In May of 2013, the members in Fort McMurray walked out over Canada Post contracting out the delivery of parcels. Canada Post filed a complaint with the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) and filed grievance CPC-13-001.
In 2013, the CIRB declared the walk out illegal. On January 20th, 2016, Arbitrator Burkett rendered his decision on Canada Post’s grievance. He awarded Canada Post punitive damages of $50,000 plus $9,056.89 in costs and has ordered CUPW to pay within 60 days.
Arbitrator Burkett’s decision is based on his past decision in the Winnipeg work stoppage and Arbitrator Picher’s decision on a previous work stoppage in Fort McMurray. In these decisions the arbitrators have said that it does not matter if the Union did not organize the walk out or participate in it. The Union must try to prevent the walk out and if the members walk out, the union must encourage the members to go back in.
As unfair as these awards seem to be, they do set a precedent for repeated deliberate violations of the collective agreement. The party violating the collective agreement has to pay punitive damages. We know that Canada Post deliberately violates our collective agreements. We need to hold Canada Post responsible for their repeated deliberate violations.