There’s a strong possibility that postal workers could be on strike or locked out by the beginning of July. Canada Post and the Canadian Postal Service Union remain ‘very far apart’ as the deadline for a renegotiated labour agreement looms.
Tami Brushey is the President of Prince George’s local union of Canadian Postal workers. She says they’ve been conducting strike votes over the past few days, just in case.
“Postal workers want to work, the last thing we want to do is strike but we have to take the vote to be prepared. Canada Post has already told the union that our benefits will stop as of July 2. It seems like they are preparing to lock us out or to provoke job action.”
Brushey says Canada Post applied for conciliation “out of the blue,” triggering a negotiation deadline of July 2. She says the two sides are still negotiating but remain far apart.
“Postal workers are hoping that the mediators can keep talks happening at the bargaining table. We don’t want a strike – we’re not interested in that. There’s some pretty strong demands coming from the employer. They’re making some pretty good money and, at the same time, asking for some serious concessions from postal workers.”
Brushey says Canada Post made a profit of about 99 million dollars last year and posted a 44 million dollar profit in the first quarter of this year. If negotiations fail, postal workers must give 72 hours notice of a strike, as does Canada Post if it decides to go the lockout route, according to Brushey.
“We know that people want to get their mail and we’re also very aware that our workers want to be on the job. No one wants a labour disruption. We’re ready to go to work every day and make Canada Post the successful business that it already is and we’re hoping that they’ll recognize that we’re the major factor in that success.”
The two sides are locked on several issues including pension structure, job security and pay for rural workers.
Prince George property taxes are due July 8. If you’re planning to pay them by mail, you may want to get your cheque in the mail this week. There are alternative payment options in place – you can visit City Hall with a cheque in hand or check to see if your bank offers online payment options.