Under the Canada Labour Code, once the parties have obtained the legal right to strike or lockout, no action can occur unless one of the parties has provided a 72 hour notice. Since neither CUPW or CPC has provided such a notice no industrial action can occur before Thursday July 7th. Until one party serves a 72 hour notice, the rates of pay, benefits and other conditions of employment provided for in the collective agreements must be maintained. This includes full coverage of the health insurance plans and the right to grieve contract violations.
CPC has come out with a claim that our proposals will cost $1 Billion. They seem to do this every time they are not serious about negotiating a settlement. In 1978 they issued a press release that the CUPW demands would cost $1billion, and that was when we only represented 22,000 Group 1 workers. In 1991 they issued a press release that CUPW and CPC were $1 Billion apart. On May 24, 2011 they issued a press release stating that CUPW’s demands would add $1.4 Billion to CPC’s costs, and that did not include RSMCs. Today they issued a press release stating our demands would cost $1 Billion. The pattern is the same. Announce a big number without ever first reviewing the numbers with the union. The objective is always the same, to get a headline instead of negotiating. We have requested that CPC explain their numbers. They have not replied.
Canada Post likes to use big numbers. It was not long ago that CPC and the Conference Board claimed Canada Post would lose $1 billion per year by 2020 unless drastic actions were taken. They based their claim on the prediction that CPC would lose a total of $1.35 billion during 2012-2015. CPC actually reported an overall profit during those years. So much for big numbers.
CUPW has proposed that all CPC employees should be entitled to the defined benefit pension and that CPC and CUPW jointly approach the government to provide an exemption from the requirement to make solvency payments. This is completely in accordance with the joint letter sent by all four postal unions to Minister Judy Foote on January 22, 2016.
The union statement said “In summary, we are seeking your support on these two challenges and opportunities for the Plan: to support our request for a permanent exemption from solvency funding rules under the PBSA, and to permit all employees of Canada Post to join or re-join the defined benefit component of the Plan. We believe both of these measures would enhance the Plan's viability, and continue to provide the security that accompanies the expectation of an adequate retirement income.”
The letter was signed by Mike Palecek, President CUPW, Brenda McAuley, President, Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association, Robyn Benson, President, Public Service Alliance of Canada, and Guy Dubois, President of the Association of Postal Officers of Canada.