CUPW appeals for public support as nationwide strike looms
Union arranges to ensure delivery of cheques for pensioners.
by Samantha Bayard, Straight Goods News Staff
A TOP PUBLICVALUES.CA STORY FROM 2011 — OTTAWA, ON Straight Goods News, May 19, 2011: The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) is in negotiations with Canada Post and, if an agreement can't be made in a week, there could be a strike.
While the union is doing its best to reach a settlement, the two sides remain far apart on many issues.
Canada Post, now in its sixteenth consecutive year of profits, is demanding new hires take a wage cut and is trying to impose a new and inferior sick leave plan on all employees. For its part, the union has demands that have yet to be resolved, including important health and safety issues.
"We have one signed agreement; we are aiming for another," said National President and chief negotiator Denis Lemelin of CUPW at a press conference held in Ottawa yesterday. CUPW wants "a decent collective agreement that will preserve good postal service and jobs."
"We are pleased that we were able to make this agreement with Canada Post to deliver pension and social assistance cheques, which shows that we can negotiate solutions and we will continue to try to negotiate solutions."
The union will be able to exercise its right to strike and Canada Post its right to lockout at midnight on May 24. Both parties must provide 72 hours' notice of their intention prior to a strike or lockout.
"We are seven days from the possibility of a strike." Lemelin said in an interview with Straight Goods News, "We need the support of the labour movement, of the population, and all the groups who care about having decent jobs in Canada."
Postal workers will continue to deliver cheques to pensioners and social assistance recipients even in the event of a national strike or lockout.
With the deadline to reach a settlement just a week away, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers wants the public to know that its issue is with the employer Canada Post, not with retirees or those with low incomes.
Denis Lemelin answers questions from Samantha Bayard:
"We want people who receive these cheques to be secure. The fight is not with them, it's with Canada Post," said Lemelin.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers offered to deliver pension and social assistance cheques early on in its negotiations with Canada Post. The details have now been worked out. Volunteers from the union will deliver federal Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, and Child Benefits cheques, as well as provincial social assistance cheques in Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the North West Territories.
Some provincial and territorial governments, including Newfoundland and Labrador, PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, BC, Yukon, and Nunavut, have informed Canada Post that they would opt out of this plan.
"We are pleased that we were able to make this agreement with Canada Post to deliver pension and social assistance cheques," said Lemelin. "The agreement shows that we can negotiate solutions and we will continue to try to negotiate solutions."