Postal workers plead for longer cooling-off period

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Postal workers are pleading with Canada Post to extend the cooling-off period by two weeks amid fears the company will terminate its collective agreement this weekend.

Legally, work cannot be disrupted until Saturday July 2, but the Canadian Union of Postal Workers claims the company could easily lock workers out or attempt to force a walkout after that date.

“We are asking management to give us a chance, to give the public review a chance, to keep sitting down with us at the bargaining table, and give the workers a chance to get a fair deal,” said Mike Palecek, national president of the CUPW.

Eight-thousand rural postal workers have been without a contract since the end of December 2015 while 42,000 urban workers have been without a contract since the end of January 2016.

Over 90 per cent of union members voted to support strike action “if necessary to achieve our demands, stop the employer’s rollbacks and improve service to the public” which means the nation-wise service could soon grind to a halt.

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  • Vasilis on 2016-06-28 6:32:01 PM

    I have found that almost all the carriers we have had over the years are wonderful and hard workers. The problem I have is that they are compensated and have working conditions that are considerably above the average Canadian. In addition, they are in an industry where their employer cannot compete unless it gets such terms as it is seeking. Finally, I continue to blame the fat cats (union agents) who push for a strike and yet they continue to get paid. Let's get the next move over with.

  • Katherine on 2016-06-28 7:05:59 PM

    I have heard, understand and respect many of the counter-points being made by those opposed to the changes being undergone at Canada Post. However, while I can't say agree with all of the changes, in many cases it's because I don't think they have gone far enough. There will be further acceptance of the new ways of communicating as time moves forward and the shift in the working population base continues it's inexorable progression. The fact is, the functional postal system has a volume based cost efficiency and there will be a continued decline in volume. The continued rise in prices will compound this as business push forward on electronic billing and payment options as cost/benefit analyses support the investment. The postal workers have a right to fear for their jobs, the need is decreasing. But, the Canadian tax payer should not be held hostage to status quo.

  • Jesster on 2016-06-28 8:05:29 PM

    With regards to the comment about "union fat cats," union representatives at the Canadian Union of Postal Workers make either the same or at the regional or national level, only marginally more. In the event of a lock out all members of CUPW, whether they are national union reps or carriers, receive $200 a week strike pay. The union reps lose their incomes just like the rest of us. Fact

  • Jesster on 2016-06-28 8:10:31 PM

    Sigh. Canadian taxpayers do not pay a dime to the post office, so are certainly not being held hostage. As for changes, there is this little thing called online shopping which is dramatically impacting Canada Post by greatly increasing the need for the service. In the first quarter of 2016 Canada Post reported a profit of $44 million. As for fat cat union reps, when CUPW members are locked out or on strike all members, including all local, regional, and national union reps, lose their incomes and are paid $200 a week strike pay. CUPW union reps make only marginally more than those of us on the work floor.

  • Vasilis on 2016-06-28 8:25:42 PM

    Thanks for the clarification on CUPW, Jester -- that's not the normal approach to union management, but I'll take your word for it. All the more reason they should be encouraging their members to accept the deal.

  • Jesster on 2016-06-28 10:24:02 PM

    No, the deal they've offered falls short. Never accept the first offer! If Canada Post agrees to extend the cooling off period I think we can hammer out contract that works for everyone. But given that they've spent weeks warning the customers there is going to be a labour disruption, laid of some contract drivers, and informed us that as of July 2 they are cancelling all our benefits I'd say it's pretty clear they are going to lock us out.

  • Allan on 2016-06-29 1:59:03 AM

    What if the was an CBA e negotiation software system available, a program that ensures each side at the table receives more of what they deem important without necessarily costing the other anything further, would you be willing to employ such a system?
    A system that would bring further utility to a cooling off period, would you introduce such an opportunity at the BU level, local level or even national level? How would you ensure management buy in?

  • Vasilis on 2016-06-29 8:44:49 AM

    First, Jesster, sorry for misspelling your name -- missed an 's'. Secondly, I think your current overall state of affairs as employees is pretty darn good and millions are envious of you. Thirdly, I would love to see this sector have their negotiation disputes dealt with by binding arbitration and not lock-out or strike. Every day the Postal service strikes they lose many commercial clients, I am sure.

  • Vasilis on 2016-06-29 5:27:34 PM

    Allan, tell us more. The pie is only so big. If one side (B) gets more than the other side (A) wants to give it; it (A) gets less. Now a good negotiator or better a mediator could be creative enough to show both A & B how they can get their cakes and eat them too. But that takes patience and an understanding that neither side will have total success on any given item. But even this should have taken place before the deadline they knew was coming.

  • Chevy on 2016-06-29 6:52:09 PM

    my neighbor is a postie and all he has ever bragged about is making more money than most Canadians.

    The company I worked at did the same things as our postal service did, it kept paying until it could not and layoffs will occur.

    Maybe my postie neighbor will not be laughing at other peoples demise anymore now that he is in the same boat and it hurts as he will find out

  • LoriA on 2016-06-30 12:11:45 PM

    no patience for any of this, my dream job has always been to be a postal deliverer but it's a tough gig to get, nobody leaves, why would they?? they make a very high wage, have an excellent benefits and pension package what's the problem??? I've worked as a single mom of three for years with minimal child support and am grateful to have a job to pay my bills. I've worked far harder over the years than any postal worker I'm sure and now have a second job to make ends meet!! if only I could be a Canada postal worker. maybe they should realize there are many who'd step in to take their jobs anytime!! my work ethic has me working extra hours every day but that is how it is for most Canadian employees. maybe they should walk a mile in a few other peoples shoes to realize it's not easy out here without those wages and benefits!! they need to take a look in the mirror assess what they have and be more grateful for what they have instead of wanting more!!! it truly isn't fair the rich get richer I think is the saying!!! I'm sure there are things that they don't appreciate or like about their jobs/employer WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD!!! enough said, I hope the workers come to their senses and take a look at what they have and stop asking for more. greed is truly ugly!!

  • Vasilis on 2016-06-30 4:50:38 PM

    I hear you LoriA and I can only hope your honest, from the heart, and truthful remarks reach the ears of the workers and more importantly the union.
    It's a vicious cycle -- union agents and members dig in their heels, a strike or lockout follows, to save face the union gets a bit more, but they lose a lot in the process -- often at the cost of jobs down the road. But it's their choice. And management has no other way of getting their message to be believed, until it's too late. I wish them all, and you too, the best.

  • charlie on 2016-07-07 1:48:14 AM

    go for the hybrid pension plan like all the auto workers and Air Canada did a few years back,
    It's both a defined contribution and a defined benefit pension plan that they all have now.
    P.S. and I only have grade 8 education.....

  • Vasilis on 2016-07-11 9:38:11 PM

    That may certainly be a temporary solution until next time; but ultimately, the defined benefit is a thing of the past. And even if the union accepts this, they would be accepting a two-tier approach unless current members take a cut in their pension going forward. And "charlie" -- education these days does not have much to do with it -- my dad only had grade six and he was one of the smartest men I knew. Hang in there.

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