Canada Post’s lockout is a sham

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Postal Workers Confront Canada Post:The Struggle Continues in 2016

A major confrontation is in the making at Canada Post. On the one hand, post office management is seeking to extract a series of far ranging concessions from its workers. On the other, those workers and their union, Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), are not simply prepared to resist these demands, but are determined to use the opportunity to negotiate a new collective agreement to pursue an agenda that advances equality within the workplace and the expansion and renewal of vital public services. The importance of this struggle lies in the fact that its outcome will be of enormous significance not only to the lives of postal workers, but to all public sector workers and indeed to future workers as well.

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How this will play out remains to be seen with the Federal government being something of a wild card, albeit a crucial one given its ability to invoke the law and the power of the state. We can be certain, however, that much will depend on the support those of us who are committed to social justice and equality, expanding public services and spaces and ecological sanity, can provide to CUPW.

In this respect, the grassroots coalitions of union, student, anti-poverty and environmental activists that have already sprung up in cities such as Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Winnipeg, Toronto and Vancouver are encouraging, and no doubt there will be many others. However, it will be necessary to engage the major public and private sector unions with their much greater resources and potential mobilizing capacities – all of whose members have a real stake in the outcome. This is so clearly the case for unions in the federal public sector whose members will be next in line if Canada Post succeeds in imposing a two-tier pension system on CUPW. But it is also the case that unions in the private sector, many of whom are struggling to overcome the divisiveness created by having accepted two-tier wage and benefit systems, have a real stake in the outcome. A CUPW defeat would only strengthen the forces pushing them into the race to the bottom which is inimical with their members’ interests....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Rally for pensions, pay equity and sustainable public services

MONTRÉAL - Canada Post is not taking key negotiations issues seriously. CUPW is calling on the Liberal government to use its considerable influence to ensure, as its shareholder, that Canada Post is onside with the federal government’s objectives to improve pensions, pay equity and the public postal service.

Who: Canadian Union of Postal Workers and friends

What: Rally for pensions, pay equity and sustainable public services

When: Saturday, August 6, 2016 at 1pm EST

Where: Montreal at the Prime Minister’s constituency office

There will be a march from Parc Saint-Alphonse (corner of Émile-Journault Ave and Chateaubriand Ave.) to Justin Trudeau’s office at 529 Jarry Street East, Suite 302

Buses will depart from Ottawa and Quebec (details to follow)

Why: Instead of negotiating with postal workers and using their experience to improve the post office, Canada Post is dragging its heels and sticking to their Conservative-era agenda. It’s time to ask the Prime Minister to tell Canada Post to start negotiating now.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..from the montreal demo. notice the stop harper sign..still. Wink

Friends of Public Services

1000+ posties and allies take the streets in Justin Trudeau 's Montreal riding to demand pay equity, retirement dignity and expanded services.



epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Time To Intensify

Friday August 5 2016

As we prepare to attend rallies across the country over the next few days to invite the Liberal Government to get involved and tell Canada Post to negotiate seriously, it is time to plan our next move. It is time for our actions to intensify. Canada Post management must get the message that we are, and have always been, ready to sit down and hammer out the terms and conditions for our new collective agreements and we expect the same from them.

Beyond August 6

On August 6, we will be delivering our message to the Government but what happens after that? We cannot simply sit back and wait. We must continue to put pressure on Canada Post on a daily basis. The negotiation committee will continue to be ready each and every day to have serious discussions focused on resolving the many outstanding issues.

At the Tables

There has not been much to report in the way of progress at the tables which is the reason we all need to be heard loud and clear. There have been some discussions with Canada Post but the end result is the same – little or no progress. There has definitely been no progress on the key issues. We are determined to get this process moving towards a settlement and when the movement happens, we will be ready.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..what a great little apt this is.

Send a letter to the editor

As you read this, the government’s task force is putting together a list of “viable options” for the future of Canada’s postal service.

While Canada Post’s Harper-appointed CEO, Deepak Chopra, pushes to cut services, we’re proposing a different vision.

It’s time to use our postal network to help build Canada’s next economy, with postal banking, green infrastructure, and community services.

We all know that politicians read their local papers. Enter your postal code to publish a letter in your local newspaper now.

Unionist

Disgusting. I don't like to be critical of unions, but this gang chickened out and sold out. Easy to sell out future workers. They don't have a vote.

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/canada-post-arbitrator-rural-1.3722891]A... sides with Canada Post in contract negotiation with rural postmasters[/url]

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Union president Brenda McAuley said in a telephone interview from Ottawa that the arbitrator's decision is a "really sad day for the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association."

Duhhh.

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She said that new members in her 114-year-old union won't have the security of a defined benefit pension. She also lamented having one pay scale for new hires and another for established employees.

