Nfld. & Labrador

Stay on your toes for a local postal walkout, union warns

It's business as usual at Canada Post's local operations. The union, though, says that could change in an instant.
Craig Dyer says Canadian Union of Postal Workers members are frustrated with the pace of talks with their employer. (CBC)

It was business as usual at Canada Post's operations in Newfoundland and Labrador on Monday, although a union official says that can change on a moment's notice.

"Honestly, we don't know," said Craig Dyer, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers local that represents workers in St. John's.

I can tell you now the St. John's local is ready to go.- Craig Dyer

"Our history in the past [is that] workers would show up and the local executive would get a phone call: 'Take your members out for 24 [hours],' and we would go in and take them out."

Early Monday morning, CUPW pulled its workers in Halifax; Windsor, Ont.; Edmonton and Victoria, B.C.

Dyer said it's the first time in his three-decade postal career that the public was given notice in advance, however limited, of rotating strikes.

'They're tired of not being treated equally'

Dyer said his workers would rather sign a new collective agreement than walk out, but they're prepared to walk a picket line to add a spark to negotiations that CUPW says have largely stalled since last winter.

"I can tell you now the St. John's local is ready to go," Dyer said.

Striking Canada Post workers set up a picket line in Halifax early Monday morning. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

"They're tired. They're tired of forced overtime. They're tired of being mismanaged. They're tired of not being treated equally."

CUPW's issues include improved job security, an end to forced overtime and improvements to health and safety protection.

Canada Post says it will maintain delivery across the country in areas not affected by the walkout.

Dyer said the point of rotating strikes is to slow down the mail, not stop it.

Dyer told The St. John's Morning Show he is aware that the Christmas package season is looming.

"Our battle is not with the public," he said.

Some Newfoundland and Labrador groups and organizations are preparing for possible strike action.

In a news release Monday, regional health authority Eastern Health announced contingency plans to deal with any loss of delivery service. Among them: patients who receive prescription medications via mail will receive them via courier instead, and employees who have cheques mailed to them can pick them up at work instead.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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