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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.