Oh yeah, lament away, sister. You gave up free collective bargaining and put your fate, voluntarily, in the hands of an arbitrator. The fking government didn't even have to force you to do that. What a disgraceful betrayal.

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"We went to final-offer arbitration because we did not want to sell out the next generation of Canadian workers," McAuley said.

What Orwellian cynicism. You went to final-offer arbitration because you were scared that your members might not democratically vote, in a ratification, to sell out their children.

CUPW is still standing strong. They need all the support they can get. This act of cowardice and treason will only help give the government an extra excuse to legislate if the time comes.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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..what a great little apt this is.

Does it send an electronic mail to the editor(s)?  Or a paper one?

If it's electronic then there's some irony here.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..that would have been an irony 15 years ago..maybe even longer than that. but not today. postal workers have understood that and for many years have asked that canada post expand into those technologies.

mark_alfred

Quote:

..what a great little apt this is.

Send a letter to the editor

Yes, that was great.  Here's my letter (I mostly copied their points, admittedly)

mark_alfred's letter wrote:
Dear Editor,

The government is currently conducting a public review of Canada Post.  This is the moment for people to speak up about what we want from our postal service.

We’ve had years of service cuts and increased prices.  It’s time to try something different.

The post office can deliver more than mail.  The government should adopt the Delivering Community Power proposal, which calls for postal banking, services for seniors, and coast-to-coast charging stations for electric cars, among other ideas.

I strongly support adopting postal banking in Canada.  Canada’s big banks took in $35 billion in profits last year — while cutting jobs and raising service fees at the same time.  I feel Canada Post could provide a much needed alternative to the big banks.  Many communities across Canada have post offices, but no bank branches.  A postal bank is an affordable, local solution that can also invest in the community.  Dozens of countries around the world, including New Zealand, France and Italy, have profitable and successful postal banking services.  There’s no reason why we can’t too.

Canada Post is the country’s largest retail and logistics network -- and as a Crown Corporation, all of us own it.  Contrary to popular belief, our postal service is profitable, and has been for most of the past two decades.  It's a great service that could become even better.

Unionist

Great letter, mark_alfred!

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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..that would have been an irony 15 years ago..maybe even longer than that. but not today. postal workers have understood that and for many years have asked that canada post expand into those technologies.

And Canada Post did.  Remember ePost?  Actually, it's still around.

Anyone here use it?  It's apparently free to use, though, so unless they charge a fee to companies, I don't see how it's a new revenue stream.

mark_alfred

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Great letter, mark_alfred!

Thanks!  Anyone who likes, feel free to copy it (to save having to do the work of stringing the points together).  The app finds local papers based on your postal code.  I'm in TO, so for those outside of TO, it would go to different papers. 

http://www.deliveringcommunitypower.ca/letter

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..from the aug 20 rally in wpg

Liberals, Tell CPC To Negotiate Now

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Friday August 19

This morning we met with representatives of the Federal Government and Canada Post management to discuss the current state of negotiations. The government was represented by Treasury Board President Scott Brison and senior officials from Labour Canada and Treasury Board. CPC was represented by CEO President Deepak Chopra and other senior representatives. Representing CUPW was National President Mike Palecek, 1st National Vice-President Jan Simpson, and both CUPW chief negotiators George Floresco (also 3rd National Vice-President) and Sylvain Lapointe (also National Director, Metro-Montreal  Region).

Major Issues Discussed – No Agreements Reached

 The meeting was conducted respectfully however no decisions were taken and no agreements were reached. Major points made by the union representatives included:

 The Union is prepared and determined to negotiate collective agreements without any form of compulsory arbitration. We fought for our constitutional right to free collective bargaining and we will not relinquish our rights.

  • The Union will maintain a defined benefit pension for all current and future regular employees. We believe that Canada Post should not be subject to a solvency test. This has been the position of CPC and is the position of all CPC unions.
  • The Union is ready to negotiate equity for RSMCs. The issue is not complicated. RSMCs do the same work as letter carriers and should have the same wages, rights and benefits.
  • The Union is prepared to negotiate all other issues. We have already come to agreements which will enable CPC to increase its market share in the parcels and direct mail businesses. However, Canada Post management has been completely intransigent, refusing to even negotiate non-monetary issues such as RSMC seniority or health and safety issues.
  • We prefer to reach an agreement without a strike and we have never made any threats or ultimatums....

Unionist

epaulo13 wrote:

 The Union is prepared and determined to negotiate collective agreements without any form of compulsory arbitration. We fought for our constitutional right to free collective bargaining and we will not relinquish our rights.

Good! Other unions take heed (I won't name the perps).

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The Union will maintain a defined benefit pension for all current and future regular employees. We believe that Canada Post should not be subject to a solvency test. This has been the position of CPC and is the position of all CPC unions.

