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

Posted: Jun 29, 2016

The latest updates on the potential Canada Post work stoppage.

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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.

First things first, it’s not looking good.

As of July 5, Canada Post issued a 72-hour lockout notice, making a work stoppage possible as early as Friday.

The Crown corporation said it intends to lock out its workers starting on July 8, after months of negotiations failed to make a labour deal between the postal carrier and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

Said Canada Post, the lockout notice allows the carrier to “take measures that are necessary to respond to the changing business reality.”

To respond CUPW said the corporation is using the lockout notice to drive 50,000 workers “out onto the streets without pay in an effort to impose steep concessions on them.”

Both sides are hopeful they can reach a deal before Friday.

The Crown corporation has been warning for weeks of a possible mail disruption, leading to a lack of mail and parcels in the system that is fuelling anger in the CUPW.

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

President Mike Palecek told the CBC “Canada Post has been out in the media for weeks saying there’s going to be an interruption and now they’re complaining there’s no mail or parcels in the system.”

Currently, the union is accusing the corporation of creating uncertainty, warning the public to avoid the post office.

“We believe they are creating a crisis,” said Palecek.

When will a strike or lockout happen?

A strike or lockout could be called as early as Friday July 8. Canada Post gave 72-hour notice early on July 5.

In the event of a full work disruption, Canada Post will not operate, mail and parcels will not be delivered and no new items will be accepted.

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

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Canada Post employees are facing their fifth work stoppage in just over three decades.

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.

Essential services

The CUPW has guaranteed the delivery of pension and social assistance cheques, in agreements with Canada Post.

Adding to the list, Ottawa has deemed Old Age Security, Canada Pension Plan, Working Income Tax Benefit and the Canada Child Benefit cheques “essential” — even during a labour disruption.

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

Spokesman Jon Hamilton said July 4,  “in the event of a work disruption we would arrange… delivery one day of the month” for all “essential” cheques.

Your bills are still due

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 including Horizon Utilities and Hydro Ottawaare 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.

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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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