In what it calls a “last-ditch effort to deliver the holidays,” Canada Post recently proposed an immediate end to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers’ (CUPW) rotating strikes through January, during which time mediation would continue to work towards a resolution.
In an effort to restore full operations and deliver oncoming volumes, Canada Post is proposing:
- a “cooling-off period,” effective immediately and lasting until Jan. 31, which is past the holiday peak volumes and high volumes driven by Boxing Day sales and the return of holiday purchases in January (during the cooling-off period, the CUPW would not strike or take any other job action, and Canada Post would not lock out employees);
- to immediately start further mediation with a jointly-agreed, government-appointed mediator until the end of the cooling-off period;
- a special payment of up to $1,000 for CUPW-represented employees paid at the end of January if there is no labour disruption before the cooling-off period ends; and
- to reinstate both collective agreements, including all employee benefits, for the duration of the cooling-off period.
If no agreement was reached by Jan. 31, the mediator would submit recommendations for settlement. If they are not adopted by the parties, binding arbitration would be introduced.
“Canada Post is making this proposal in a spirit of cooperation and in hope of delivering the holidays to Canadians and avoiding the significant financial and economic damage that would be felt if rotating strikes continued,” reads a statement issued by the Crown corporation today.
“With the rotating strikes, resulting backlogs, and the massive Black Friday and Cyber Monday volumes that will arrive within days, we are trying everything we can to work together with the union – urgently – to deliver the holidays to Canadians,” said Jessica McDonald, chair of the board and interim president and CEO of Canada Post. “This proposal also includes a way for the parties to resolve their differences and these negotiations.”
This proposal is open for acceptance until 5 p.m. today.
If the CUPW ends its rotating strikes, the Crown corporation “could begin to reduce the massive existing backlogs that threaten the holiday season, which is critical for countless small businesses, retailers and charities,” Canada Post officials said in a statement issued today.
“There is an urgent need for Canada Post to restore full operations.”
Last week, Canada Post’s Gateway parcel processing plant in Toronto hit a record 260 trailers of parcels and packets waiting to be unloaded. The previous high was reached last November with 220 trailers.
“Clearing the backlog will be much more difficult this time with the shut-downs and the unions not allowing any overtime to be worked by employees. The Vancouver plant is still struggling to keep up with over 100 trailers backlogged after union strikes throughout the weekend,” reads a statement issued by Canada Post last week.
“Without the ability to quickly recover at our facilities, our customers – big and small – are also getting backed up as we are not able to accept our normal trailer volumes. The backlogs are also extending to international mail and parcels entering the country. As a result, we have been forced to advise international posts, including the United States Postal Service, that we are unable to accept incoming items until further notice. We are working to help clear backlogs at Seattle airport and LAX.”
After the proposal deadline later today, Canada Post “would lose its last window of opportunity to clear the backlogs before the oncoming wave of volumes reaches its facilities,” according to a statement issued earlier this morning.
This weekend, after rejecting Canada Post’s previous contract offer, the CUPW countered with its own proposal, including:
- a 2.9 per cent annual wage increase;
- double-time pay for working a sixth or seventh day; and
- new wage advancements for temporary workers.
Canada Post’s previous proposal to CUPW members, which includes 42,000 urban employees and 8,000 rural and suburban carriers, offered:
- pay increases of two per cent a year plus a signing bonus of up to $1,000 for all employees;
- new job security for employees, including rural and suburban mail carriers;
- a new $10 million health and safety fund to pay for joint initiatives to accelerate making the corporation a model organization in safety; and
- a new proposal to pay for overtime, job security and a move to one uniform for all delivery employees.
DEPENDING ON CANADA POST
Canadian businesses, charities and families rely on Canada Post, especially during the holiday season, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this weekend, when he urged both sides “to resolve their differences quickly and reach a deal.”
The Christmas & holiday season is here – and Canadian businesses and families depend on Canada Post. We urge both sides in this labour dispute to resolve their differences quickly and reach a deal.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 18, 2018
Last week, Canada Post asked 190 international partners to stop mail and parcel shipments to Canada after a 30-day backlog stemming from the rotating strikes, which began Oct. 22 and have hit all major Canadian cities and affected nearly all Canadian households.