As the clock struck midnight, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) called a rotating strike in four cities. The work stoppage, starting at 12:01 am on October 22, comes after Canada Post management failed to accept the CUPW’s proposals to make postal jobs safer.
In the negotiations, the union hoped to win a more humane workload. Due to “overburdening,” Canada Post has the highest injury rate of all federal industries. This unreasonable pace of work affects all Canada Post workers in the country—workers in processing facilities as well as letter carriers in communities large and small, rural and urban. Canada Post is currently unwilling to adequately address this problem.
Additionally, management refuses to create the maximum number of full-time jobs in the Urban Postal Operations and to pay for all working hours for Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMC). Instead management wants rural postal employees to work extended hours and overtime for free. The strike covers 50,000 full time, part time and temporary (casual) workers.
“Canada Post had the opportunity this weekend to stop any postal disruption on Monday, but instead, as they have for almost a year, they refused to talk about the issues that matter to our members,” says Mike Palecek, CUPW National President. “Our goal has always been a negotiated settlement, but we will not agree to anything that doesn’t address health and safety, gender equality and good, full-time middle-class jobs.”
Key demands for postal workers during this round of bargaining are job security, an end to forced overtime and overburdening, stronger health and safety measures, service expansion, and pay equality for RSMCs.
“Job actions will continue until Canada Post gets serious about bargaining. They should and can do better. Our members deserve better,” says Palecek.
CUPW opted for rotating strikes, in Victoria, Edmonton, Windsor, and Halifax, to minimize the impact of a postal disruption on customers. Mail will still be delivered, although it could be delayed.
UNI Global Union fully supports the postal strike in Canada. We call the Canada Post management and the Canadian government to deal with the pending issues in the negotiations with CUPW. UNI calls on all affiliates to raise the issue and send letters to Canada Post management and the Canadian government.