Canada Post strike resumes in Hamilton as back-to-work bill gets closer look

Canada Post strike resumes in Hamilton as back-to-work bill gets closer look
Canada Post union threatening members if they accept overtime during strikes
Members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers could be kicked out of the union if they go against CUPW’s pressure tactic of refusing overtime during the rotating strikes.

“Working on your rotation day (RDO) is a violation of the National Overtime Ban. This is a legal strike action. All CUPW members must follow this direction. You will be subjected to Articles 8 charges under the National Constitution.”

Article 8 of the CUPW National Constitution refers to discipline that could be imposed on members who violate national orders such as a national strike, as laid out in section 8.02(e), “if he/she impeded or acted in opposition to a strike or any other collective action of the Union”.

CUPW spokesperson Emilie Tobin wouldn’t comment on the memo, but did say those penalties apply to every member even in times where there is not a labour disruption.

A spokesperson for Canada Post told Global News that the corporation often asks workers to come in at this time of the year on rotation days, in order to clear the backlog of holiday parcels.

We dont see an acknowledgment that there is a Charter breach, he stressed. We dont see the section 1 analysis. There is a brief discussion about the importance of the legislation because its interfering with the publics right to get mail, and businesses are suffering; however, there is no proof provided in the document, or in any of the information provided to us, that that is, in fact, the case.

The Government Is Voting To End The Canada Post Strike Today, Heres When Theyll Be Back To Work

“On weekends during the holidays last year we delivered 3.6 million parcels,” said Jon Hamilton, Canada Post spokesperson.

Hamilton notes that Canada Post had planned to deliver 500,000 parcels across the country this weekend to keep pace. With the labour disruption, however, their projections have them delivering around 30,000 parcels this weekend.

The legislation would give a mediator-arbitrator appointed by the government 90 days to try and reach contract settlements. Failing that, a settlement could be imposed either through a decision from the arbitrator or by choosing from one of the final proposals put forward by Canada Post or CUPW.

Postal workers occupy London facility

Saturday, in a rare weekend sitting, the Senate was told there are are 1,000,000 pieces of mail waiting to be delivered.

Canada Post’s interim president and CEO Jessica McDonald told senators that the backlog could take weeks to clear, pushing them well past January. However, CUPW National President Mike Palecek told the upper chamber it would only take his members one day to get back on track.

Picket lines were up Monday in parts of British Columbia, including Vancouver, Richmond and Surrey, and in parts of Ontario, including Hamilton, Ajax, North York, Pickering and London. Workers also walked off the job in Halifax and Dartmouth, N.S.

Senators spent much of the day grilling witnesses about the rotating strikes and the apparent urgency to pass back-to-work legislation. Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Patty Hajdu and Public Works and Government Services minister Carla Qualtrough were questioned for more than 90 minutes, while McDonald and the CUPW’s national president were both grilled for more than an hour.

Bill C-89, the Canada Post back-to-work legislation, could have gone to a vote on Saturday, but several members of the Independent Senators Group (ISG) worry it might be unconstitutional because it violates the workers rights to free bargaining.

Canada Post said it expected to make about 30,000 deliveries of parcels to Canadians over the past two days — a far cry from the 500,000 deliveries that a company spokesman said was normal for a late-November weekend.

“If senators are being asked to pass legislation that breaches the Charter, we should know that there’s a breach of the Charter and now we’re left to contend with that issue on our own, and it’s unfair,” said ISG member and senator Murray Sinclair.

Unionized Canada Post workers are on strike there — and the union has also shut down operations at the York Distribution Centre in Scarborough. It’s the second time this month job action has affected operations in London.

In 2011, the Conservative government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper passed back-to-work legislation to end the last Canada Post strike, but it was later struck down in the Supreme Court of Canada after being deemed unconstitutional.

Postal workers on the picket line as Senate could pass back-to-work bill

The final vote on C-89 could come Monday afternoon, meaning Canada Post workers could be forced back on the job as early as Tuesday at noon.

Those discussions are expected to resume Monday afternoon and if the back-to-work bill is approved there, the legislation could take effect Tuesday.

Ground rules laid out for striking Canada Post workers | Watch News Videos Online

Members of Canada Post pose with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh for a group photo following news conference Friday November 23, 2018 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld ORG XMIT: ajw109

Bargaining between CUPW and Canada Post continues as the two sides attempt to reach a negotiated settlement.

Postal negotiators still talking as Senate vote on back-to-work bill approaches

Canada Post employees in London have taken over a postal facility to protest the federal government’s decision to table back-to-work legislation that would end nationwide rotating mail strikes.

The union representing workers at the General Motors assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont., are promising “one hell of a fight” after the automaker announced it would close the location along with four other facilities in the U.S. as part of a global reorganization.

More than a dozen striking workers could be seen outside the facility on Waterman Avenue, just west of Wellington Road, holding signs and blocking the entrances to the distribution centre amid rainy and chilly weather.

“Today postal workers have occupied this facility to show the senators their disgruntlement at the current bill senators will be reviewing this afternoon and voting on,” said Karen Finlay-Russell, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers in London, who called the government’s back-to-work bill “unfair.”

Vote today by lawmakers could have Canada Post workers back on the job by noon tomorrow

Finlay-Russell said the main reason for Monday’s demonstration, as well as the ongoing rotating strike, was to improve the working conditions of postal workers.

Postal workers are occupying Postal Depot 5 in London, Ont. in protest of back-to-work legislation proposed by the federal government.

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“If that bill gets passed, the postal workers in London and all across Canada will be going back to work in the same working conditions, with the same collective agreement we have had and that we are trying to get fixed,” she said. “It will force people to work extra hours, beyond what they want to, they won’t have family life, and it’s very unsafe.”

The back-to-work legislation, Bill C-89, was debated in the upper chamber on Saturday after the Liberal government fast-tracked the legislation through the House of Commons.

Postal workers in London have on Monday taken over a distribution facility on Waterman Avenue, west of Wellington Road, to protest against proposed back-to-work legislation. (JONATHAN JUHA, The London Free Press)

A Senate official says final debate on the legislation is expected to begin by mid-afternoon, likely followed by an early evening vote.

The bill could receive royal assent and become law a short time later, which would force striking postal workers back to work by noon on Tuesday.

"When you look at the country in two halves, we think winter will end sooner in Western Canada … whereas farther east, we think while it might not be harsh at all times, it does have some longevity and we're going to be begging for spring by the time we get to early March," said The Weather Network's chief meteorologist Chris Scott.

Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers said their negotiators remained at the bargaining table Sunday, hoping to reach contract agreements in advance of the bill’s passage. Negotiations have been underway for nearly a year, but the dispute escalated more recently when mail carriers and other postal workers launched rotating strikes Oct. 22.

The province will return to a system similar to that in place before 2015, with markups of $1.25 per litre applied to all beer sold in Alberta by producers of more than 50,000 hectolitres per year. Smaller brewers, regardless of province of origin, are able to apply for markups of between 10 and 60 cents per litre.

Those walkouts have led to backlogs of mail and parcel deliveries at the Crown corporation’s sorting plants, with Southwestern Ontario being one of the hardest-hit areas in the country because of a backlog of hundreds of transport trailers sitting idle at Canada Post’s main Toronto sorting facility.

The issue has quickly become tense for many Canadians because Canada Post is crucial to delivering gifts, cards and other mail during the Christmas season.