Feds to legislate end to Canada Post strike if no resolution in coming days
Published Tuesday, November 20, 2018 12:51PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 21, 2018 10:31AM EST
Federal Labour Minister Patty Hajdu says the government will table legislation to end the Canada Post strike unless a resolution is reached soon.
“We strongly encourage both sides to reach a deal and are prepared to table legislation if we do not see a resolution over the next few days, a step we do not take lightly,” she said in a statement.
It’s a move that Canadian Union of Postal Workers national president Mike Palecek says undermines the possibility of the parties being able to negotiate a settlement.
"Free collective bargaining is a Charter right in this country, and we have a government that claims to believe in free collective bargaining, but apparently that means only when it's convenient," he told The Canadian Press.
He says that the union plans to return to the table, and hopes that the special mediator appointed by the government will help push Canada Post to negotiate.
“Canada Post only has one game, and it's to refuse to negotiate and sit back and wait for legislation," Palecek said. "They've done this again and again, and it looks like the government is helping them out."
The news comes as Canada Post enter the fifth week of rotating strikes by its unionized workers, with neither side making headway in the ongoing contract negotiations.
Hajdu says that despite the government’s belief in the collective bargaining process, supplying conciliation officers and appointed mediators, the two have made “limited promise,” and the government has “exhausted” their options.
The nearly year-long negotiations process seemingly hasn’t seen the two sides come any closer together, with Canada Post’s responses to major issues like gender inequality, overburdening, and precarious work resulting in an “injury crisis” unsatisfactory, according to the union.
On Monday the Canadian Union of Postal Workers rejected an offer for a “cooling-off” period of the strikes for the holiday season, as well as a one-time $1,000 bonus for its 50,000 members for accepting the offer.
The strikes have created a severe backlog of undelivered mail, with hundreds of transport trailers sitting at Canada Post's main Toronto sorting facility, according to the Crown Corporation.
Distribution centres in Vancouver, Edmonton and Montreal are also experiencing significant backlogs, and packages are bottlenecking at border points.
Even with a potential end of the strikes in sight, the walkouts have left Canada Post warning customers it is unable to predict just how long packages may be delayed.
"This is likely to be the situation for the foreseeable future, meaning the next several weeks, including the peak holiday season and through January 2019," the company said.
With files from The Canadian Press
On Canada Post, Labour Minister @PattyHajdu says she does not want to use back to work legislation but says she will be forced to if the two sides cannot make meaningful progress in the next few days @CTVNews pic.twitter.com/E5Bmj749uS— Annie BergeronOliver (@AnnieClaireBO) November 21, 2018
Now, does not mean this bill will be tabled tomorrow (rules say 48 hours required for notice) or anytime specific, could be next week, or never. Procedural weeds aside, essentially this just puts the bill there for introduction, should Feds decide to. #cdnpoli— Rachel Aiello (@rachaiello) November 21, 2018