Bargaining for the future
Canada Post office in Goderich gets hit with rotating strike for improvements to major issues
Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) gave notice to Canada Post on Oct. 16 that it would start rotating strikes on Oct. 22.
Last week the union members in Goderich locked the doors and took to the pavement outside the East Street office in protest.
After nine months of negotiations, Canada Post made its first offer to the union on Sept. 7. The union countered on Sept. 14 and Canada Post did not respond for almost four weeks.
Making no moves to improve major issues for postal workers, the offer from Canada Post, according to the striking union members, shows no progress for health and safety, gender equality, work-life balance and preserving full time jobs.
Debbie Littlechild, a letter carrier for Canada Post in Goderich spoke to the Signal Star while striking out front of the office on East Street.
“Striking with us [today] is Listowel, Clinton, Wingham, small offices joining and Toronto,” said Littlechild.
“It’s an interruption of services so that hopefully we can start bargaining again. We would like to get back to steady work, we would like a contract.”
According to a CUPW statement, the postal workers need agreements that are fair and respectful. Overwork and overburdening have caused workers to be injured and according to CUPW workers are forced to work overtime hours.
After speaking with union members, particular facts were not disclosed on injuries that have happened to employees.
CUPW’s has said that workers are being forced to work 12-hour days, delivering mail well into the evening and night, stating that, “the way postal workers are treated is unacceptable and things need to change.”
CUPW provided the Signal Star with a report on injury facts at Canada Post, which states that one out of every 12 workers at Canada Post experienced a disabling injury in 2017. It was not made clear to the Signal Star what those injuries were.
In addition, the report states that 25 percent of letter carriers experienced injury in 2017.
Striking members are bargaining for full equality. Not just for pay, but guaranteed work hours, job security and health and safety in addition.
“We would like equality. We would like all people who are doing the same job, to get the same pay. Safety – they are forcing overtime and we would like people to not have to work in the dark,” explained Littlechild.
“We would like to see more people hired so that we are doing eighthour shifts again instead of being forced to do 12. Our pay isn’t bad but they are offering less than the cost of living. We would like to see cost of living.”
CUPW and local striking union members stated that they are striking and bargaining for the future – for members and for the communities who rely on postal service.
As postal disruptions will impact communities on a rotating basis during the strike, CUPW says they have given Canada Post the required 72-hours to meet and settle.
“We would love to get back to negotiations. No mail is being delivered. Not today and we don’t know if we are on strike tomorrow,” Littlechild said.
“We would like a fair contract.”
When Canada Post comes back to the table and gives CUPW a reasonable offer, and addresses the things that they have outlined, CUPW stated they are more than happy to get back to full time work.
According to a statement made by Canada Post, they remain committed to the bargaining process. The statement expressed concerns on making every effort to minimize the impact of the rotating strikes. Canada Post warns customers across the country to expect delays.
Canada Post has also stated that they value the relationship with the union and are committed to work together to address employees’ workload concerns, including pay equity for rural employees.
For updates on the CUPW strike negotiations with Canada Post, concerned residents can go to canadapost.ca/update for latest developments.
Local striking postal workers, such as Littlechild in Goderich, stated that postal workers are eager to continue to work after a fair contract has been agreed upon. The postal workers in Goderich were on rotating strike last week. It is uncertain if they will be hit again and have to continue the strike. As the Canada Post strike continues, it is uncertain on if rotating strikes will impact Goderich again.
Canadian Union of Postal Workers members outside of the Goderich Post Office on strike, standing with the support from Unifor members.