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CUPW rejects new offer from Canada Post

Pam Johnson

November 16, 2018

The strike by Canadian Union of Postal Workers is beginning to bite as it enters it 4th week. The impact of the strike prompted Canada Post to put forward a slightly sweetened offer earlier this week.

But CUPW said it is not good enough. “These offers are a step in the right direction, however, both the Urban and RSMC offers do not seriously address the major issues of our members – health and safety, equality and creating more full time jobs and less precarious work,” says Mike Palecek, CUPW National President.

A key demand is to improve letter carrier mail sorting. ‘Merging and sorting mail on the street while walking, or in the back of a vehicle is unsafe and will jeopardize the safety of letter carriers’, said Palecek. “Canada Post continues to ignore this key demand. We will not give up.”
The strike which began October the 22nd has been a rotating strike, going from city to city across the country. For the first time, both urban and rural postal workers are bargaining and striking together. CUPW has called for an overtime ban so that no one works more than 8 hours a day. The rotating strikes are beginning to have an effect as mail volumes are beginning to increase for the holiday season and backlogs are building up.

Retail workers on strike

Although, many of CUPW’s demands relate to letter carriers, Canada Post retail outlet workers are on strike as well.  Socialist Worker spoke to workers picketing a downtown Toronto outlet.

SW: What is the work situation like for you?

Picketer: The company always goes back to saying first class letter mail is down, but the business has changed shape. Letter mail is being maxed out to the last gram, so people can keep their costs down. You get hundreds of thousands of pieces of it—it’s heavy, we need the appropriate equipment.

Picketer: Our equipment is so obsolete, injuries are rising, I’m still carrying injuries from years ago pushing old equipment. We are not moving the same kind of mail any more. We are moving TV refrigerators, mattresses, you name it we are getting it. They aren’t little things, you can’t push them in little bath tubs (mail bins).

SW: Why are you willing to strike?

Picketer: We aren’t just workers, we use the mail, too. The CEO has tried to reduce the number of retail outlets, that’s why the franchises are popping up all over. They are not unionized. But, I think people in general want to keep the post office public.
Picketer: Plus they have soaring profits that remain under reported. We are engineered to be profitable. We don’t like disrupting the service, this is not only for the us, the employees, this is to keep to this service going.

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