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UPDATE, JULY 11: Canada Post Withdraws Lockout Notice in Favour of 30 Day Cool-off Period


June 28, 2016
By PrintAction Staff

Canada Post late Friday issued a brief statement that it has withdrawn its lockout notice, explaining the move “will allow both parties to focus their efforts on serious negotiations.”

Canada also stated it is prepared to negotiate within a “cooling off period” over the next 30 days to reach a settlement with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). If both parties are unable to successfully conclude negotiations within that period, states Canada Post, both parties must agree to binding arbitration.

Canada Post and CUPW have been in discussions since late 2015, with 60 days of conciliation and almost 30 more days with Federal mediators. The parties, however, remain far apart on key issues, particularly around the pension plan.

Canada Post continues to point to the drop in mail volume as its primary concern over the future of the government corporation, which explains the amount of mail deposited across its network was down more than 80 percent compared with July 8 of last year.

UPDATE FROM JULY 6
Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, MaryAnn Mihychuk, has asked both Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) to submit to binding arbitration to resolve the current impasse at negotiations.

Canada Post released a statement that it has agreed to voluntarily submit to binding arbitration, thereby, acknowledging it is unlikely that a settlement can be negotiated between the two parties.

As a result Canada Post announced this morning it is extending the current 72-hour lockout notice period to Monday at 12:01 am. The union had not yet confirmed it would voluntarily submit to binding arbitration at the time of Canada Post’s statement.

UPDATE FROM JULY 5
Canada Post this morning informed the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) that it is issuing a 72-hour lockout notice, creating the possibility of a work stoppage by Friday, July 8, 2016. The lockout would affect 50,000 workers and potentially shutdown Canada’s postal system until a new agreement is reached.

Canada Post also explained this morning that the terms and conditions of the current collective agreements will no longer apply starting this Friday. Employees will continue to receive regular pay and some benefits such as applicable prescription drug coverage. Other items will be cancelled as per Canada’s Labour Code, which provides Canada Post with the flexibility to adjust staffing.

“We knew this was their game all along,” stated Mike Palecek, President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. “They are sabotaging the public review of the post office. They refused to negotiate fairly with us and now they’re locking the doors and will try to starve us into submission.”

CUPW also points out Canada Post locked postal workers out in 2011 until the Federal Conservative government forced them back to work with legislation that has since been ruled unconstitutional.

UPDATE FROM JULY 4
The negotiation vitriol has intensified between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers in reaction to offers made by both sides over the past few days.

On the evening of July 1, Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) tabled its new Global Offers, six days after Canada Post’s latest offer, for both the urban and RSMC collective agreements.

Under the Canada Labour Code, explains the union, once the parties have obtained the legal right to strike or lockout, no action can occur unless one of the parties has provided 72-hour notice, which has not yet happened (at time of article posting).

A day before tabling its Global Offer, CUPW issued a statement entitled Why Is Canada Post Hiding The Huge Surplus In The Pension Plan? The union points out, as Canada Post spokespeople continue to point to a deficit in the Canada Post Pension Plan, there was a pension surplus for 2015 of $2.7 billion, even as the pension solvency deficit was reduced from $6.8 billion to $6.1 billion.

In reaction to CUPW’s July 1 offer, which included an outline for wage increases for its members, Canada Post stated it is “extremely disappointed” with the offer because it would add $1 billion in new costs to run the postal system, without addressing what the government describes as long-term issues with the employee pension plan.

In its offer, states Canada Post, the union rejected any changes to the pension, more than tripled the government’s proposed wage increases and demanded the immediate reinstatement of changes agreed to in the last round of negotiations in 2012.

CUPW, meanwhile, called Canada Post’s assertion, that the latest union offer would add $1 billion costs, “bogus”; and then cited several examples from past labour negotiations when Canada Post stated union demands would cost $1 billion. The union asserts Canada Post is only interested in headlines instead of further negotiations.

In its July 1 Global Offers, CUPW explains it believes service expansion is one of the best ways to provide new revenues for Canada Post, including a model for seven-day parcel delivery on weekends, mornings and evenings.

Canada Post, however, explains that while its parcel business has been improving in the last few years, the corporation continues to face the impact of a decade of decline in Lettermail, which continues. Last year alone, Canada Post explains it delivered 1.6 billion fewer pieces of mail than it did in 2006.

ARTICLE FROM JUNE 28:
Canada Post yesterday issued a statement regarding a potential work disruption as labour negotiations between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) continue.  Talks have been ongoing since November 2015 and, while there is still time to reach new agreements, a legal work disruption could occur as early as July 2.

Canada Post explains it will not operate in the event of a labour disruption. Mail and parcels will not be delivered, and no new items will be accepted. Any mail and parcels within Canada’s postal system during a work disruption will be secured and delivered once operations resume.

On Saturday, June 25, 2016, Canada Post tabled offers for the separate negotiations under way with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW-Urban and CUPW-RSMC), which represent both delivery and plant employees.

Canada Post explains the new offers do not present any changes to the pension for all current employees and their job security remains unchanged; and that all employees would see an increase in their take-home pay.

Future hires would receive a Defined Contribution pension plan as part of a new, compensation package that aims to address Canada Post’s ongoing pension challenge in the long term.

The new offer presented would allow Canada Post to establish temporary and part-time jobs to deliver parcels on weekends and evenings, which aims to better manage costs, as opposed to the current approach of providing this service while paying double-time.

In addition, Canada Post has included more flexible size specifications for Neighbourhood Mail to respond to requests from businesses and marketers for more options.