Bar­gain­ing for the fu­ture

Canada Post of­fice in Goderich gets hit with ro­tat­ing strike for im­prove­ments to ma­jor is­sues

The Goderich Signal-Star - - Year In Review: 2018 - KATH­LEEN SMITH

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.

KATH­LEEN SMITH/GODERICH SIG­NAL STAR

Cana­dian Union of Postal Work­ers mem­bers out­side of the Goderich Post Of­fice on strike, stand­ing with the sup­port from Uni­for mem­bers.

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