OTTAWA — The Canada Post rotating strikes have hit the countrys largest processing centre in Toronto for a second time in three weeks as workers in 11 other southern Ontario communities walked off the job just after midnight.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers says 4,500 Canada Post employees joined picket lines in Toronto at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The union wants Canada Post to provide greater job security through the creation of more full-time positions, arguing that temporary workers are consistently paid less, are not covered by health, dental and sick or disability insurance plans and have no guaranteed hours.
CUPW says that was before workers in Chatham, Clinton, Georgetown, Milton, Orangeville, Port Hope, Stratford, Strathroy, Tillsonburg, Wingham and Woodstock walked off the job early Wednesday.
Canada Post says in a statement that the union continues to escalate their strike activity, adding more communities each day and shutting down major processing centres for extended periods.
Canada Post says there is no indication when that strike will end, adding it will worsen backlogs in mail or parcel deliveries across the country.
"Prior to the unions decision to target Toronto again, the number of trailers full of parcels and packets waiting to be unloaded and processed at a Canada Post facilities sat at over 150," Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton said in a statement late Tuesday.
"The escalating strikes have now shut down our three largest processing facilities in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal up to 48 hours. Combined, those three plants can process a million parcels and packets a day for communities across the country."
The union and the postal service have been unable to reach new collective agreements for two bargaining units after 10 months of negotiations.
In addition to Toronto, CUPW starts strikes in Quebec City, New Brunswick and more Ontario areas
"After … the intervention of two mediators and two weeks of rotating strikes, Canada Posts true colours are emerging," Mike Palecek, CUPW national president, said in a statement Wednesday.
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"The lofty rhetoric of wanting to work with us to reach fair agreements for our workers is turning out to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors."
CUPW has also called on a national overtime ban for both of its major bargaining units, meaning workers will not work more than an eight-hour day and no more than a 40-hour week.
“The Corporation has made significant offers to CUPW that include increased wages, job security, and improved health benefits,” Canada Post said. “We value the relationship with the union and have been able to find common ground on some issues.”
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Postal workers in Kingston walked off the job on Wednesday morning as part of a Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) strike.
Kingston Canada Post employees are taking their first turn on a rotating strike that has been moving through communities across the country as negotiations stall between workers and the Crown corporation.
“After more than 10 months of negotiations, the intervention of two mediators and two weeks of rotating strikes, Canada Post’s true colours are emerging,” Mike Palecek, CUPW National President, said in a news release from CUPW. “The lofty rhetoric of wanting to work with us to reach fair agreements for our workers is turning out to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors. It needs to be said: Canada Post talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk.”
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Mary Whan is the president of CUPW Local 556, which represents approximately 200 postal workers in the Kingston and Gananoque regions.
Mary Whan, president of CUPW Local 556, holds a sign during a strike by Kingston postal workers on Wednesday. (Meghan Balogh/The Whig-Standard/Postmedia Network) KI
After more than ten months of negotiations, the intervention of two mediators and two weeks of rotating strikes, Canada Posts true coulours are emerging, said CUPW National President Mike Palecek in a statement. The lofty rhetoric of wanting to work with us to reach fair agreements for our workers is turning out to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors. It needs to be said: Canada Post talks the talk, but doesnt walk the walk.
“This is important for the workers,” Whan said from the side of Collins Bay Road on Wednesday afternoon, where she and a handful of colleagues picketed. “There’s an issue with forced overtime for the letter carriers. There’s an issue with overburdening of the letter carriers. Everybody deserves to go to work and come home safe.”
CUPW hits Toronto again with rotating strikes, further impacting parcel delivery
According to Whan, more than 30,000 of Canada Post’s 50,000 letter carriers have suffered an injury at work.
“Of those, over 14,000 have suffered a disabling injury,” Whan said. “These are related to injuries on duty.”
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers says its members in that city walked off the job just after midnight as its rotating strikes continue.
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Whan said these issues stem from forced overtime, routes that are too long, and carriers being expected to haul too much weight on their routes.
Toronto is a key processing hub for mail and parcels in Canada. It was shut down by the union for two consecutive days in October and is now idle again due to the unions strikes with no indication of when it will end. This will worsen the backlogs at our facilities and customers should expect delays of several days for mail or parcel deliveries. Prior to the unions decision to target Toronto again, the number of trailers full of parcels and packets waiting to be unloaded and processed at a Canada Post facilities sat at over 150.
“We’re asking to stop the overburdening of the letter carrier,” Whan said. “We all know that letter volumes have gone down and parcel volumes have gone up. These parcel volumes are being piled onto the letter carriers along with their mail. You’re carrying a lot more stuff, and they just keep making the routes longer and longer, so the carriers are out on the street a lot longer. Some carriers work 10 to 12 hours per day.”
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“A lot of them now are way over that limit, with the inclusion of parcels and ad mail,” she said. “When they restructure the routes, they do not take into account ad mail in the weight.”
Kingston was one of 27 communities across Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick to walk out on Wednesday to demand changes to their work terms.
“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,” the release from CUPW said.
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“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,” Palecek said in the release.
According to the release, CUPW members are still without agreements for the Urban Postal Operations and Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMC) bargaining units after almost a year of negotiations.