OTTAWA – Members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) — both the Urban Postal Operations unit and the Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMC) unit — have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.
Strike votes were held across the country between August 7 and September 9, and provisional numbers show 93.8 percent of urban workers and 95.9 percent of rural workers support their bargaining committee and are ready to take action if necessary. Final audited results may vary slightly. CUPW will be in a legal strike position as of September 26 if the parties cannot reach an agreement.
“Over the last decade, the working conditions of all our members has deteriorated, leaving many overburdened, with little time for their home life,” says Mike Palecek, National President, CUPW. “This ends now. Our members have spoken — this is the time to address serious workplace problems.”
It’s also time to look at renewing the post office with expanded services that include postal banking, grocery delivery and greening the postal fleet and the post office. “Postal workers are also bargaining for the future – future employees and everyone who relies on the postal service,” says Palecek. “Expanded public services at the post office will help our communities thrive, which is why we have put new services for all at the front and centre of our negotiations.”
This round of bargaining has been both difficult and complex. Negotiators have had to address new issues arising from the changing nature of postal work, including the continued explosion of parcel volumes, which has placed huge burdens on members. There are also outstanding issues from previous bargaining rounds as well as equality for RSMCs.
The RSMC pay equity process that is nearing completion addresses their wages and benefits, but to be truly equally treated at work, RSMCs need pay for all hours they work, guaranteed minimum hours and job security, among other issues.
On September 7, after months of negotiations, Canada Post presented global offers to the union, the first time the Corporation has offered any position on the issues, and these offers “simply weren’t good enough,” says Palecek.
“Our negotiators will continue to work with Canada Post to develop a fair agreement for all our workers, and we will not settle for less,” says Palecek. “Our membership has given us a clear mandate to take job action if Canada Post doesn’t come to the bargaining table ready to make some changes to give our workers fair working conditions and expanded services benefitting everyone.”