Ongoing postal strikes causing delivery delays on P.E.I.
Canada Post and union say Wednesday's Island-wide strike will add to backlog of mail and parcels
Both Canada Post and the union representing its workers say ongoing strikes are creating delivery delays for Island customers.
Two hundred P.E.I. postal workers spent the day picketing Wednesday, as part of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers' (CUPW) rotating strikes around the country.
Local union president Pearl Gillis-Palmer says having those workers off the job will add to the Island's mail backlog that started last Monday, when Halifax workers picketed for a full day.
"All our mail goes to Halifax to be processed. So that was a delay in itself," said Gillis-Palmer. "Like when Halifax went out, our mail went way, way down. And that's the way it's going to stay across the country."
The corporation said Wednesday customers expecting parcels can expect delays too, given that its three largest processing facilities have all been shut down for up to 48 hours as part of the strikes.
We understand how [customers] feel, but we have to keep going. We need a contract.— Pearl Gillis-Palmer
"At this point, there is a backlog of over 150 trailers in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal of items waiting to be unloaded and processed, with more arriving every day," said Canada Post spokesperson Jon Hamilton.
"Once processed, these items have to be delivered without overburdening our delivery employees. As a result, customers could see delays of several days."
The rotating strikes started Oct. 22. CUPW wants improved job security, an end to forced overtime, and better health and safety measures. It launched the job actions after negotiators failed to reach a new contract agreement before a union-set deadline.
"We understand how [customers] feel, but we have to keep going. We need a contract," said Gillis-Palmer. "We're getting near the Christmas season and peak delivery season. So I suggest Canada Post sit at the bargaining table and speak with CUPW."
A mediator appointed by the federal government was brought into help with the negotiations a week ago.
"We are working hard to reach an agreement with the assistance of the special mediator," said Hamilton.
Gillis-Palmer said all Island postal workers will be returning to work on Thursday, but the national union is telling all its workers to refuse to work overtime.