Canada Post talks reach "critical stage"


Strike vote could happen at any time

By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

A majority of Canada Post employees could soon be walking off the job.  About 50,000 Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) members will soon vote on whether or not to move forward with a strike. If the two sides fail to reach a new collective agreement by Sept. 26, the CUPW said it will have to be ready for “some type of job action”. The CUPW represents delivery agents and plant employees.

In a recent post on the union’s website, national president Mike Palecek told members the bargaining process has entered a “critical stage”.  One point of contention appears to centre around pay equity, as the union has suggested that 8,000 rural postal workers earn 30 per cent less than the 42,000 employees assigned to urban areas.

The previous collective agreement lapsed in Dec. 2017 and talks have been ongoing between Canada Post and the union with the help of a conciliator. The CUPW requested conciliation assistance on June 29 and on July 6 the conciliators were appointed. The conciliation process is a normal phase of negotiations detailed in the Canada Labour Code. Conciliators have 60 days to build consensus and broker a deal. Should the process conclude without new collective agreements, there will be a mandatory 21-day cooling off period before there can be any legal work disruption. A 72-hour notice must also be filed before there can be a legal interruption in work.

It’s expected that the CUPW will conduct strike votes in September, which does not change the conciliation timelines. It is part of the process spelled out in the Canada Labour Code and does not mean a work disruption will occur. The earliest a legal work disruption can occur is at the end of the day Tuesday, Sept. 25.