Monday, July 4, 2016

Postal strike could happen as soon as Thursday

Canada Post logo

Canadian postal workers may strike or be locked out as early as Thursday this week, July 7. According to the Canada Labour Code, no strike or lockout action can occur unless one of the parties has provided a 72 hour notice. At the time this was written neither the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) or Canada Post Corporation (CPC) has issued such a notice. In anticipation of a possible postal strike the Alberta Government issued a press release outlining contingency plans to ensure that Albertans can get access to government services in the event a strike occurs (see below for more details).

From the Alberta Government press release:

A complete list of affected programs and the contingency plans will be posted on The webpage will be updated regularly.

Departments are working with clients in preparation for a possible disruption.

Here are some examples of how people might be affected:

Income support and AISH cheques
  • Plans are in place to make sure that Human Services clients receive their cheques. Clients can call their worker for specific information or visit theHuman Services website for general information. 
  • Clients who get cheques through the mail are encouraged to arrange for direct deposit.
  • Albertans who have questions about impacts from other Human Services programs can call their worker or contact the Alberta Supports Contact Centre at 780-644-9992 in the Edmonton area or 1-877-644-9992 toll-free.
Health Care Cards
  • Arrangements can be made to pick up Alberta Personal Health Cards at Alberta Health, 10025 Jasper Avenue in Edmonton. Contact Alberta Health for areas outside Edmonton.
  • If a patient needs health services and does not have a personal health card or number, a physician can check validity and eligibility by contacting Alberta Health or accessing Alberta Netcare.
  • If a resident only requires their personal health number, they can contact Alberta Health.

High School Transcripts
High School students can use the unofficial transcript available through as a temporary substitution for the official transcript. Post-secondary institutions and other organizations can contact the Transcripts and Diplomas office to verify the information on your unofficial transcript.


Canada Post press release, July 2, 2016:

Canada Post is extremely disappointed with the response from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) at the bargaining tables. Late Friday evening, CUPW tabled offers that would add at least $1 Billion in new costs over the term of a new collective agreement while rejecting the Corporation’s approach to address the long-term issues with the employee pension plan.

On Saturday, June 25, 2016, Canada Post tabled offers designed to help bring a quick resolution to the negotiations and end the uncertainty that is negatively impacting our customers and our employees. They included modest and manageable wage increases for all employees and no changes to the pension for all employees in the plan. To do that, the Corporation made it clear it required a new pension approach for new hires. Two other unions at Canada Post have already agreed to this approach to help address the long term challenges of the pension plan, which is facing a $6.2 Billion solvency deficit.

In response, CUPW returned to the table six days later with counter offers which completely ignore the pension issue, as well as the other significant challenges faced by the postal service. In their offer, the union rejected any changes to the pension, more than tripled the Corporation’s proposed wage increases and demanded the immediate reinstatement of several changes agreed to in the last round of negotiations in 2012.

While the parcel business has been improving in the last few years, the corporation continues to face the impact of a decade of decline in Lettermail which continues today. Last year alone, the Corporation delivered 1.6 Billion fewer pieces of mail than it did in 2006. We need to work together to address these challenges and grow the parcel business, not saddle our customers with more than a $1 Billion in new costs. Canada Post continues to remain at the table to negotiate an agreement that is reasonable and affordable.

Canadian Union of Postal Workers press releases, June 2 and 3, 2016:
Service Expansion Major Issue At Negotiation

For many years, CUPW has consistently taken the position that the best response to falling mail volumes is to expand into new services which meet the needs of the public and add revenues for Canada Post. Our view is that CPC should expand its existing services such as parcel delivery and direct mail, as well as initiate new services such as postal banking. With the largest vehicle fleet and the most extensive network of retail facilities in the country, there is great potential for growth. Here is how the issues stand at negotiations:

Parcel Delivery (Urban Unit): We have proposed a model for seven (7) day parcel delivery operation including weekends, mornings and evenings. The model includes a new job title and job description for Part-Time Delivery Relief Employees. We are optimistic for an agreement on this issue.

Admail (Urban Unit): We have reached agreement on changes to the sizes and weights of householder mail. This includes an increase in the time allowances and changes in the per-piece payments, including increases and decreases. (This agreement is conditional on an overall settlement).

Appendix “T”: Appendix “T”, in the urban agreement, is designed to promote new services. The employer wants to eliminate it. Some of the issues that we have proposed to be referred to the Appendix “T” Committee are associated with the introduction of postal banking, letter carrier services to the elderly and environmental issues.

Retail Outlets: The current collective agreement requires Canada Post to keep open a minimum of 493 retail counters. CPC wants to eliminate this protection so that they can close all of the outlets if they want. This would eliminate important services to the public and destroy over 1200 full-time day shift positions. Instead of cutbacks, CUPW wants to expand services at CPC’s retail outlets by providing banking and financial services, locating charging stations for electric vehicles and promoting local community activities.

Expansion and Growth: A Reasonable Approach

CUPW’s proposals are completely in accordance with the comments of Judy Foote, Minister Responsible for Canada Post who has stated the Canada Post Review should “look at other avenues of business that could possibly be explored that will enable Canada Post to have more revenue to carry out its responsibility to deliver mail”.

Canada Post Makes Another Bogus $1 Billion Claim

CPC has come out with a claim that our proposals will cost $1 Billion. They seem to do this every time they are not serious about negotiating a settlement. In 1978 they issued a press release that the CUPW demands would cost $1billion, and that was when we only represented 22,000 Group 1 workers. In 1991 they issued a press release that CUPW and CPC were $1 Billion apart. On May 24, 2011 they issued a press release stating that CUPW’s demands would add $1.4 Billion to CPC’s costs, and that did not include RSMCs. Today they issued a press release stating our demands would cost $1 Billion. The pattern is the same. Announce a big number without ever first reviewing the numbers with the union. The objective is always the same, to get a headline instead of negotiating. We have requested that CPC explain their numbers. They have not replied.

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