Many members felt anger and frustration at the news that the arbitrator responsible for determining our collective agreements, and our future, had requested an extension of the arbitration process until next June.
It is important to specify that there was no agreement to extend the process. The arbitrator is mandated under the law to hear the parties’ evidence and determine our future working conditions in terms of the outstanding issues. Since the employer has not completed its evidence (and probably will not be finished before the end of the year), and since the Union intends to submit reply evidence, the arbitrator had no other choice but to request an extension of her mandate to be able to fulfill her obligations under the law.
We did not choose this process. It was forced upon us. That being said, we have to ensure we get it right. The issues before the arbitrator are of critical importance. They deal with health and safety, precarious employment, the right to full-time work when possible, job security, fair and equal treatment, and reparation for the damages suffered in 2012 under the Conservatives’ back-to-work legislation, which was heavily biased in the employer’s favour.
In this context, we have to ensure we proceed based on the rules that govern this type of arbitration, to ensure the arbitrator has the evidence needed to render a decision, which, we hope, will address the situations we have experienced for far too long. This means having the right to present our evidence, cross-examine the employer’s witnesses, and present rebuttal evidence to rectify the alleged facts presented by these witnesses that we deem incorrect.
The last time we underwent this type of arbitration was in 1997. (Under the 2011 back-to-work legislation, we did not actually proceed with the interest arbitration.)
The 1997 arbitration lasted nearly two years and ended with a negotiated settlement in December 1999 prior to a decision being rendered by the appointed arbitrator. This type of arbitration is a complicated and arduous process, which requires a lot of research and preparation. Nothing can be left to chance.
How can we explain that Canada Post upper management allows its representatives to oppose almost all of our demands? How can we explain that, once again, this Holiday Season, nothing will be done to protect our health and safety, to improve work-life balance, and to ensure that thousands of workers get paid for all hours worked? How can we explain that, despite its lofty rhetoric that you matter, Canada Post allows for problems to persist for years?
You are exhausted. You barely see your family and friends. You want a decent job instead of precarious work. You want to continue working without risk of injury, so that one day, you can be healthy enough to enjoy a long and well-deserved retirement.
Send Canada Post a strong message!
You deserve respect and dignity, not just lofty rhetoric.
Our true strength is our solidarity!