Canada Post Strike Update: CUPW Recommends Members Accept New Collective Agreement

Update 3:30 p.m. ET August 31: CBC is reporting that Canada Post and CUPW leaders have come to an understanding and approved new collective agreements, which the union is recommending its members accept. This development would seem to put an end to the possibility of mail disruption in Canada for 2016.

Canada Post strike update 8:45 p.m. ET: CUPW has issued a 72-hour notice of job action, according to a statement released by the union.

“This was an eleventh-hour intervention from the government to avoid a dispute and of course we said yes. From the outset, our goal has been a negotiated collective agreement without service disruptions,” Mike Palecek, CUPW national president, stated with regard to the union’s acceptance of terms proposed by Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk.

CUPW reports that Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra refused Minister Mihychuk’s proposal, leaving the union no alternative but to issue a 72-hour notice.

A list of anticipated job actions has reportedly been presented to Canada Post management by CUPW, which are said to stop short of “walking off the job.” Monday, August 29 is the first day these actions are eligible to go into effect. CUPW reports that it is willing to withdraw the 72-hour notice if the crown corporation agrees to extend negotiations.

These developments appear to increase the chance of mail delivery disruptions in Canada beginning next week.

Keith Bradford, North Bay Local 576 president, was quoted by Bay Today with regard to the CUPW job action. Beginning at midnight on Sunday, August 28, postal workers will refuse overtime, urban workers will only work scheduled shifts, and rural workers will adhere to “Schedule A hours.”

“Right now there won’t be anything noticed,” Bradford stated with regard to potential postal service disruption.

“More significant strike action” may be seen if “hostile” actions are taken by Canada Post toward members, CUPW negotiator Sylvain Lapointe stated in a letter to the crown corporation, quoted by CBC.

Original article: The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) canceled a late press conference before a midnight deadline to issue a 72-hour notice of the union’s membership’s intention to strike. Meanwhile, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour, MaryAnn Mihychuk, issued a statement with regard to the appointment of a special mediator.

“I expect both parties to work with this special mediator to come to a resolution and avoid a work stoppage. I continue to closely monitor the situation,” Minister Mihychuk said in the statement.

Currently, the outlook on the Canada Post strike appears to be somewhat optimistic on all sides. It was expected that CUPW would issue a 72-hour notice ahead of the deadline this evening after the union issued a statement expressing that union officials had entered negotiations with Canada Post optimistically in early July, as previously reported by the Inquisitr. CUPW said also said the crown corporation was espousing the “same old rhetoric.”

“Canada Post is maintaining its unacceptable demands [and] rollbacks: precarious part-time and temporary employment, no improvements in staffing, the ability to close all 493 protected CUPW staffed retail locations eliminating up to 1,200 full-time jobs, continuing the attack on our retirement security by wanting to increase the cost of retiree benefits and changing to a defined contribution pension plan for all new regular employees and to change the working conditions for all Urban employees.”

CUPW noted that it was critical for its members to continue to attend scheduled work unless otherwise notified by the union.

The President of the Treasury Board, Scott Brison, issued a statement after meeting with the leadership from CUPW and Canada Post on August 19. In his statement, Mr. Brison reminded both sides that the federal government had mediators available. Brison alsoencouraged talks to continue, and he discouraged any sort of mail delivery disruption.

CUPW, Canada Post Strike Status 2016: mail delivery disruption appears unlikely as CUPW cancels press conference; arbitration between union and crown corporation likely.

The national postal workers’ union has expressed hesitancy to enter binding mediation, asserting that Canada Post is using the issue as a tactic to “drag out” negotiations for years, or even decades.

Canada Post has proposed implementing defined contribution pensions for new hires, thus replacing the security provided by traditional defined benefit pensions with uncertainty and risk, which caused the union to balk. The crown corporation has emphatically stated that without such changes, it is facing over $1 billion in costs that will make Canada Post products and services unaffordable and cause significant damage to its financial well-being.

“It is incumbent on the Corporation to take steps to decrease, or to continue to decrease, its labour/benefit costs,” Michel G. Picher, the arbitrator for talks between the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association (CPAA), which represents most rural postal workers in Canada, said in an August 15 decision.

Under the arbitrated collective agreement, new hires with the CPAA will receive access to defined contribution pension plans while current employees will keep their current defined benefit plans. The new CPAA agreement is effective until December 31, 2018.

2016 Canada Post Strike Status: arbitration between CUPW and crown corporation appears most likely course of events.

The Financial Post has described traditional defined benefit pensions as “unaffordable for any employer.” The Canadian financial publication also noted that in its heyday, a nationwide strike staged by CUPW members could have easily brought the country to a standstill. The publication opined that the advent of email, fax, FedEx, and UPS haD reduced the leverage the CUPW membership once enjoyed at the bargaining table, and this fact is evident with the last-minute press conference and subsequent seeming about-face on the part of its leadership with its cancellation.

If this evening’s midnight deadline passes without a 72-hour notice being issued on the part of CUPW, mail delivery disruption would seem unlikely and arbitration a likely course of events.

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