This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
At 6:10pm (18:10) on Thursday, June 9, 2011, CUPW announced via their web site that Quebec City and Kitchener, Ontario would start a 24 hour work stoppage at 11pm EDT tonight meaning mail services in these two cities will be disrupted all day Friday, June 10. The 13 locals which were out on Thursday would be back to work Friday: Labrador City, NFLD, Bathurst, N.B. (Acadie-Bathurst, CUPW local), Summerside, PEI, Ste-Thérèse, QC, St-Jérôme, QC, Hearst, ON, Brantford, ON, Thunder Bay ON, St. Thomas, ON, Flin Flon, MB, Yellowknife, NWT, Whitehorse, Yukon; and Vernon, B.C.
The union explained that these locals were chosen because both have experienced major cutbacks as a result of CPC management’s cost cutting crusade. Quebec City has witnessed the closure of its mail processing plant and Kitchener has seen the transfer of its parcel operations to Toronto.
Both web sites for CUPW and Canada Post contain new web pages detailing their position for the benefit of the public. Reproduced below are four other pages: one from CUPW as a response to Canada Post’s latest offer and three from Canada Post: one web bulletin and two PDF documents all talking about CPC’s position.
In a nutshell, while CUPW says it is willing to be more flexible in its demands, Canada Post is claiming the two sides are far apart on several key issues. With all the recent talk by the pundits about this strike pushing more people to electronic communication, Canada Post says that CUPW is refusing to discuss any cost-cutting measures which will address the problems of declining mail volumes and electronic substitutions of mail. At the bottom of this article is a letter from Canada Post’s Chief Operating Officer, Jacques Côté, addressed to the employees of the Corporation which ends on an ominous note: If the union does not change their entrenched position, I am afraid we are in for a long dispute.
CUPW Replies to CPC
As well as the above announcement, CUPW published a response to the latest offer from Canada Post.
Pensions: In light of CPC’s rejection of our latest offer, we have withdrawn our proposal. Instead, we are proposing a joint committee that will examine solutions to preserve our defined benefit pension plan. The committee will be empowered to use the services of experts and actuaries. Its report will be presented to the parties at least one year prior to the expiry of the collective agreement.
Short-Term Disability Plan (STD): CPC has proposed the establishment of a committee to examine its proposal for a short-term disability plan and ‘reduce the rate of casual and certified sick leave and special leave’. If the parties cannot reach agreement the issue would be decided by a government-appointed arbitrator who would operate under a mandate totally biased towards the establishment of an STD. We reject any proposal that would permit a third party to eliminate our sick leave and impose a STD. However, we are proposing a joint committee with a much-expanded mandate, including absenteeism harassment, the cause of injuries, and the financial implications of recovery of injury-on-duty payments. Under our proposal the committee would report to the parties at least one year prior to the expiry of the collective and there would be no arbitration process.
Work Measurement System: We are in agreement with the latest proposal of the employer concerning Appendices V and CC. These Appendices, which govern the work measurement systems for Group 2 workers, will be renewed status quo and the date in Appendix CC will be updated. These are very important provisions, which safeguard the work for Group 2 employees. They were major issues in the 1997 strike.
Admail: We have agreed to CPC’s proposal to use engineered standards to calculate the householder time on each route. The weight of the mail, including admail, will be taken into consideration for the calculation of relays and mail mobile stops. However, the Union has made it clear to CPC that this agreement is conditional on CPC addressing our demands for one bundle delivery and percentage of coverage that impact on the health and safety of letter carriers.
Wages: We have maintained our demand for a wage increase of 3.3% in the first year and 2.75% in each of the following three years. For Groups 1 and 2, the wage increases are based on the PO5 maximum rate. For groups 3 and 4, the wage increases are based on the MAM11 maximum rate. We have altered our proposal on wage increments in an effort to stimulate some movement from CPC on wages. All current temporary employees shall be red-circled and when they obtain a regular position their pay will be based on their continuous years of service. We emphasized to Canada Post that any agreement on wages would have to include a cost of living allowance (COLA) that fully protects our wages from inflation.
Internal Staffing: In light of the decision of CPC to withdraw their demand for more part-time employees we have adjusted our proposal. We agree to CPC’s proposal to keep the current percentage of the staffing ratio (Appendix P) at 78% and we are maintaining our proposal to include overtime in the calculation. We are also maintaining our demand to create a regular part-time position whenever a temporary works 1,000 hours or more over a twelve-month period. We are incorporating CPC’s previous offer that would convert part-time positions into full-time when a part-time worker works, on average, 900 hours during a thirty-week period.
