Canada Post charged with unfair labour practices
Charges include issueing misleading statements to its employees, disregarding provisions of the Canada Labour Code
OTTAWA, November 6, 2008 — Canada Post is resorting to unfair labour practices in its contract talks with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Union of Postal Communications Employees (UPCE), the union charges.
"Canada Post has issued misleading statements to its employees and is disregarding provisions of the Canada Labour Code," says John Gordon, President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. PSAC is the bargaining agent representing the members of the component UPCE.
The misleading statements identified by Gordon appear in internal communications issued by the employer about a new short-term disability system that the corporation is trying to impose on its employees in order to replace existing sick leave and family leave provisions in the collective agreement.
On its internal website, which is accessible to all Canada Post employees, the employer indicates that changes to the sick leave and family leave provisions in the collective agreement will come into effect on January 1, 2010. This statement ignores the fact that these changes have not yet been negotiated with the union.
Canada Post's proposed changes are highly controversial. Union members provided their bargaining team with an 88 percent strike mandate, largely based on their opposition to these leave proposals.
The union charges that this unilateral imposition of terms and conditions of employment while the parties are still bargaining is a violation of the statutory freeze provisions of the Canada Labour Code and is contrary to the employer's obligation to bargain in good faith and make every reasonable effort to enter into a collective agreement.
The union also charges that the employer is trying to discredit the union by directly contacting UPCE-PSAC members via e-mail and providing misleading and erroneous statements with regards to events at the bargaining table.
Lastly, the union also charges that Canada Post has been withholding financial information specific to their new sick leave proposals despite repeated requests for this information.
The PSAC asked Canada Post to remove from its website all references to the unilateral implementation of the employer's bargaining proposals. The union is also demanding that the employer retract all false information conveyed to the membership in e-mails and to issue a statement on its internal website that reaffirms the employer's commitment to respect all sections of the Canada Labour Code and, in particular, the obligation to bargain in good faith and make every reasonable effort to enter into a collective agreement.
Canada Post's rejection of these requests has prompted the PSAC to file an unfair labour practices complaint with the Canada Industrial Relations Board.
Negotiations between Canada Post and the UPCE-PSAC began June 4, 2008.
Links and sources
PSAC news release: Canada Post charged with unfair labour practices, November 6, 2008
Posted: November 07, 2008
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