Read the latest Inquisitr update on the 2016 Canada Post strike.
Update: Yesterday evening, Canada Post withdrew the second 72-hour lockout notice it had presented to CUPW, which was originally to have gone into effect at 12:01 a.m. this morning, July 11. As neither side, Canada Post nor CUPW, now has valid 72-hour notices in effect, this move on the part of the crown corporation would seem to greatly reduce the chance of mail delivery disruption in Canada unless notices are filed again.
Original article: The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has been presented the second “72-hour notice of lockout” by Canada Post. Strike status currently appears to be on hold; CUPW has not issued any 72-hours notices to Canada Post. As this is the second lockout notice, it would appear that a lockout could be imminent.
“What will happen Monday?” CUPW leaders ask in their most recent release. “Only time will tell.”
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the membership of CUPW has been in a legal strike position since July 2. The union and the management of the crown corporation remain far apart on the direction of Canada Post and on employee retirement benefits.
Canada Post has proposed a 30-day “cooling off period” with CUPW in an attempt to negotiate an agreement. CUPW has balked at what is being described as a “poison pill” clause in the proposal, which would see each side enter into binding arbitration at the end of the 30-day period.
“We have been crystal clear from the beginning we want a negotiated settlement,” CUPW President Mike Palecek stated in a release. “We want to have meaningful discussions with management, but getting a guaranteed bail-out from an arbitrator at the end of it isn’t the incentive they need to stop playing these games with the public.”
Management with Canada’s national mail system has commented on an 80 percent year over year drop in volume in recent days, which it concludes is a result of uncertainty with regard to the unknown Canada Post strike status.
“Our employees are coming to work to find the amount of mail and parcels they process and deliver has dropped significantly.”
Currently, it does not appear that CUPW members will strike in the next few days, as they have been in a legal position to do so for a week, and have been forthcoming in the fact that they have not issued 72-hour strike notices. As Canada Post has issued the second 72-hour notice, it appears that a lockout of CUPW members could be imminent. To customers of Canada Post, a strike and a lockout have a very similar effect: mail delivery stops.
In 2011, in contrast to the current dispute, CUPW members first staged rotating strikes before being locked out by Canada Post after about two weeks, as reported by the CBC. Then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government passed legislation, forcing CUPW members back to work, which was recently ruled to be “illegal and unconstitutional.”
“We’re here to put people back to work because it affects the national economy and their process isn’t working,” Lisa Raitt, the minister of Labour, was quoted in 2011.
Leadership with CUPW reports a belief that Canada Post needs to further expand its offerings in direct mail, parcel delivery, and postal banking in order to grow the corporation’s bottom line.
Canada Post is adamant that the union accept defined-contribution pensions for new hires, as a result of the Canada Post Pension Plan carrying a $6.2 billion “solvency deficit,” as previously reported by the Inquisitr.
Currently, most Canada Post employees are members of a defined-benefit pension. With defined-benefit pensions, after retirement, members are guaranteed a certain amount of income for life: the responsibility to grow employees’ capital rests with Canada Post.
Defined-contribution plans offer no guarantees. Instead of a traditional pension, employees are offered mutual funds, guaranteed investment certificates, and other investments to hold in registered savings plans. Usually, employers match employee contributions to a certain amount. With defined-contribution pensions, some members’ retirement savings will earn more than others’; some could even lose money. The responsibility to grow employees’ capital rests solely with the employees themselves.
Exposure to risk in the investment marketplace appears to be the most divisive issue in the potential 2016 Canada Post strike/lockout. How this dispute will be resolved may serve as precedent for the pensions of other government employees in Canada. If history is a guide, it would appear that Canadians could expect Parliament to intervene before mail delivery is disrupted for an overly extended period, which may have consequences for the future of defined-benefit pensions in the country. Just how a Liberal majority intervention may differ from the 2011-Conservative invention will be the subject of close scrutiny by observers.