That of course would solve Canada Post's pension problem - but I can't see the federal government ever agreeing with this, at least, not just for Canada Post. And it's a two-edged sword, because we don't want to go back to the bad old days (pre-1991) of huge unfunded liabilities, creating real risks for workers in the event of insolvency. Don't know what the solution to this is, except the big-picture solution of expanding the Canada/Québec pension plans to the point where workplace plans become as close to unnecessary as possible.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Canada Post CEO “Gone Rogue”: Deepak Chopra Refuses Minister Of Labour’s Extension

Last night, the federal Minister of Labour MaryAnn Mihychuk requested that the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and Canada Post management both agree to a 24-hour extension of timelines, in order to allow for the negotiation of a longer extension and ongoing talks.

“This was an eleventh-hour intervention from the government to avoid a dispute and of course we said yes. From the outset, our goal has been a negotiated collective agreement without service disruptions,” said CUPW national president Mike Palecek.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Canada Post, whose President and CEO Deepak Chopra refused the Minister’s request, forcing the union into a labour dispute.

“For months, Chopra has been trying to provoke a disruption in the middle of the government’s review of Canada Post.  Unfortunately, Mr. Chopra’s latest actions leave us no choice but to file a 72-hour notice of job action,” said Palecek.

Canada Post set the stage by filing for conciliation very early in the process. But over the past months, management has barely negotiated, moving very little on its major demands for massive cuts and a two-tier system for new hires.

In the notice it sent to management, CUPW listed its anticipated job actions but has stopped short of walking off the job.

“We are still willing to withdraw our notice if Canada Post agrees to an extension.  Our goal remains a freely negotiated collective agreement, without disruption to the public service that we proudly provide to the people of this country,” said Palecek.

mark_alfred

http://rankandfile.ca/2016/08/25/why-trudeau-is-no-friend-of-labour/

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The Trudeau government has done next to nothing in clearing out the Harper-appointed management at Canada Post. They sent Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra a letter asking him to resign shortly after the election. Chopra said no. The Liberal reply to a request for a resignation? Nothing. Were they even serious or was this some hollow gesture to placate labour and people fighting to defend our public postal service? Now Canada Post management has instigated a protracted labour dispute, to wreck the pensions of postal workers when there is absolutely no financial reason to do so, and to ensure that the government’s review of the public service and restoration of home mail delivery is derailed through this nastiness.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is also seeking to resolve a gender pay equity problem at Canada Post. Rural Suburban Mail Carriers, who are predominantly women, are paid far less than their urban mail counterparts and management is refusing to budge. Trudeau, the supposed feminist, has said and done nothing about this issue.

If the Liberals had cleaned house, we likely wouldn’t be in this mess.

 

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
If the Liberals had cleaned house, we likely wouldn’t be in this mess.

Do we want mass firings of civil servants every time we change governments?

Unionist

There's an announcement this evening of tentative agreements reached between CUPW and Canada Post. That's great news (imho) - settlement without legislation or binding arbitration. The agreements are of course subject to membership ratification, and the details have yet to be announced. I'm just so pleased that this was achieved through free collective bargaining, whatever it is.

Unionist

[url=http://www.cupw.ca/en/details-tentative-agreements]Details of Tentative Agreements[/url]

Two-year collective agreement, no change to the pension plan for new hires, and establishment of a "pay equity committee" which will render a final decision within 19 months. Plus modest wage increases, and other improvements.

Tough compromise to reach, but an important contribution to the workers' movement as a whole, IMHO, for these reasons among others:

1. They refused the temptation to sell out pensions of the "unborn".

2. They refused the cop-out route of binding arbitration (unlike the postmasters' union, which ended up with DC pensions for new hires).

3. Tactically, they resisted the other easy cop-out of calling a high-profile strike and helping to "justify" back-to-work legislation - and they manoeuvred Canada Post out of their lockout threat, which is what led to legislation last time (2013).

In short, they declared that they would defend free collective bargaining no matter what - and they delivered. Whether the settlement is ratified or not is up to the members. But we should all thank the workers and their union for, once again, leading the way and showing that resistance is possible.

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i believe it is good news as well and i agree on your take unionist. i very much like the 2 year contact and with the continued campaing for expanded services this is a bit of light on the future.

Unionist

Another great statement by CUPW putting these events in context and mapping out the ongoing struggle for the next two years and more. I'm quoting the whole thing (so sue me!):

[url=http://www.cupw.ca/en/it%E2%80%99s-not-over]It's not over![/url]

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While we have reached tentative agreements for both the urban and RSMC bargaining units, these are short-term collective agreements and we will be back at the bargaining table next year.  Many of our issues remain unresolved.  One year from now, we will be heading back to the bargaining table to finish the job. There is much work to be done.