Canada Post: web bulletin: Negotiations Stalled
Canada Post has published on their web site as of today June 9: "Labour Negotiations With CUPW Stalled".
* Canada Post and CUPW remain far apart on several fundamental issues.
* The union has rejected major compromises proposed by Canada Post to address sick leave and staffing levels.
* CUPW also refuses to discuss any initiatives that will reduce costs and address the problems of declining mail volumes and electronic substitutions of mail.
* The strike actions being orchestrated by the union are damaging the financial viability of the company.
* Volumes at Canada Post have fallen significantly since the union started rotating strikes on June 3rd.
* This decline in volumes comes at a time when the company is already struggling to address significant business challenges.
* Throughout this round of labour negotiations, Canada Post has made every effort to protect the pay, pension and job security of existing employees.
* To do this the company has proposed adjusting its offering for employees hired in the future. Canada Post hopes to phase-in a new cost structure in the coming years.
* This is a fair and reasonable approach. The package proposed for new employees is superior to the wages and benefits offered by competing delivery companies.
* Canada Post is unable to move or accommodate the union’s demands without jeopardizing the mail service that Canadians rely on.
Canada Post: Document #1
Canada Post and CUPW remain far apart on several fundamental issues. The union today rejected major compromises proposed by Canada Post to address sick leave and staffing levels. CUPW also refuses to discuss any initiatives that will reduce costs and address the problems of declining mail volumes, increasing competition and electronic substitutions of traditional mail. After almost a week, the union has again rejected Canada Post’s generous offer.
Throughout this round of labour negotiations, Canada Post has made every effort to protect the pay, pension and job security of existing employees. To do this the company has proposed adjusting its offering for employees hired in the future. Canada Post hopes to phase-in a new cost structure in the coming years. This is a fair and reasonable approach. It allows the company to provide current regular employees with the following:
* Annual wage increases that will bring the top wage rate to $26 an hour
* Continued job security
* No changes to a fully indexed Defined Benefit pension plan
* Comprehensive health benefits for employees and retirees
* Generous vacation leave that gives employees up to seven weeks off each year
For employees hired in the future, the company has proposed a starting wage of $19 an hour that rises to $26 an hour over seven years; up to six weeks vacation; and a fully indexed defined benefit pension by age 60. The package for new employees is superior to the wages and benefits offered by competing logistic and delivery companies. Equally important, these changes will help Canada Post manage labour costs that represent two-thirds of its revenues.
Every effort has been made to reach a negotiated settlement that is in the best interests of employees, customers and the company. Canada Post again reiterated that it is unable to move or accommodate the union’s demands without jeopardizing the mail service that Canadians rely on.
The strike actions being orchestrated by the union are seriously damaging the financial viability of the company. The rotating strikes have damaged Canada Post and clouded the company’s future. Volumes at Canada Post have fallen significantly since the union started rotating strikes on June 3. This decline in volumes comes at a time when the company is already struggling to address significant business challenges.
Canada Post: Document #2
June 9, 2011
I regret to inform you that, despite our best efforts, talks between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) have not progressed. While the company’s negotiating team has taken several steps to engage the union at the bargaining table, CUPW refuses to address cost issues and is focused on carrying out strike activities.
In our dealings with the union leadership, we have made every reasonable attempt to bring forward solutions that would protect existing employees while ensuring the ongoing financial viability of the company.
Unfortunately, CUPW still has more than 50 demands on the table that would create jobs, increase costs, and jeopardize our collective futures. The union leadership is not willing to make concessions on any initiatives that will reduce costs and address the very real problems of declining mail volumes, increasing competition and electronic substitutions of traditional mail.
In their latest counteroffer, the union has proposed the same solution to many of the difficult issues on the table—create a committee to study and talk about the issue for the coming four years, or until the next time we must negotiate a collective agreement. This is not a practical or beneficial solution. Mail volumes are declining now. We must inject money into the pension now. Action needs to be taken now to ensure that the postal system does not become a burden on the Canadians we serve.
The current situation is challenging for everyone, and made more difficult by the ongoing rotating strikes. The strike actions being orchestrated by the union are hurting the company and jeopardizing our future. As you can see, mail volumes at Canada Post have fallen significantly since the union started rotating strikes on June 3. This decline in volumes comes at a time when the company is already struggling to address significant challenges that include a $3.2-billion solvency deficit in the pension plan.
At this point, we feel that the company has taken every reasonable step it can to try to reach a responsible settlement, one that would allow Canada Post to pay higher wages while closing the pension gap and ensuring that we can reinvest in our business.
If the union does not change their entrenched position, I am afraid we are in for a long dispute.
Chief Operating Officer
Canada Post Corporation
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