OTTAWA, 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.
OTTAWA, April 28, 2016 /CNW/ – Postal workers are cheering today’s ruling that the former Conservative government violated its members’ freedom of association by legislating them back to work on June 26, 2011.
“This is a win for workers everywhere,” said Mike Palecek, National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.
“In 2011, Canada Post and the Conservative government gamed the system by first locking postal workers out and then forcing us back to work. This interference was completely unfair and meant we could not freely bargain.”
The ruling by Ontario Superior Court Justice Firestone declares that the Conservative legislation, which also imposed an offer on the postal workers, “violates the rights to freedom of association and freedom of expression” under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms sections 2d) and 2b), and that it is “unconstitutional and of no force and effect.”
“Let this be a warning to Deepak Chopra and his 22 vice presidents that the legislation trick won’t work this time,” said Palecek.
CUPW is currently in negotiations and Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra, who shut Canada Post’s doors nation-wide and locked out the postal workers in 2011, remains at the helm. The Crown Corporation management has applied for conciliation and refuses to entertain any of the postal workers’ demands for improved services and an end to concessions.
“Canada Post is already trying to push things by starting the countdown to a lockout,” said Palecek.
“This time, they won’t be able to count on the government to make it easy for them.”
OTTAWA, April 4, 2016 /CNW/ – In what postal workers say is a “cynical attempt to provoke a labour dispute,” Canada Post Corporation has filed for conciliation surprisingly early on in its negotiation process with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.
“This is unprecedented in our history,” said Mike Palecek, national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, “Canada Post has not even finished giving us their demands and they are already preparing to push matters to a head”.
The long list of concessions demanded by the Crown Corporation so far includes hefty rollbacks on pensions, benefits and job security. Canada Post negotiators have refused to consider any of the union’s proposals, including ideas for service expansion and pay equity for the female-dominated rural carriers.
“In June 2011, Deepak Chopra had no scruples about shutting down the postal system and locking workers out,” said Palecek. “These Harper appointees want to break our union at any cost, with no regard for the public and the services they rely on.”
The union also points out that a postal review is in the works and that Canada Post’s actions could interfere with that process.
“Canada Post should be preparing for public consultations about the future of the post office,” said Palecek. “Not declaring war on its workers.”
A postal worker in Thunder Bay ended up in hospital on Wednesday after a community mailbox toppled over onto her as she was delivering the mail.
“It fell right on top of her, breaking her glasses, hitting her head and her right shoulder was injured,” said Joanne Nowosad, president of the Thunder Bay local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, in a statement issued on Thursday.
“These mailboxes are a clear and present danger to public safety… what if it had fallen on top of a child?”
The worker’s injuries were not believed to have been life-threatening. Photographs taken by union representatives show the box somehow became detached from its concrete base, causing it to fall forward onto the ground.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is concerned about changes Canada Post warns could be coming.In May, the Crown Corporation will start test-sorting Charlottetown mail in Halifax. The move would reduce the amount of work clerks at the depot and postal carriers in Charlottetown need to do.
Canada Post says no permanent changes will made until October, but it’s warned the union up to three letter carriers out of 20 delivering in the capital may no longer be needed.
The head of the Charlottetown local, Pearl Gillis-Palmer said Canada Post isn’t telling them how the decision will affect clerk staffing levels.”The only thing that we have so far, is that it looks like there, the letter carriers, their positions will be deleted,” she said.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is pointing out that Canada Post’s press release is highly misleading, continuing its record of downplaying financial success in order to impose unnecessary cost-cutting measures.
“Looking at the report, for the first three quarters, we see an overall profit of almost $30 million ($28 million). Once again, in 2015, Canada Post is on track to surpass its projections,” said Mike Palecek, National President of CUPW.
The Canada Post news release headline emphasized the $13 million loss for the Canada Post segment. Only much lower down in the release does it mention that the Canada Post Group of Companies reported a profit before tax of $10 million for the third quarter and $28 million for the first three-quarters of 2015.
The post office is a seasonal business, depending heavily on holiday sales for its success. The union cautions Canadians not to be misled by third-quarter results, which are normally lower. In 2014, for example, the fourth quarter generated $185 million in profit, $150 million more than the third quarter profit.
“There is every reason to expect that the Canada Post Group of Companies and the Canada Post segment will both see a much greater overall profit this year once the busy holiday season is factored into its last quarter” said Palecek.
After making a profit in the second quarter of the year, Canada Post has reported a loss of $13 million in the third quarter.
In the first nine months of the year, the Crown corporation lost $20 million before tax, a figure that is likely to play into upcoming decisions over door-to-door delivery.
On Oct. 26, after the election of the Liberals, Canada Post put the transition to community mailboxes on hold, saying it will work “collaboratively” with the Government of Canada to determine the best path forward.
One of the issues the Liberal Party ran on in last week’s Canadaian parliamentary elections was Canada Post’s move to end home mail delivery. In light of the Conservative Government’s crushing defeat, Canada Post has suspended further cluster box conversions. The Crown Corporation released this statement today:
OTTAWA (Ont.) – Canada Post is temporarily suspending future deployment of the program to convert door-to-door mail delivery to community mailboxes. We will work collaboratively with the Government of Canada to determine the best path forward given the ongoing challenges faced by the Canadian postal system.
Efforts are now underway to place the comprehensive program on hold in an orderly fashion. This involves roughly 460,000 addresses across the country which are currently in the process to be converted to community mailboxes.
As a result, all conversions planned for November and December 2015 and those announced for 2016 will be placed on hold. Customers impacted by this decision will receive a letter within the next few weeks advising them of the status of their mail delivery service.
In neighbourhoods where the 10-month internal and community conversion process is complete, customers will collect mail and parcels at their community mailbox. This includes customers set to begin receiving their mail and parcels in their boxes in October. We remain focused on maintaining reliable postal service to all Canadians without disruption.
Yesterday’s election in Canada may mean the end for Canada Post’s plans to convert five million addresses from door-to-door delivery to cluster boxes.
After a decade in power, the Conservatives were routed in a landslide by Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party. The Liberals had previously vowed to end the conversions and to conduct a thorough review of Canada Post. On their website, the Liberals say this:
“We will stop the Harper Conservatives’ plan to end door-to-door mail delivery in Canada. We will begin a new review of Canada Post to ensure that the Crown Corporation is fulfilling its public mandate to provide high-quality service at a reasonable cost to Canadians — urban, suburban, and rural. We disagree strongly with the Conservative decision to ask Canadians to pay more for a reduced quality of service.”