A potential disruption in mail delivery may occur next week as Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) continue labour negotiations.
According to Canada Post, work disruptions can occur as early as Monday, July 4 and in such event Canada Post will not operate.
“We do not want a strike at all,” said Mieka Guerin, letter carrier and president of the Port Alberni branch of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. “We want to be able to work this out but Canada Post is not going to the table, they are not going back and trying to find a happy medium.”
Guerin said Canada Post walked away during a negotiation period with the union.
“Our collective agreement is up again and Canada Post has walked away from the table and they are not bargaining in good faith right now,” Guerin said.
“They’re going after our pensions, they’re going after our compensatory time, they’re going after everything right down to the chairs we sit in…we’re asking for no rollbacks.”
A required 72-hour notice must be given by either party before a strike or lockout can occur.
“They are making money so why do they want to cut back? That’s the big question,” Guerin said.
Including contractors, the Port Alberni branch employs close to 40 mail carriers who will all be off work if labour disruptions occur. No mail or parcels will be delivered and no new items will be accepted.
In addition, Guerin said cab companies will be affected by the lockout because postal carriers often use taxi services to get to their routes.
John Hamilton, spokesperson for Canada Post, said offers were put forward to the union on Saturday, June 25 and remain on the table.
He said current employees’ pensions would remain unchanged.
“What we’ve said is we’re not going to make any changes to your pension but what we do need to do is offer a new pension to new employees,” Hamilton said. “It’s an approach that we’ve negotiated with two other unions and Canada Post has had in place with management since 2010.”
The Canada Post offer would also include a pay raise for employees, although Hamilton said is not overly generous.
He said job security and vacation time would not be changed.
“We want a negotiated settlement that gives our customers and our employees comfort and certainly for the next four years,” Hamilton said. “We’ve provided copies of that to every employee so they can see exactly what it is we’re offering. The full offer is on our website for them to look at so we’re fully transparent.”
This would be the fifth widespread mail disruption in the past 30 decades if a work stoppage occurs.
Any mail and parcels within the postal system during a work disruption will be secured and delivered as quickly as possible once operations resume, according to a Canada Post news release from June 27.