A 24-hour rotating strike by Canadian Union of Postal Workers is underway Thursday in Cranbrook.

Rotating postal strike hits Cranbrook

Union, Canada Post remain far apart over labour issues as federal intervention looms

A rotating strike between Canada Post and a union representing postal workers has hit Cranbrook again as the two sides remain far apart in reaching a negotiated settlement.

However, the federal labour minister signalled on Thursday that the Liberals may introduce back-to-work legislation as a last resort.

“This ongoing work stoppage has had significant negative impacts on Canadians, businesses, international commerce, Canada Post, its workers and their families,” said Patty Hajdu, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. “Canadians and businesses rely on Canada Post and its workers, especially during the busy retail season. With Canadians and Canadian businesses feeling serious impacts, our government is prepared to legislate a path forward to keep goods moving for Canadians.”

WATCH: Cranbrook postal workers on 24-hour strike

That doesn’t sit well with both national and local members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

“This government has said they agree that a negotiated settlement is the best resolution in the long run, they believe in free collective bargaining and agreed to renew the mandate of the mediator Morton Mitchnick for a short period of time,” according to a bulletin posted on the union website on Tuesday. “CUPW believes that the threat of back-to-work legislation will undermine the chances of negotiated settlements. We’ll do our best to reach a negotiated settlement as quickly as possible with the assistance of the mediator. We will see shortly if this was a real attempt to achieve negotiated settlements.

Brent Bush, the president of CUPW Local 728, said the potential back-to-work legislation means that Canada Post doesn’t need to make any concessions, knowing that the federal government is going to intervene.

Bush pointed to a 2016 ruling in an earlier labour dispute between the federal government and the union, which successfully challenged back-to-work legislation introduced in 2011 after the presiding judge found it violated charter rights.

“We’ve been legislated back to work before and it’s a fundamental assault on free collective bargaining rights and we’re just not going to take it anymore,” said Bush.

A mediator has been reappointed to try and bridge the gap between the two sides, as outstanding issues include overburdening of letter carriers, employee health and safety, pay equity, time worked for time paid, and more.

“We’ve tried to use rotating strikes, minimize the impact to the public in order to put pressure on Canada Post,” said Bush. “This is our fourth week of rotating strikes and it doesn’t appear that pressure has persuaded Canada Post to come to the negotiating table. They are so far apart; it’s incredible how far apart we are.”



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nelson and Rossland accepted as interveners in Supreme Court of Canada carbon pricing case

Victoria, Vancouver, Squamish, and Richmond also have intervener status

Kootenay Lake ferry labour dispute ends with ratified agreement

The deal was approved by 83 per cent of members

Rapping mom busts rhymes for Castlegar rec centre kid’s drop-in

Funny video with important message about importance of service

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

WorkSafeBC investigating serious incident at Kootenay Boundary landfill

Medical incident shut down the McKelvey Creek landfill Friday morning

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

B.C. Transit finds 28 used fareboxes online, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Most Read