Canadian Magazine Industry News
23 June 2011,     OTTAWA
Postal talks break down; independent publishers back union
Negotiations between Canada Post and the union of postal workers have once again broken off, while back-to-work legislation continues to be debated in Parliament.

Canada Post issued a statement June 22 noting "intense" negotiations over the past 72 hours failed to reach an agreement. "Every effort has been made to reach a negotiated settlement that is in the best interest of employees, customers and the company."

Meanwhile, Bill C-6, which would end the lockout by Canada Post, was introduced June 20 and continues to be debated in the House of Commons today.

While today is also the last official day Parliament was to sit before summer recess, the Bill will need royal assent before becoming law. The act would come into effect 24 hours after it's assented to, but it remains unclear when that will happen. CBC Radio reported this afternoon that the NDP could stall the legislation by allowing all 102 opposition members to speak on the bill, possibly forcing the House of Commons to sit through the weekend.

The union is upset about the act, calling it "unnecessary legislation from an unjust government", also noting the wage increases for union workers laid out in the bill are lower than Canada Post's latest offer. Although an arbitrator will be appointed by the government to select an offer from either Canada Post or CUPW, the wage provisions in the bill are binding upon the passage of the legislation.

The new collective bargaining agreement selected by the arbitrator would be in effect until Jan. 31, 2015.

Even those in the magazine industry seem to be split on the issue.

Magazines Canada applauded the back-to-work legislation in a member bulletin on June 20, noting, "The current stoppage of mail service is disrupting the delivery of millions of copies of Canadian magazines that consumers across the country have subscribed to receive."

Mark Jamison, CEO of Magazines Canada, said in the release, "The economic impact of a continuation of this labour action would be considerable."

Representatives of a handful of independent Canadian publications, who are also members of Magazines Canada, responded to Magazine Canada's position a day later. "We categorically oppose the introduction of back-to-work legislation, which denies 48,000 postal workers their fundamental right to collectively negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment. This action is an unnecessary and unjust intervention by the Harper government in support of Canada Post management, and a direct attack on postal workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively," reads the statement.

Maclean's issued a statement to subscribers through the magazine's website, noting due to the lockout "we will not be able to reach all of our subscribers as quickly as we normally would."

While the statement notes readers will eventually get the printed edition through "alternate delivery methods", in the meantime Maclean's is encouraging customers to view the digital version of the magazine at macleans.ca/myissue.

— Jeff Hayward
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