Rotating strikes are underway as the Canada Post Corporation and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) failed to come to an agreement by the drop-dead date of Thursday, June 2 presented by the CUPW.
When it comes to disruptions in the Grand Forks and Boundary areas, Grand Forks CUPW local 746 President Jessica Wirischagin said that there should be little to no disruption of mail service in the area due to the geographical rotating nature of the strikes.
“If your mail is coming from Southern Ontario or Manitoba then you may very well have to wait an extra day or two for your mail to arrive,” explained Wirsichagin. “But if you are sending or receiving mail in Western Canada there should be no service disruptions as of right now.”
The first location to strike was Winnipeg, Manitoba for 24-hours, and then Hamilton, Ontario for 48-hours putting the roughly 100 Canada Post employees on strike at the Hamilton plant until Sunday at midnight when the action moves to Montreal.
In a press release, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers said, “the purpose of our strike is to encourage Canada Post Corporation management to return to the bargaining table with a proposal that meets the needs of current and future postal workers.”
The release further said, “the union entered into these negotiations determined to address many workplace problems, such as excessive workload, inadequate staffing, and the constant harassment of workers when they are sick or injured.”
Winnipeg was chosen for the first strike action because it was the first city to be affected by Canada Post’s modernization program, which Denis Lemilin, president of CUPW, said caused safety concerns. The safety problems resulted in a 15-per-cent increase in injuries among workers along with a sharp decrease in customer service, added Lemilin.
Jon Hamilton, spokesperson for Canada Post, reiterated Wirischagin’s comments in a statement saying that it was “pretty much business as usual across our networks.”
In the meantime, Canada Post’s negotiating team is reviewing the latest offer put forward by CUPW and is seeking clarity on several points proposed by the union. Canada Post says they are looking for CUPW to propose solutions to problems such as declining mail volumes, increasing competition, and electronic substitutions of traditional mail.
As to when the rotating strikes may find their way to British Columbia or to when the rotating strike may change to a general strike, Wirischagin said that she was unable to comment and that things were always constantly changing.
“As of now I don’t know where the next strike action will be, nor do I know when it may or may not come to B.C.,” said Wirsichagin. “They (CUPW) give us about 24-hours notice as to their plans.”
CUPW currently represents 48,000 members in its urban operations bargaining unit. They also represent another 7,000 rural and suburban mail carriers at Canada Post who are part of another bargaining unit.
Negotiations between Canada Post and CUPW continued throughout the weekend.