As the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) continues to butt heads with Canada Post over wages and labour conditions, Prince Rupert carriers want people to know that they are still dedicated to providing the services their community needs.
“We are still delivering the mail, we will continue the mail. It’s not our intention to inconvenience customers at all,” said Paula Picard, the Prince Rupert CUPW president. “We just want Canada Post to realize that they need to take our demands seriously. We’re done getting hurt on the job.”
On Nov. 19, Canada Post proposed a cooling-off period to the CUPW that would end the rotating strikes that have been in effect since Oct. 16. The proposal would end the strike until Jan. 31 when a mediator would submit recommendations for settlement.
If the settlement is not accepted by either side, negotiations would go to binding arbitration.
“With the rotating strikes, resulting backlogs, and the massive Black Friday and Cyber Monday volumes that will arrive withing days, we are trying everything we can to work together with the union — urgently — to deliver the holidays to Canadians,” said Jessica McDonald, president and CEO of Canada post in an released statement. “This proposal also includes a way for the parties to resolve their differences and these negotiations.”
In a response, CUPW national president Mike Palacek said the Canada Post proposal was unacceptable as it would send postal workers back to work at the busiest, most stressful time of the year while allowing the corporation to avoid negotiation.
“We are confident that an agreement can be reached, if only Canada Post would address the issues and stop looking for ways not to negotiate,” he said.
Picard agreed, saying that the union would never be in a stronger position than they are in now, and that going to binding arbitration would not result in a positive outcome for postal workers.
“If the corporation truly feels that between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31 that we would be able to come to a negotiated settlement, then why don’t we do it now?” she said. “Why don’t we sit down and get serious. They’ve had a year, let’s get serious.”
Picard reiterated that the purpose of the rotating strikes was not to cut off delivery completely, but to slow them down. She added that while there is always the possibility of a full strike, she didn’t think it was likely since the rotating strikes have been effective.
“I understand there’s an impact to the customers and it may be delaying their mail for a couple of days, but we haven’t cancelled Christmas,” she said. “Canada Post is cancelling Christmas.”