ACORN Canada and CUPW Come Together to Replace Predatory Lending with Postal Banking

HomeOTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – May 2, 2016) – On Thursday May 5 The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers are coming together to call on the Federal government to bring back postal banking and ensure that fair banking is a reality for low and moderate income Canadians.

A Fair Banking campaign backgrounder (clink link to view) recently released by ACORN Canada shows it’s expensive to be poor in Canada. As mainstream banks leave lower income communities and deny its residents products and services to meet their needs, lower income Canadians are forced to depend on the predatory fringe financial sector that take their place.

“Payday lenders have moved in and filled the void left by banks in many communities, and people are being driven to payday lenders and installment loans when banks deny them basic banking services like overdraft protection, lines of credit and hold-free accounts,” says ACORN Canada spokesperson Donna Borden. “As a result, predatory lenders are the only option for many people living pay-cheque to pay-cheque when their car breaks down or hours are cut.”

On Thursday May 5, ACORN and CUPW members will be holding a National Day of Action with rallies planned in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver to say that low-income earners need a postal bank as an alternative to payday lenders.

“People need an alternative to payday lenders, somewhere they can go and not be gouged,” said Mike Palecek, National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. “A postal bank could be that alternative.”

CUPW and ACORN are calling on the government review of Canada Post to recommend the addition of financial and banking services at Canada Post, or at a minimum, a task force to determine how to deliver new financial and banking services through our postal service.

Canadian postal workers condemn “vultures circling” over end of home mail delivery

cupw_logoOTTAWA, Oct. 6, 2014 /CNW/ – The union representing postal workers strongly condemns a move by the private company "You Have Mail," accusing it of exploiting the recent Canada Post decision to end door-to-door delivery for over five million Canadian households by offering to pick up mail and deliver it to the door – for a fee, of course.

"The Harper government is trying to kill Canada’s postal service and the vultures are circling," said Denis Lemelin, National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

"Canada Post is mandated to be financially self-sufficient and has been so for most of the past two decades. In fact, last quarter, it reported a profit. So why should Canadians have to pay $20 or $30 or $60 to have their mail delivered to the door?"

The union has been pushing for expanded services such as postal banking to address the decline in traditional mail.

"Privatization is not the solution," said Lemelin. "Mail delivery must remain a public service, not a for-profit business."

Read more: Canadian Union of Postal Workers | CUPW Condemns "Vultures Circling" Over End of Home Mail Delivery.

Canadians tell Lisa Raitt no more postal cuts

From the Canadian Union of Postal Workers:

cupw_logoMILTON, ON, Dec. 18, 2013 /CNW/ – Postal workers delivered over 12,200 postcards of protest to Lisa Raitt, Minister responsible for Canada Post, today at her constituency office in Milton, Ontario. The postcards were signed by Canadians opposing postal downsizing and closures prior to the corporation’s recent announcement that it intends to cut delivery and raise rates.

“People are angry about the cuts and the fact that the government doesn’t seem to care,” said Donald Lafleur, 4th National Vice-President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

Some of the postcards are from Milton residents, while others are from communities throughout the country. They ask Olivia Chow, official opposition critic responsible for Canada Post, to tell Minister Raitt to stop closing and downsizing post offices and instead look at new ways to generate revenue such as postal banking. Chow recently sent this message in a letter to the Minister.

Other party critics have also denounced postal cuts and expressed concern about the government’s upcoming review of its expectations for Canada Post, as spelled out in the Canadian Postal Service Charter.

“The corporation has closed about 40 urban post offices in the last two years and turned some of the remaining offices into little more than a hole in the wall,” said Lafleur. “It has been brutal and it’s going to get worse now that Canada Post has announced it intends to eliminate door-to-door delivery and hike postage rates.”

Lemelin said the corporation has chosen cuts and ignored other options such as postal banking. New Zealand, Switzerland and Italy made major profits from banking last year.

“You can’t cut your way to a better future, said Lafleur.

CUPW scores court victory against Harper governmrnt

OTTAWA – The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has scored a significant victory in its fight against the Harper government’s treatment of postal workers.

