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POSSIBLE POSTAL STRIKE LOOMS
OSOYOOS TIMES-May 25, 2011
By Karissa Gall – Osoyoos Times
Though the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has promised there will be no strike activity on May 25, 26 or 27, the state of negotiations between the union and Canada Post as of May 24 is not so promising.
“We’re getting closer to a strike, walkout or a conclusion,” John Bail, national director of the pacific region for CUPW, told the Osoyoos Times on the evening of May 24.
Bail said negotiations continued through the long weekend and although both sides have indicated their commitment to find a settlement, compromise has been hard to reach throughout the collective bargaining process which began in the fall of 2010.
Bail said CUPW has yet to review the formal response to the most recent global offer which Canada Post sent the union on May 24.
He said once CUPW reviews the response, the two parties will meet in a few days’ time.
Canada Post issued a media release on May 24 expressing the negotiation team’s disappointment after reviewing CUPW’s most recent offer.
“In a formal response to the union, Canada Post made clear that CUPW’s offer represents a step backwards as it provides no realistic solutions to the problems facing the postal system. The union’s offer would add $1.4 billion of new costs to Canada Post over the life of the contract and provides no compromises to address the challenges facing the company,” stated the release.
“CUPW’s proposals do not provide the basis for a labour agreement that would avert a damaging work disruption.”
Sticking points on both sides of the negotiations have been in several areas, including job security, wages and benefits, health and safety and staffing.
According to Anick Losier, director of media relations for Canada Post, the company will not bring in temporary workers if CUPW walks out.
In the event of a strike, Bail said the only mail that will be delivered in Osoyoos will be cheques to pensioners and social assistance recipients, as CUPW has promised Canada Post to continue to deliver those items even in the event of a national strike or lockout.
Beyond cheques to pensioners and social assistance recipients, Bail said a strike would mean little to no mail would be received – a reality that would have a more significant impact on residents of small towns such as Osoyoos compared to big city centres.
“In a community like Osoyoos, anyone that’s in small business like a candle maker or something like that, they wouldn’t have the ability to compete with a similar type business in a larger centre unless Canada Post was there to move their product,” he said.
CUPW is required by law to give 72 hours notice of a strike.
A potential lockout does not require notice.
The last time that the Canadian Postal Workers Union went on strike was 1999.
The strike lasted two weeks.