What you need to know about possible work stoppage at Canada Post

Posted: Jun 29, 2016 updated June 30, 2016

The CUPW expects that Canada Post management will lock its members out.

Postal workers took part in a 24-hour strike in Calgary in 2011. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is in a strike position starting July 2. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Here is what you need to know about the contract dispute between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal workers.

It’s not looking good

Ninety per cent of union members voted in favour of a strike, and Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra officially rejected a letter requesting a two-week extension on the July 2 strike deadline.

A work stoppage would affect approximately 50,000 mail workers across the country.

When will a strike or lockout happen?

There will be no strike or lockout on July 2, CUPW’s original strike deadline, as neither party involved in the contract dispute has given the required 72-hour notice.

As of Thursday, individuals scheduled to work on Saturday will attend to business as usual. Those workers will continue without a contract as they have since early 2016.

A spokesperson for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers told CBC’s Scott Peterson, “We will not be pulling the trigger on strike notice this Saturday. We plan to remain at the table.”

The CUPW instead expects that Canada Post management will lock its members out.

In the 2011 lockout, Canada Post management gave no notice to workers.

It’s not the 1st time

If a work stoppage occurs, it would be the fifth widespread mail disruption in the past three decades.

canada post 2
Canada Post employees are facing their fifth work stoppage in just over three decades. (CBC Archives)

The last contract dispute, in 2011, resulted in a lockout that lasted three weeks. Postal workers were ordered back when the federal government tabled back-to-work legislation. Strikes were held in 1987, 1991 and 1997.

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has confirmed that it won’t table back-to-work legislation in the case of a strike.

Out of time

Wednesday, June 29, was the last day to ensure delivery by June 30 for local expedited parcels, Xpress post and Priority Shipping.

Mail service is cancelled Friday due to the Canada Day holiday.

Essential services

canada post 3
The CUPW says it wants to continue negotiating a new contract, but officials worry Canada Post could lock workers out. (CBC News)

The only service in the event of a strike will be the delivery of pension and social assistance cheques, which the CUPW has guaranteed in agreements with Canada Post.

The union has also ensured the safety of any live animals caught up in the mailing system at the time of a strike.

For those receiving cheques during the strike, there is a maximum of two days of delivery each month, to be determined by the union.

Strike not an excuse

All utility bills and payments are due on schedule, and late payments will not be accepted as a result of the strike. All individuals are recommended to use online payment systems and e-billing to mitigate any late charges or fees.

Utility Service providers like Horizon Utilities and Hydro Ottawa are guiding customers to use self-serve billing in the case of a strike or lockout.

National corporations including Bell and Rogers have already been notifying customers to use online services to pay their bills, the due dates of which will not be affected by a potential strike.

canada post 4
President and CEO of Canada Post Deepak Chopra rejected a request to extend the July 2 strike deadline, according to the CUPW. (Pawel Dwulit/Canadian Press)

Customers of banks, including ScotiabankBMO and CIBC are being reminded of online banking sites to manage payments, and the Canadian Revenue Agency’s website is available for government dealings throughout the strike period.

Provincial governments including Ontario and  Manitoba are providing information to citizens on government services during a mail strike on their websites.

For more information and updates visit the websites of Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

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