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Letter: Postal workers under expired contracts for two years

Almon Street, November 2018. Photo Robert Devet

Friday, January 31st, 2020 will mark the 2nd Anniversary of the expiration of the collective agreement of Urban Ops postal workers at Canada Post. One month earlier, on December 31st, 2019, was the 2nd Anniversary of the expiration of the Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers’ collective agreement. And, it’s been over one year since the Liberal government introduced Bill C-89 which legislated an end to CUPW’s rotating strikes with near unanimous support of the Liberals and Conservatives.

See also: Postal workers and allies briefly occupy Andy Fillmore’s constituency office

Postal workers just completed their second Holiday “peak” season under Bill C-89 without any of the changes that postal workers went on strike for. Postal workers are still using equipment and work methods/processes that caused the injury crisis at Canada Post (an injury rate 5.4 times higher than the rest of the public sector when we began strike action) . Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers were (and are) still not paid for all the hours they worked. Letter carriers and RSMCs are still working on overburdened routes. And Canada Post is still relying too heavily on overtime, extended hours and temporary employees instead of creating full-time jobs. 

Although postal workers’ right to take strike action was legislated away by the Liberals and Conservatives, there is nothing in Bill C-89 that prevents Canada Post from trying to achieve a negotiated settlement with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. In December, Arbitrator Elizabeth McPherson’s mandate was extended by the government (for a second time) until June 30th, 2020. If the contracts are imposed on that date, barring any further delays or extensions, postal workers will have been under expired contracts for 2 1/2 years. 

In stark contrast, in November last year, the Liberal government did not get involved in the Teamsters Union’s dispute with CN Rail and both sides negotiated a tentative agreement in seven days. 

CUPW is calling on the Liberal government to pressure Canada Post to return to the bargaining table and try to reach a negotiated settlement instead of an imposed one, which we feel is a much better outcome for both sides.

Mike Keefe 1st Vice-President, CUPW Nova Local

See also: What a Canada Post strike is all about (updated)

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