Ongoing rotating strikes against Canada Post by its unionized workers will be outlawed, as soon as federal legislation to end them gets Royal Assent. Barring a court challenge of the back-to-work bill, everyone should be on the job early in the week.
Among the first tasks for the workers will be clearing out a backlog of parcels. John Cameron, president of Local 624 of the Canadian Postal Workers Union in Timmins, says the company has been massively overstating the size of the backlog.
“Canada Post has indicated that there was up to 600 (or) 700 truckloads backlogged.” says Cameron. “And the Canadian Union of Postal Workers had stated when they did their own internal review by asking office to office, there was about 70 trailers that were in all these bigger locations as of Wednesday. So I think Canada Post has kind of put a little fear in he Canadian public and it’s not what they’re stating it to be.”
The major issue in contract talks that have been in progress for about a year, stems from an explosion in parcel business, brought about by increasing online shopping. Cameron says the two sides agree that it’s a health and safety issue for workers. He says the union has proposed remedies, but the company has ignored them.
Another issue centres on rural-suburban mail carriers, who make up almost 20% of the union membership. Cameron says many of them aren’t paid for all the hours that they work.
“It’s quite absurd actually,” he comments, “to have a federal corporation, public sector government position where you’re not paid for all hours worked.”
Again, Cameron claims that CUPW has put forth a potential solution, but Canada Post “has so far snubbed that idea as well.”