Winnipegs Canada Post employees back on the picket line

Winnipeg\s Canada Post employees back on the picket line
Canada Post issues new offer to employees as eBay calls on Ottawa to end strikes
Canada Post workers in the Halifax area walked off the job Monday but were expected to return to the job Thursday morning. 

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers began rotating strikes in late October, with each strike lasting 24 hours in each local.

But the latest, extended rotating strike is indicative of how talks are going with Canada Post, said the union.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers Nova Local 1st Vice President Mike Keefe issued a release Thursday morning saying the strike action ended as of 8 p.m. Wednesday night. 

"Based on the fact that negotiations have not been going well with Canada Post, the national union felt we needed to put more pressure on Canada Post to negotiate," said Mike Keefe, a retail postal clerk and first vice-president of Nova Local, which represents 600 members.

Other areas, such as Moncton, Toronto and Vancouver, have also had rotating strikes in the last a number of days.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers says its executive is studying the contract offer by Canada Post to determine next steps. 

The Canadian Press reported the Crown corporation's four-year offer includes an annual two per cent wage hike, plus a signing bonus of up to $1,000 per employee. Unionized workers have until Saturday to accept the deal.

Several important issues have not been addressed. There has been some movement on a few issues but we have a long way to go. Obviously this does not constitute a basis for settlement, states the CUPW Wednesday afternoon.

"The strike action is still rotating strikes so it is possible we could be back on the job [Thursday], but we wanted to let everybody know that until further notice there would no mail processed and no mail delivered in HRM," Keefe said.

Keefe, who has worked for Canada Post for 34 years, said the union wants supporters of postal workers to contact the prime minister and their member of Parliament to pressure the Crown corporation to negotiate.

According to Canada Post Spokesman Jon Hamilton there are now more than 260 trailers of parcels and packets waiting to be unloaded the Gateway parcel processing plant in Toronto.

"The union feels that the only action for the government left to take is to introduce back-to-work legislation and that sort of rewards Canada Post for not bargaining seriously for the last 12 months," said Keefe.

The new offer includes a 2 per cent wage hike and some job security provisions. However, the CUPW said that this is not enough.

The major issue for unionized workers, Keefe said, has to do with health, safety, and wage and benefit equality.

Keefe said workers in Halifax have been getting a lot of support from the public, with people honking their horns and bringing food and coffee.

"It used to be when you'd go on the picket line and somebody blew the horn, usually they were giving you the one-fingered salute while they were doing it," Keefe said.

The CUPW has been on strike for just over three weeks creating an historic backlog of undelivered parcels.

"And this time it's much more thumbs up, it's much more positive. And that's why morale is pretty good on the picket line."

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OTTAWA — The union representing striking Canada Post workers says there are positives in the Crown corporations latest contract offers.

But the head of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers says the proposals issued yesterday dont yet constitute finals offers that would put an end to rotating walkouts that are causing delivery delays across the country.

Union national president Mike Palecek wont say whether tentative deals can be reached before the Saturday deadline imposed by Canada Post.

Palecek says the union needs concrete proposals for dealing with what he calls an "injury crisis" at Canada Post — and not just committees designed to punt worker health and safety concerns down the road.

Rotating walkouts continued Thursday at processing plants in Montreal and Winnipeg, as well as at smaller locations in Ontario, British Columbia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has warned his government will take unspecified action to end the rotating strikes if there is no significant progress in the negotiations.

Canada Post said recent major shutdowns of parcel processing in Toronto and Vancouver have created a backlog of nearly 500 tractor-trailer loads of parcels and packages that need to be sorted. The backlog has caused substantial delivery delays.

Online sales giant eBay has called on Trudeau to legislate an end to the labour dispute before the holiday shopping rush hits its first peak later this month with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events.