CUPW Rejects Canada Post’s Latest Offer And Will Continue Rotating Strikes

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has rejected a proposal from Canada Post to undertake a "cooling-off" period from the current round of rotating strikes, followed by binding arbitration between the postal service and its largest union.

The proposal by Canada Post was meant to halt all strike activity until January – effectively resuming normal mail and parcel delivery during the busy Christmas period, which kicks into high gear this coming weekend with Black Friday and Cyber Monday and runs until the Boxing Week sales in the week after December 25.

On Monday morning, Canada Post proposed that the two sides agree to mediation to settle their month-long rotating strikes before it ruins the key holiday shopping season – when the majority of parcels for the year are shipped. The company set a deadline of 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday for its offer, which came with a $1,000 bonus to each employee if there was no more strike activity until January.

If mediation didn't work, Canada Post was asking its union to agree to binding arbitration as of February 1, 2019. However, the union rejected the idea outright on Monday afternoon, saying it prefers to settle the dispute through collective bargaining and that the current rotating strikes will continue.

"We aren't doing this to harm the public, but the proposal asks our members to go back to work at the heaviest and most stressful time of year, under the same conditions that produce the highest injury rate in the federal sector," said Mike Palecek, President of CUPW. "We are confident that an agreement can be reached, if only Canada Post would address the issues and stop looking for ways not to negotiate."

The two sides remain at odds over pay and job safety issues. The union has been employing short, targeted strikes that shut down delivery service in specific locations at a time. Monday's strike action was scheduled for Edmonton, Alberta; Kitchener, Ontario; and Kelowna, British Columbia. The impact of the rotating strikes is being felt nationally as the postal service says it currently has about 550 trucks full of parcels waiting to be delivered.

Within minutes of CUPW's statement, federal Labour Minister Patty Hajdu renewed her call for the two sides to continue bargaining, but did not say whether the government is contemplating back-to-work legislation. The Retail Council of Canada and other businesses such as online retailer eBay have urged the federal government to legislate an end to the strike before the busy Christmas shopping and shipping period.