Postal strike action hits British Columbia

Affects of rotating postal strike bound to cause inconvenience

The rotating strike action of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) is gaining momentum across the country as it moves through its second week.

CUPW Local 854 president Ivan Bonnell, representing members in 100 Mile House and Williams Lake, said recently that Canada Post notifies locals across the country when they can expect to strike.

“There’s no direction for a specific region to do anything other than to report to work as normal, when our call to action does arise … we’ll be ready within a couple of hours.”

One of the bargaining issues is the modernization of equipment that is eliminating jobs, and Bonnell said the biggest affect on employees in communities, such as the Cariboo, is the loss of mail processing and sorting duties.

The Crown corporation currently has a reduced, three-day delivery service in urban areas on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, although delivery of mail to rural and community mailboxes is continuing five days a week.

That is because delivery service of mail to rural and community mailboxes is provided by Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMCs), who operate under a different collective agreement than urban employees.

South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce president Vern Peever said any strike action occurring in the mail stream has an effect on local businesses, from billing to information and packages.

“I think it will cause some inconveniences, obviously, but I do appreciate the approach (CUPW) is taking so that it is not heavily disruptive to business.

They have a right to ask for fair and equitable negotiations, all workers do, so it’s good to see that at this point they are being relatively fair.”

June 13 saw a 24-hour strike hitting British Columbia in Nanaimo, as well as in 13 other communities across the country.

On June 14, strike action hit major mail hubs of Toronto, Montreal and Scarborough in what a Canada Post release stated was expected to cause “major mail disruptions nationally.”

About 60 per cent of the country’s mail is routed through these three locations, where the largest postal-processing facilities were closed and not accepting or delivering any mail Tuesday, and some impact was expected to run over into Wednesday.

A CUPW release stated Canada Post is locking out postal workers and cutting mail service by reducing staffing.

Calling it a “deliberate effort to create division and confusion,” it stated in some locations CUPW members were told not to report to work while at the same time Canada Post instructed other members to perform the same work.

CUPW has also indicated it will declare all employees who are subject to a lockout situation on strike, and has instructed its members to refuse to perform any of the duties and responsibilities of other members subject to a lockout.


100 Mile House Free Press