Postal union to retailers: 'We're as frustrated as you are' about dispute

Marco Green
November 18, 2018

The prime minister warned last week that his government would look at "all options" to bring the labour dispute to an end if there was no significant progress in Canada Post's contract talks with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

"These offers simply aren't good enough, but we remain at the bargaining table and will continue to negotiate with Canada Post".

Online sales giant eBay has called on the government 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.

The $650-million proposal also includes new job-security provisions, including for rural and suburban mail carriers who have complained about precarious employment, and a $10-million health and safety fund.

Canada Post, meanwhile, has experienced a backlog in parcel deliveries due to the strikes, Hamilton said, which could affect the retail economy if not addressed, particularly on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as well as charities and not-for-profits.

Victoria was among the first cities to see strike action October 22.

"Black Friday and Cyber Monday are critical sales opportunities for Canadian small and micro retailers, particularly those that sell into the US - the largest consumer market in the world", said Andrea Stairs, GM of eBay Canada.

"Should the Canada Post service disruptions continue through this key retail moment, these (smaller businesses) will be seriously disadvantaged in competing for US demand".

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers says that "some movements" have been made towards addressing its key priorities, but there's "a long way to go". Unionized workers have until Saturday to accept the deal.

Postal union members picketed in Toronto on Tuesday for the third time in the past two weeks.

Canada Post said recent major shutdowns of parcel processing in Toronto and Vancouver have created a backlog of almost 500 tractor-trailer loads of parcels and packages that need to be sorted - 375 trailers in Toronto and 120 in Vancouver as of Thursday morning.

The Crown corporation's main sorting plants in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal normally process about one-million parcels daily.

Picket lines were up in Kamloops for two days last week.

If the strike is still ongoing come next week, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales could see that number grow to an unprecedented amount.

The union has been calling for an end to forced overtime, equal benefits for rural and suburban mail carriers, better staffing to accommodate the growth in parcels, and better safety measures to prevent workplace injuries.

Canada Post and CUPW have been negotiating for almost a year, most recently with the help of a federally appointed mediator, whose mandate expired this week.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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