With strike mandate set to expire August 25, the union is setting the stage to issue 72-hour strike notice
Following nine months of negotiations between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), it is clear that talks have reached an impasse. The postal service must adapt to its new reality as Canadians lead increasingly digital lives. The union has unfortunately shown no interest in addressing the fundamental issues that threaten the long-term future of the postal service. They are now focused on prolonging their strike mandate and the uncertainty it continues to cause for employees and Canadians.
The union’s 60-day strike mandate, based on a vote by their membership earlier this year, is set to expire on August 25, 2016. This timeline is set in the Canada Labour Code. Rather than secure the renewed support of their members through a vote, the union is looking at other ways to extend their strike mandate. They are looking for the Corporation’s support to extend the strike mandate on behalf of employees, which is unprecedented and would be completely inappropriate. It would only provide further uncertainty for employees and Canadians. Therefore, Canadians could expect a 72-hour strike notice to be issued by the union between now and August 25, 2016.
Canada Post remains committed to negotiating agreements that are fair to our employees, and allow us to continue to provide affordable pricing and service to Canadians. After nine months of negotiations, there has been little progress on significant issues. CUPW’s demands, worth more than a billion dollars, would make Canada Post products and services completely unaffordable. Damage to the financial sustainability of the postal service in Canada would be significant.
Canada Post must make changes to ensure the postal system remains viable for employees and Canadians. In his comprehensive August 15, 2016 decision which brought resolution to negotiations between Canada Post and the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association (CPAA), Arbitrator Michel G. Picher concluded the same. “The evidence establishes to the satisfaction of the Arbitrator that to be true to the Corporation’s obligation under section 5(2)(b) of the Canada Post Corporation Act, supra, ‘to conduct its operations on a self-sustaining financial basis while providing a standard of service that will meet the needs of the people of Canada …’, it is incumbent on the Corporation to take steps to decrease, or to continue to decrease, its labour/benefit costs.”
On July 8, 2016, Canada Post proposed binding arbitration to avoid further harm to the business and end uncertainty for our employees and thousands of small businesses and Canadians who depend on the postal service. The union rejected that suggestion immediately.
Customers and employees want both parties to end the uncertainty. The union’s ability to issue a 72-hour strike notice at any time is causing havoc with our customers’ business and their ability to reliably and predictably get product and information to their customers.
The union has repeatedly assured Canadians that it does not want to strike, therefore letting the strike mandate expire on August 25 should not be an issue.
If the union is serious about negotiating a deal without work disruption, Canada Post remains available to sit 24/7 at the table to hammer out a deal before August 25.