In a decision handed down October 20th in the Federal Court, Judge Luc Martineau ordered a stay of proceedings relating to the Harper government’s back-to-work legislation (Bill C-6) against thousands of locked-out postal workers in June. The arbitration will now stop until the union’s challenge of the government’s hand-picked arbitrator can be heard in January 2012.

“This decision shows that the union is on the right track. We are questioning the process by which this government has forced its will on postal workers,” said Denis Lemelin, CUPW National President and chief negotiator.

Members of CUPW’s urban unit went on rotating strike in June and were subsequently locked out by Canada Post, then legislated back to work. The union has also launched a separate constitutional challenge against the back-to-work legislation itself, which directs the arbitrator to pick one side only without any possibility of compromise.

The Martineau decision bolsters the union’s objection to Minister of Labour Lisa Raitt’s appointment of Anthony Arthur Coulter Osborne – a unilingual judge without any previous experience in labour relations – to preside over the arbitration. The merits of the union’s case will be argued in January.

Normally, arbitrators are agreed upon by the parties, rather than being imposed by the government. Observers have noted the importance of CUPW’s challenges for the future of labour relations in Canada.

via CUPW – 2011-10-21 – Court Orders Stay of Proceedings in CUPW Challenge to Lisa Raitt’s Arbitrator.

Did Harper kill Canada Post deal?

From the Toronto Star:

OTTAWA—Backroom negotiations aimed at getting Canada Post workers back on the job produced at least two separate deals that came close to ending the political filibuster on Parliament Hill and the labour stoppage, the Star has learned.

But the deals fell through — including an apparent agreement between Canada Post and its workers — and insiders are pointing the finger at the Prime Minister’s Office as the reason.

New Democrats have accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper of taking a hard line in the Canada Post dispute to send a signal to other public sector unions as he girds for federal belt-tightening.

“Obviously the (Prime Minister’s Office) got involved in there. I believe that Stephen Harper wanted to send a message across the country,” said New Democrat MP Yvon Godin.

Full story: Backroom talks came close to ending postal standoff – thestar.com.

Union claim could chart ‘new territory’ in Canadian Labour Law: Expert

Letters and bills may be returning to your mailbox, but the union representing Canada’s postal workers says this fight is far from over.

The 15-member national executive board of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers has decided to take the federal government to court over last week’s back-to-work legislation.

Kevin Banks, a Law professor at Queen’s University, said, "this is a new area of the law and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out."

He said the claim will likely be based on a 2007 Supreme Court decision about "B.C. Health Services."

Full story: Montreal Gazette: Union claim could chart ‘new territory’ in Canadian Labour Law: Expert.

Canada Post promises mail delivery Tuesday

Canadian homes and businesses will start receiving mail again Tuesday now that legislation forcing 48,000 locked-out postal workers back to their jobs has become law, Canada Post says.

Post offices that were closed during the labour dispute will start to reopen Tuesday as well, while mailboxes will be unsealed starting Monday, the Crown corporation said.

via Canada Post promises mail delivery Tuesday – Politics – CBC News.

CUPW: Workers’ Rights Take a Big Hit Under Harper’s Majority Government

OTTAWA – The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) says the Harper government has sent a message to all workers with its unjust and punitive bill legislating postal workers back to work.

“The government is clearly willing to side with employers to grind down wages and working conditions,” said CUPW National President Denis Lemelin. “Its decision to use back-to-work legislation in the Canada Post and Air Canada disputes was not neutral. The Conservatives have shown themselves to be very anti-worker after only two months of majority government.”

Lemelin said the government’s assertion that its legislation was necessary to protect the economy is illogical. He said postal workers had offered to return to work. “The government has attacked our right to freely negotiate the conditions we work under,” said Lemelin. “It appears that only markets and employers will have freedoms in this country.”

“The union’s struggle for safe work, decent jobs and pensions will continue in spite of this unjust and punitive bill. Fortunately, the government can’t legislate away our determination to fight for our rights,” said Lemelin.

