Burlington monitoring postal workers rotating strikes to minimize potential impact on residents

Burlington monitoring postal workers\ rotating strikes to minimize potential impact on residents
No more overtime say postal workers
There are new Canada Post strikes to mark the start of November in Regina, Hamilton, Ont., North Bay, Ont., La Mauricie, Que., and the Outaouais on Thursday.

Meanwhile, postal workers represented by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers are still on strike in Ottawa as well as the British Columbia cities of Campbell River, Courtenay, Nanaimo and Port Alberni.

Canada Post services and operations continue as normal in locations that aren’t participating in job action. However, in its latest update on Thursday morning, the corporation continued to tell customers to expect days-long delays as strike activity continues across the country and mail backlogs increase at its three largest processing facilities.

Local CUPW president William Johnson said members are frustrated with how long negotiations are taking.

“Trailers full of parcels, packets and mail waiting to be unloaded and processed are backlogged in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, with more arriving,” the online update said. “Once processed, these items have to be delivered without overburdening our delivery employees.

He said one of the biggest issues is lack of equality for mail carriers in rural and suburban areas. 

Members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) have been striking on a rotating basis since Oct. 22, in an effort to put pressure on Canada Post as the two parties try to negotiate new collective agreements for unionized urban and rural workers.

"They don't get paid for hours worked, so if they have a route that's evaluated at six hours and they work nine to 10 hours, they're only paid for their six hours," he said, explaining that urban workers are entitled to overtime right now.

Those striking workers in the national capital were joined on Thursday morning by unionized employees in the Outaouais region in western Quebec, which includes Gatineau. The Outaouais-Québécois union local kicked off its job action at 5 a.m. ET.

Wednesday's strikes on P.E.I., in the Renfrew area of eastern Ontario and in other Quebec communities such as St-Jérôme and Valleyfield have ended.

Unionized Canada Post workers in Arnprior-Renfrew ended their one-day strike on Thursday morning, but postal workers in Ottawa who walked out on Wednesday morning continue to staff the picket line.

These rotating strikes started Oct. 22, with CUPW's approximately 50,000 members trying to also improve job security and health and safety.

Canada Post said it has made “significant offers” to the union, including “increased wages, job security, and improved benefits,” without asking for any concessions.

Canada Post has said it remains committed to reaching a negotiated settlement, while at the same time making every effort to minimize the impact of any disruption on the customers it serves.

The union, which represents 50,000 postal employees, says major issues of concern in the negotiations are members’ working conditions, job security and forced overtime, among others.

Thursday also marks the start of a national overtime ban, according to the union, which is asking its members to work no longer than eight hours a day and 40 hours a week.

The union’s senior leadership continues to choose when and where rotating strikes will start and stop, a union spokesperson confirmed on Thursday morning.

"We can show Canada Post just what it's like to run the postal service without relying on overtime — it can be done, and it can create jobs," the union said in a news release.

“We have a health and safety crisis at Canada Post. We've seen injury rates skyrocket. This has got to be fixed,” he says “Management refuses to address the urgent health and safety issues that have left postal workers the most injured group of workers in the federal sector. And the wage increases Canada Post so proudly talks about are well-below the expected inflation rate. These offers are far from significant to us. We will stay on the picket line as well as the bargaining table until we reach fair agreements for all our workers.”

"During the strike period, Canada Post will try to use overtime to clear backlogs and undermine the effectiveness of our strike action. We won't co-operate with that."

It is a priority for CBC to create a website that is accessible to all Canadians including people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive challenges.

Canada Post, in a statement about the rotating strikes, says, "At this point, there is a backlog of over 150 trailers in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal of items waiting to be unloaded and processed, with more arriving every day.

NEWS RELEASE CANADIAN UNION OF POSTAL WORKERS ************************* OTTAWA – Effective Nov. 1 at 12:01 a.m., the Canadian Union of Postal Workers is calling a national overtime ban for both of its major bargaining units at Canada Post. Postal workers, no matter what their job at Canada Post, will not work more than an eight-hour day and not more than a 40-hour week.

Postal workers will refuse overtime, including letter carriers – who have experienced so much forced overtime that some of them are not used to seeing their families before dark.

“We’ve had it. Overburdening, overtime and overwork are all major issues in this round of bargaining. Until Canada Post negotiators’ address it, we can solve it for ourselves in the meantime.” said CUPW National President Mike Palecek. “This is a health and safety issue rooted in poor staffing. We refuse to be injured any longer by a management team that cares more about the bottom line than sky-rocketing injury rates.”

One of the expired collective agreements enabled Canada Post to give mandatory overtime to some postal workers, including letter carriers. Canada Post management has been driving up risks to workers’ physical and mental health by abusing that option.

With the contract no longer in effect, postal workers have the right to refuse the overtime while demanding proper staffing and overtime procedures.

Rates of disabling injuries have been climbing, and postal workers are now the most injured group of workers in the federal sector, five times the average rate of the rest of federal sector, and more than double that of longshore workers, the next most frequently injured.

“As our routes get longer and longer, our bodies are breaking down.” He continued “This ends today."