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Canada Post lockout could be short lived after Conservative government announces legislation to end dispute

The Nelson Daily Sports
By The Nelson Daily Sports
June 21st, 2011

Postal workers from Local 790 took to the streets of Nelson Monday, joining union brothers and sisters from across Canada, to walk the picket line in search of a better contract.

However, the letter carriers and inside workers may not be on the street long after the Harper government announced legislation in the house Monday to put an end to the Canada Post lockout.

Under the proposed law, an arbitrator would choose between the final offer from management or the union’s final offer, a scenario Labour Minister Lisa Raitt conceded could leave one side on the losing end.

“That’s the danger of asking Parliament to settle your dispute,” Raitt said. “Your dispute should be settled at the table between the parties who know the issues the best.”

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers, 9,000 strong, said that while Canada Post has dropped some of its proposed rollbacks, it has not addressed union concerns around staffing or health and safety issues.

“It is obvious that Canada Post management is waiting for the back-to-work legislation,” a Local 790 worker told The Nelson Daily Monday from outside the Nelson Post Office.

The Local 790 worker added problems associated with the lockout is live product caught in the middle — bee keepers moving bees and farmers moving product like baby chicks.

The back-to-work legislation may get a rough ride as the opposition NDP party has vowed to stall the passing

Some of the sticking points in negotiations is Canada Post’s is a proposed a different starting wage for new hires, at $19 an hour, and different pension rules, though a defined-benefit pension would remain.

Meanwhile the union has proposed health and safety concerns, sick leave for current employees and the proposal for different wages and pensions for new hires.

Local 790 workers will continue to run two shifts of picketers from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. outside Canada Post building on Vernon Street.

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