Canada Post, CUPW reach a tentative agreement

September 1, 2016   ·   0 Comments

Canadians across the country can breathe easy knowing their flyers will arrive on time, and perhaps any other mail they may have been hoping for. Late yesterday evening, Canada Post, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), and the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, released statements announcing a tentative agreement had been reached by the two sides.

“I am pleased that Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers have successfully reached new tentative agreements,” said Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk. “This means that Canadian families and businesses can continue to rely on the postal service to be there for them when they need it.”

She added the tentative agreements were reached voluntarily by the parties and act as an important reminder for everyone that fair, balanced, collective bargaining processes work and are able to achieve real results for both employers and Canadian workers.

“Each side came to this negotiation with a long history of difficult strikes and lockouts,” she said. “The leaders of Canada Post and CUPW met face-to-face for the first time when I invited them to a meeting with Minister [Treasury Board president Scott] Brison on August 19. Both parties took this opportunity to put Canadians first and helped avoid a strike or lockout.”

Although Canada Post announced that CUPW had issued a 72-hour strike notice on Thursday night, Monday, and then Tuesday, it was announced that the parties had agreed on 24-hour extensions to attempt to reach an agreement. If a tentative agreement could not be reached, the strike would have rolled out in phases, beginning with workers in some Provinces/Territories refusing to work overtime.

“Helping these parties in their negotiations is my responsibility as Labour Minister, and Canadians expected our government to do everything we could to help these negotiations succeed,” said Minister Mihychuk. “That is why I closely monitored the situation, reaching out to the two sides over and over, urging them to work together.”

Following the strike notice, some companies, such as E-Bay, sent a plea to the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asking him to prevent any strike action from happening and affecting businesses across Canada. Earlier in the dispute, Mr. Trudeau indicated that he would not step in, citing reports that the back-to-work legislation of the previous strike had overstepped boundaries.

On Friday, William Kaplan was appointed by Minister Mihychuk, alongside Guy Baron and the mediation team, to help both sides hammer out a deal. According to the Minister, throughout the process each outstanding issue was looked at and resolved one point at a time.

“The tentative agreements the parties have reached demonstrate that persistent, positive efforts by our government had an impact, and Canadians will directly benefit.”

In order for the tentative agreements to be finalized, they must be ratified by CUPW members. Currently, there are 50,000 postal workers across the country who will need to ratify the agreements to make them solidified contracts.

“We can’t give details of the agreement at this time, but we’re pleased that our members don’t have to resort to taking job action,” said Mike Palecek, National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

Canada Post stated they were pleased to have reached tentative agreements, which they identified as being short-term contracts. They feel the agreements will avert a work disruption as well as bring a ‘much-needed certainty’ for employees and customers regarding the postal system.

“Canadians can now use the postal system with confidence,” said Canada Post. “This is especially important as Canadian businesses large and small are already planning for the upcoming holiday season.”

The agreements, if ratified, will become two-year contracts, rather than the typical four-year ones negotiated in the past. According to Canada Post, the reason behind the short-term contracts is the issues the Corporation is facing, such as a decline in mail volumes and a growing pension obligation.

“This approach provides more time for thoughtful discussion and analysis on how to best address these issues without the ongoing threat of a work disruption,” explained Canada Post.

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