Editor’s note: Since this story was published, Canada Post has announced that its lockout has been delayed until Monday, July 11.
By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express
Residents will need to find another way to deliver their packages by the end of the week.
On Tuesday morning, Canada Post notified the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), which represents letter carriers, rural and suburban mail carriers, postal clerks, mail handlers and dispatchers, technicians, mechanics and electricians at Canada Post, that it will lock out its workers starting on Friday, July 8.
The Crown corporation, however, had advised that mail service may not come to a complete stop, stating in a news release that “issuing of the notice does not necessarily mean that Canada Post will not be operating on Friday. It allows the corporation to take measures that are necessary to respond to the changing business reality.”
However, with the possibility that mail will not be delivered, companies and governments of all levels across Canada are making contingency plans.
In an advisory to residents, the City of Oshawa has said residents who pay for city bills via post should consider other methods of payment, including paying online or visiting Service Oshawa, located at city hall, in person.
The Region of Durham, meanwhile, has advised that it will be unable to distribute mailings such as water and sanitary sewer bills, and that residents can pay these bills either in person at regional headquarters, at Oshawa city hall or online at durham.ca.
As well, the region has advised Ontario Works (OW) clients to get in contact with their local OW as soon as possible. If there is a postal stoppage, the region is advising those on OW that they will still be required to report income changes and changes to their circumstances to their caseworker.
In negotiations since November, a main wedge between the union and the Crown corporation is pensions. Canada Post has said it wants to implement a new pension program for new hires and modest wage increases. The union has called Canada Post’s offer for wage increases “an insult,” as most of the increases are below one per cent, adding that it wants to see wage increases of between two and three per cent, depending on the employee’s pay grade.
In the news release announcing the lockout, Canada Post says the contract offer it made in late June is final, and that it will not accept the counterproposal made by the union prior to the long weekend.
Postal workers last went on strike in 2011 following eight months of negotiations, starting with rotating strikes in early June. A week and a half later, all CUPW members were locked out by Canada Post. The federal government passed back-to-work legislation a week later, which came with a wage settlement below what Canada Post was offering during negotiations.