Canada Post Strike Having Huge Impact on Retailers

Irving Hamilton
November 18, 2018

Since Oct. 22, CUPW's rotating strikes have shut down Canada Post's operations in more than 200 communities across the country.

Canada Post's new offer proposed pay increases to 2 per cent per year for all employees, and has a signing bonus of up to $1,000 to ensure a deal can be reached to deliver for the holidays.

The postal operator said the offer will expire Saturday, Nov. 17 at 11:59 p.m.

The deal would affect 90 members of CUPW Local 708 in Brandon, which took part in a 24-hour long rotating strike on October 29.

CUPW, which is negotiating contracts for 50,000 of its members in two divisions - urban carriers and rural and suburban workers - said Tuesday that Canada Post was refusing to address key issues, including health and safety, staffing levels, over-burdening and job security.

"It's disappointing that they're still not willing to address some of the major issues that are out there for us".

When contacted Wednesday afternoon, CUPW spokesperson Emilie Tobin provided an email response saying the union had just received Canada Post's offer.

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"The negotiating committee is now reviewing the offers and we won't have any comments until the review is complete", Tobin said.

"Based on the fact that negotiations have not been going well with Canada Post, the national union felt we needed to put more pressure on Canada Post to negotiate", said Mike Keefe, a Canada Post veteran and first vice-president of Nova Local, which represents a vast majority of it's members.

But Canada Post said the offer was only viable if it can be agreed to before the holiday shopping rush.

Canada Post said it hopes to promptly end the rotating strikes that have created a backlog of undelivered parcels - many of them from online retailers such as eBay and Amazon Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN).

The two sides have been negotiating for nearly a full year, with little success despite the assistance of government-appointed mediators.

"Should the Canada Post service disruptions continue through this key retail moment, these (smaller businesses) will be seriously disadvantaged in competing for US demand".

"With our size and network, there is no other shipping option available for the majority of our customers, especially at this time of year", he said. Trudeau did not elaborate on what actions could be taken, although the previous Conservative government passed legislation to end a two-week lockout of postal employees by the agency in 2011.

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