Urban Negotiations Underway (Perspective)

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Monday December 20 2010
Volume 38, Number 4, December 2010

Urban Negotiations UnderwayNegotiations continue between CUPW and CPC for 48,000 members in urban operations. These negotiations reflect the deep division which exists between the parties. While both parties agree that Canada Post faces future challenges because of the erosion of mail volumes, there are vast differences in the solutions being proposed by management and the union. Our negotiations are happening at a time when the working conditions of postal workers are being transformed by CPC’s modernization program. New equipment is being introduced into postal facilities, eliminating jobs, intensifying the work process and reducing opportunities for job rotation. Letter carrier operations are being motorized. Mechanized sequencing is resulting in fewer jobs and increased on-street delivery time. CPC’s insistence on a two-bundle delivery method is creating real health and safety problems for many letter carriers. The union is determined to address and resolve these problems through the collective bargaining process.


The Union’s Positive Approach

For CUPW, these negotiations represent an opportunity for the workers of Canada Post to obtain a share in the benefits that will result from the $2 billion investment Canada Post is making in new technology and new work methods. Postal workers have created 15 consecutive years of profitability. Now it is time for us to reap some rewards in the form of increased wages, benefits, and improved working conditions. We are also demanding greater equality between different groups and between regular workers and temporary employees. The union is proposing that CPC make better use of its infrastructure to improve the services offered to the public. Canada Post has the most extensive network of retail outlets in the country. It is time that CPC followed the lead of other countries by expanding its offering of retail products and introducing financial and banking services at postal counters. Expanding door-to-door delivery also allows the public to share in the benefits of the modernization program. Canada Post management is taking a very different approach. Instead of working with the union, CPC management is bent on using the current situation to justify an attack on the rights and working conditions of the very workers who have made CPC one of the most profitable post offices in the world. Instead of sharing the benefits, CPC is trying to roll them back. Instead of creating greater equality, CPC management is advancing proposals to increase the inequalities and divisions between workers. 


CPC Must Choose

In the coming months, management can decide to negotiate an agreement which ensures that the modernization program is introduced in a manner which respects the health and safety of the workers. It can agree to share the benefits of automation between the workers, the public and the employer. Or the employer can continue to take a hard-line approach and try to impose its will on the union and the membership. Your National Negotiating Committee is prepared to do what it takes to achieve a collective agreement which will safeguard the future of Canada Post. It’s time for Canada Post management to negotiate.