Lemelin added that postal workers are very grateful for the support they received from people all across the country and opposition Members of Parliament, especially members of the New Democratic Party (NDP) who eloquently defended free collective bargaining for 58 hours straight. He said the NDP’s filibuster was successful in provoking a resumption of negotiations between CUPW and Canada Post over the last few days, but that the negotiations had ultimately failed.

“Canada Post was uncompromising from the moment Harper’s government introduced back-to-work legislation,” said Lemelin.

via CUPW – 2011-06-25 – Workers’ Rights Take a Big Hit Under Harper’s Majority Government.

Canada Post back-to-work bill passes key vote

From the CBC:

The Conservative government’s back-to-work bill on the Canada Post labour dispute passed a key hurdle on Saturday, while the Opposition NDP says it will propose changes that could end a three-day impasse in the House of Commons.

The Opposition said it would propose two amendments later Saturday evening for MPs to debate following second reading, which passed in a 158-112 vote. The vote moved the bill to a process known as the committee of the whole, in which amendments can be introduced on the House floor and not at a smaller meeting.

The first would remove clauses in the bill that would force the two sides into a form of binding arbitration known as final offer selection, meaning each side would table its final offer and the arbitrator would pick one or the other. The second would remove the salary provision off the bill, which the NDP said proposes a wage increase lower than what Canada Post had wanted to offer the union.

Full story: Canada Post back-to-work bill passes key vote – Politics – CBC News.

Live CBC coverage of the Commons debate.

CUPW says renewed contract talks failed- asks NDP to push amendments to law

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers issued the following statement:

Thanks to the stamina of the opposition MPs, led by Jack Layton and the NDP caucus, CUPW resumed bargaining with Canada Post Corporation (CPC).

Last night, we held extensive discussions involving representatives of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and Labour Minister Lisa Raitt. This morning, we met twice with CPC in direct negotiations. Even though we modified our position, the negotiations were unsuccessful. CPC remained as intransigent as it has been since the introduction of the back-to-work legislation by the Harper government.

Given these circumstances, we have requested the NDP to introduce amendments which would remove the most oppressive aspects of this legislation.

“We are grateful for the remarkable support from the opposition MPs, especially the NDP caucus,” said Denis Lemelin, National President of CUPW. “Their efforts provoked a resumption of negotiations. These talks failed, but the responsibility for that lies squarely on Canada Post management and the Harper government.”

We also thank the tens of thousands of people, including students, women’s groups, anti-poverty activists, other unionists, seniors, and local community activists who have been walking on our picket lines, sending messages of support, and participating in rallies and other activities.

Canadian Union of Postal Workers President Denis Lemelin sent the following letter to NDP leader Jack Layton earlier today:

Mr. Layton:

Subject: Bill C-6

On behalf of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, I wish to congratulate you, your NDP colleagues, and the other opposition members of Parliament who have continued to oppose Bill C-6.

Your efforts were successful in provoking a resumption of negotiations between CUPW and the Canada Post Corporation. During the evening of June 24, we held extensive discussions involving representatives of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and Labour Minister Lisa Raitt. This morning, June 25, we met twice with CPC in direct negotiations.

Despite your efforts and the support and solidarity activities of tens of thousands of people across the country, the negotiations were unsuccessful.

CPC once again refused to amend their position. They remain as intransigent as they have been since the introduction of the back-to-work legislation by the Harper government.

Given these circumstances, we believe it would be appropriate for you to introduce amendments which would at least remove the most offensive aspects of this legislation.

Once again, we offer you and your colleagues our deepest thanks for your efforts to oppose this unjust law. We especially appreciate the fact that you were prepared to continue the debate during the national holiday of Quebec.

Your actions, which were successful in provoking a resumption of negotiations, demonstrate the importance of a strong progressive opposition. We remain committed to continue to work with you and the members of your caucus in the broader struggle for decent jobs for ourselves and for future generations of workers.

Denis Lemelin

Président national / National President

Négociateur en chef, unité de l’exploitation postale urbaine /

Chief Negotiator, Urban Postal Operations Unit

via CUPW – 2011-06-25 – Letter to Jack Layton, Leader of the Official Opposition regarding Bill C-6.