Possible post office closure looming July 2

Canada Post email states no delivery during job action

Canada Post says it is working hard to avoid the possibility of job action in July.

The community paper you’re reading right now may be delivered to readers’ eager hands in a slightly different way in a few weeks. That is, if fears of a postal strike become reality.

Negotiations between Canada Post Corporation and two of its main unions, CUPW-urban and CUPW-rural, are currently in a cooling off period.

Canada Post spokesperson Mouktar Abdillahi noted negotiations started in late 2015 but were not making a lot of progress. Canada Post requested conciliation under the labour law, which means the minister appoints a third party to facilitate a more productive conversation that includes 60 days of negotiation and a “cooling off” period. That began in early April, with the “cooling off” wrapping up at the end of June.

“We’re working hard to get a deal,” said Abdillahi by phone June 17. He noted the two unions in negotiations, both Canadian Union of Postal Workers groups, one urban and one rural, are different groups with distinct histories.

Abdillahi stated Canada Post declined to predict whether a postal strike is looming. “That’s the level of speculation (that CPC won’t comment on),” said Abdillahi.

“What I want people to know is until the end of June that we are going to be using every available moment to getting a deal that is fair to our employees, this is affordable for the corporation and responds to customer’s needs.”

Abdillahi added that, past the end of June, Canada Post will keep customers informed of developments.

Not all of Canada Post’s employees belong to CUPW; some belong to other unions that are not involved in these negotiations. These employees were referred to in an Alberta Weekly Newspapers newsletter recently sent to the Pipestone Flyer. “We understand that postal outlets should remain open during a possible strike, as these workers belong to a different union,” stated the newsletter signed by Dennis Merrell, AWNA executive director.

However, an email sent out this week by CPC apparently notes that, even if there is a strike and some staff are not involved, mail delivery will still be affected in a major way and that includes utility bills, credit card statements and any parcels Pipestone Flyer readers are expecting.

Plan ahead

A Pipestone Flyer reader forwarded an email update from Canada Post dated June 13. The update noted, “Dear customer, Although a formal conciliation period ended on June 10, 2016, labour negotiations between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) continue.

“While there is still time to reach new agreements, customers should take precautions as a labour disruption remains a possibility. In the event of a full labour disruption, Canada Post will not operate. Mail and parcels will not be delivered, and no new items will be accepted. Any mail and parcels within the postal system during a work disruption will be secured and delivered as quickly as possible once operations resume.”

As Canada Post pointed out, if readers have important mail they need delivered they should mail it as soon as possible. As noted, the cooling off period extends to the end of June, so if a strike occurs it won’t happen until July.

Abdillahi said Canada Post is focused on a deal. “Our focus remains on getting a deal before the end of June,” he added.

The Pipestone Flyer will be printing notices over the next two weeks letting readers know where they can pick up their Pipestone Flyer in the event of a strike.