 Pay Equity

 Over the next 13 months, we will be working on a third-party pay-equity report regarding RSMCs. We are confident of what this report will say: that RSMCs make 30% less than their urban counterparts for doing work of equal value. This report will be immediately followed by negotiations to implement the findings. Canada Post will not be able to play games with the results; if they do, we will strike.

 Postal Banking

 The results of the government’s review of Canada Post are expected to be out in April. We will have to work hard this fall to ensure that the government gets the message: we want to expand services for the public. Postal banking is one of many services Canada Post could be providing.  It is something that is done around the world and urgently needed in this country.

 Pensions

 While we have been successful in maintaining our defined benefit pension plan for all current and future permanent workers, we can be sure that the boss will come after it in the next round. The solvency test is nothing but a bogeyman that is used to extract concessions from workers. This test needs a major overhaul. It makes very little sense for a crown corporation to be subject to this test to begin with.

 Prepare for battle

 Many of our issues are unresolved.  Members should not believe for a second that we will win without a fight. The next year and a half will decide the future of the post office for decades. Next year, we will return to the bargaining table, knowing the results of the government review of Canada Post, pay-equity report in hand, and our right to strike intact. I would strongly encourage members to start putting money aside and preparing for the struggle ahead.

 The Struggle Continues!

Mike Palecek

National President

quizzical

Mr. Magoo wrote:
Quote:
If the Liberals had cleaned house, we likely wouldn’t be in this mess.

Do we want mass firings of civil servants every time we change governments?

this happens at the municipal level all the time. it's bad for the community.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..from a month ago

Canada Post can be the hub of our next economy

Our recent meeting with the Federal Environment and Climate Minister Catherine McKenna last week allowed the four Atlantic Federations of Labour to have frank and productive discussions about the enormity of climate change.

In our presentation we tackled many subject areas. In our province we do have a number of challenges and we talked about what can we realistically accomplish. I don’t think we need to twin highways before we actually have a transportation plan in place for the province. We need rail and public transit, but we also have before us a huge opportunity and it makes common sense and will help build the economy, keep jobs here and help with our carbon footprint – our post offices. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has done some amazing work on innovative ways to accomplish this. Check out deliveringcommunitypower.ca for more info on CUPW’s on how we can get to a 100% renewable economy that addresses inequality, puts power in our hands and improves out lives.

How can we reconfigure that service?  Instead of cutting services, let’s look at building services.  What if our postal service with its vast physical infrastructure and millions of daily human interactions, could offer us something completely different? What if the post office could play a central role in building our next economy—an economy that is more stable, more equal, and less polluting?...

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Canada Post Review Task Force Releases Discussion Paper on Future of Canada Post!

The Canada Post Review task force that was set up earlier this year to identify options for the future of Canada Post has released its discussion paper. The paper includes possibilities such as: 

  • Reducing delivery frequency
  • Converting home delivery to community mailbox delivery
  • Charging people for door-to-door delivery
  • Changing the moratorium on post office closures in rural and small towns
  • Becoming an Internet service provider, but just at post offices
  • Using post offices as community hubs
  • Reviewing labour and pension costs
  • Providing a marijuana distribution service
  • Providing postal banking on a very limited scale

The discussion paper’s section on postal banking takes a very one-sided and narrow view. It claims that full-scale postal banking is unlikely to succeed within the Canadian context but says that a partnership model with banks or credit unions could be considered. The paper also says “there may be an opportunity…for corporate post offices in select under-served remote communities in line with the Task Force’s “hub” option of offering services in select communities provided financial institutions have an interest in this initiative.”

CUPW will vigorously oppose all measures that undermine public postal service and jobs.

You can see the whole discussion paper by going to http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/examendepostescanada-canadapostreview/rapport-report/consult-eng.html.

Next steps

On September 26th, a parliamentary committee will begin consulting with Canadians on postal service and the options identified by the task force. There will be online and cross-country parliamentary consultations. The committee will make recommendations to the government by year’s end.

For additional information on the consultations, go to http://www.cupw.ca/en/phase-2-canada-post-review-begins-fall.

CUPW strongly believes that Canada Post is a public service that can do more with its vast network. In the weeks to come, it will be up to us, our allies and the public to convince the parliamentary committee looking at Canada Post to NOT shut the door on our post office’s potential! We will be urging the committee to recommend against further cuts in favour of new services that generate revenues and provide a better, greener, public postal system for everyone.

What can you do?

There’s a lot at stake. Please participate in the consultations being conducted by the parliamentary committee starting later this month. You can learn more by going to: http://www.cupw.ca/en/campaigns-and-issues/government-review-canada-post. Please encourage friends and family to participate too.

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