail received from the United States. If the strike does happen, volunteers have been put in place by a separate agreement between the CUPW and Canada Post to ensure delivery of social welfare and pension checks.
Terms of the revised Canada Post contract offer include job security, the aforementioned pay increases and up to seven weeks paid vacation for CUPW members that qualify. This offer comes despite a 17 percent reduction in mail volume since 2006, as well as a $3.2 billion pension deficit.
USPS Strikes New Contract Deal With Postal Workers
Last week, the United States Postal Service reached an agreement with the 205,000-member American Postal Workers Union (APWU) that has resulted in a contract that could save the Postal Service $3.8 billion over a four-and-a-half-year span.
The contract, running from May 23, 2011 to May 20, 2015, includes a wage freeze for the first two years and slight increases thereafter—ranging from 0 to 1.5 percent, ultimately totaling 3.5 percent. Cost of living adjustments are eliminated for the first year and deferred from years two and three, resuming in year four.
A new career pay schedule has also been established which is about 10 percent lower than the current pay schedule.
The USPS will also begin to significantly increase the use of non-career employees from 6 percent to 20 percent in the clerk craft discipline and 10 percent in the motor vehicle craft group. Non-career employee usage will increase as APWU members retire, and, says the USPS, will help save on longer-term retirement and other benefit costs.
The USPS will also be able to introduce irregular shifts and employees will contribute more to healthcare premiums—USPS contributions will be 76 percent by the end of the contract.
Negotiations with three other unions are on-going. Talks with the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association stalled when its contract with the USPS expired last November, but discussions are still underway and will need third-party resolution if an agreement is not hammered out. In the meantime, the current contract will be followed.
Negotiations between the USPS and the 203,000-member National Association of Letter Carriers and the 48,000-member National Postal Mail Handlers Union will begin three months out from November 20, 2011 contract expiration date.
Mobile Barcode Promotion
Meanwhile, the USPS has introduced a new program that aims to boost direct mail campaigns. During July and August this summer the Postal Service is offering a mobile barcode promotion that uses 2-D mobile barcodes and offers a 3 percent discount on qualifying standard, first-class mail letters, flats and cards.
The QR barcodes will enable customers to scan the code with their smartphones and view promotions and offers on mobile websites.
"This promotion is another step in our long-term strategy to ensure mail remains relevant as a key element in the overall advertising mix for an increasingly interactive marketplace," said Tom Foti, marketing manager, Marketing Mail, in a statement.
In the second quarter total mail volume decreased 3.0 percent, lead by a drop in first-class mail.