Postal workers' union makes counter-offer

There is no end in sight for the Canada Post rotating strikes, after the postal workers' union rejected the corporation's contract offer and countered with its own proposal.

CUPW asks government to appoint mediator to help reach an agreement

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers requested a federally appointed mediator after a midnight deadline on a Canada Post offer to end rotating walkouts passed with no resolution. (CBC)

There is no end in sight for rotating strikes hitting Canada Post deliveries, after the postal workers' union rejected the corporation's contract offer and countered with its own proposal.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers released a list of demands on Saturday in response to the company's offer presented Nov. 14 and set to expire in three days.

Some of the requests in the CUPW proposal include:

  • A 2.9-per-cent annual wage increase.
  • Double time pay for working a sixth or seventh day.
  • New wage advancements for temporary workers, based on working 1,000 hours in a fiscal year.

Canada Post's offer to workers includes:

  • A two-per-cent annual wage increase.
  • Overtime pay for working more than 40 hours.
  • The creation of 500 full-time positions over three years.

Both sides say they are committed to reaching a resolution and continuing negotiations to reach a settlement for about 42,000 urban employees and 8,000 rural and suburban carriers, with CUPW now calling on the federal minister of labour to appoint a mediator.

'Major issues' remain

Canada Post still hasn't adequately addressed "major issues," including pay equity and an "injury crisis," Mike Palecek, the union's national president, told CBC News on Sunday," adding, "We won't have an agreement until we have those issues dealt with."

"Postal workers are the most injured workforce, at five times the average in the federal sector," Palecek said. "This is an injury crisis. It's getting worse and worse. Twenty-five per cent of letter carriers were injured last year. This has to be fixed."

Canada Post had offered a new $10-million health and safety fund it says will make the corporation a "model organization in safety."

On workload,the corporation says it has proposed several measures to "work with the union to better manage employee workload and adjust routes annually for volume changes." The two sides have been in talks for nearly a year.

There is a growing backlog of postal deliveries blamed on rotating strikes that began Oct. 22.

Postal panic

Julia Michaud, a freelance graphic designer in Winnipeg, told CBC News that, while she supports the striking workers, she relies on cheques sent by mail to pay for her rent and food. Since the strike began, payments from across Canada and the United States have stopped coming in the mail.

"Financially it's been hard, you know. You can't do the things that you're normally doing," Michaud said. "You have to do rent, you have to do your credit card payments, your utility payments, and that has to wait. Everything has to wait until it gets resolved."

Others have been stuck waiting for time-sensitive correspondence. Eric Whitaker, another Winnipegger, said he's in limbo while he waits for a letter confirming upcoming medical tests.

"Will the letter arrive next week, next month or past my deadline for appointment? Think about it," he said.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter to say Canadian businesses and families are relying on the postal service in the holiday season and urging both sides "to resolve their differences quickly and reach a deal."

Late last week, Canada Post asked 190 partner countries to suspend mail shipments to Canada because of a backlog of deliveries resulting from the labour dispute.

With files from CBC's Austin Grabish