Canadian Magazine Industry News
16 March 2011,     OTTAWA
Postal union holding strike vote, warns of April disruption
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers, frustrated at the pace of talks with Canada Post, is asking its urban operations members to vote on a strike. If the majority votes for a strike, the union would be in a stronger position to negotiate with Canada Post management in the current round of bargaining for a new contract.

A strike vote at this point does not mean there will be a strike, and such moves are common in the negotiating process. But the union warns in a press release that the country could be facing a postal strike "towards the end of April."

Canada Post Corporation (CPC) is facing declining revenues at the same time as it needs to modernize its plants and expand its delivery routes as the country's population grows.

CUPW says on its web site: "CPC negotiators presented what they portrayed as a 'Global Offer' to the Union on March 15th. The 'offer' contains few new proposals. It is mostly a collection of the demands for concessions they have previously tabled, with some new details.

"Overall, this first 'Global Offer' is an insult to the workers who have made Canada Post one of the world’s most successful postal services. It does nothing to address any of the major demands of the Union. In no way can this 'offer' be considered as the basis for a negotiated settlement.

"Management has a two-step strategy to lower the wages and benefits of all postal workers. The first step is to impose vastly inferior wages and benefits on all employees hired after the signing of the agreement. The second step is to come. In a few years, they will propose that all employees be treated equally by reducing the benefits of all remaining workers."

Both sides are still working with a conciliator, and the bargaining process can be extended past existing deadlines.

“It is difficult to negotiate when Canada Post’s demands for rollbacks stay on the table,” said Denis Lemelin, CUPW’s National President who is also acting as chief negotiator, in a release. “They have been going after our sick leave, our pensions, our retirees and our newest members. All this while they are making profits. Why can’t they invest some of these profits in their people and communities instead of machines?”

Stay with Masthead for updates on this story.

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