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No deal: latest Canada Post offers won’t be put to striking workers as deadline looms

Global News with Andrea Stairs 16 November 2018

Striking Canada Post workers will not get to vote on a pair of offers put forward by the Crown corporation this week before the deadline on them expires.

Global News has confirmed the union representing striking postal workers will not take the latest offers, made by Canada Post on Nov. 14, to the membership for a vote amid mounting pressure on the government to intervene.

That decision comes despite the offers being set to expire on Nov. 17.

It also comes as multiple postal workers have privately expressed to Global News their frustration with the lack of a vote on the latest offers.

“A vote will take place when Canada Post presents offers that meet our demands for health and safety, gender equality and more full-time jobs,” said Mike Palecek, national president for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

When asked to clarify whether this means the current offers will not be put to union members before the Saturday deadline, Palecek said that was “correct.”

Postal workers have been on rotating strikes since Oct. 21.

The strikes have created historic backlogs of undelivered parcels and packages.

Workers have been without a contract for a year, and a federal mediator appointed to help solve the dispute has seen its mandate expire twice without a deal.

Canada Post tabled the “time-sensitive” offer earlier this week, saying it would only be affordable if in place before the holiday rush.

That $650-million offer includes a four-year contract, annual two-per-cent wage hikes, signing bonuses of up to $1,000 per employee, more job security and a $10-million health and safety fund for workers.

But the union says the offer still isn’t good enough and fails to prevent those working less than 12 hours a week or those who have been working for less than 10 years from being laid off.

“There has been some movement on a few issues, but we have a long way to go,” reads a press release from the union issued in response to the offer.

“Obviously, this does not constitute a basis for settlement.”

With both Black Friday and Cyber Monday approaching, retail giant eBay is renewing its push to get the government to intervene.

“While Canadian consumers should anticipate exceptional online savings next week, they should also expect some delays in receiving their Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases,” said Andrea Stairs, general manager for eBay in Canada and Latin America, on Friday.

“EBay’s main concern remains how labour disruptions are disproportionately impacting our micro and small business, who heavily rely on postal services. The ongoing and now intensified postal labour disruptions could sideline Canadian SMBs [small and medium businesses] from participating in global trade during two of the most significant sales events of the year so eBay is advocating for a long-term solution to be reached as soon as possible in advance of Black Friday,” Stairs added.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are on Nov. 23 and Nov. 26.

Consumers can score major discounts on sales over these two shopping days, originally meant to take advantage of the American Thanksgiving long weekend.

The push for government intervention comes after Stairs sent a letter on Tuesday to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Labour Minister Patty Hajdu and Public Services Minister Carla Qualtrough.

“I encourage the government to explore all available legislative solutions to alleviate the current situation,” she wrote in the letter.

Trudeau has said “all options” are on the table if the dispute is not resolved soon.

“The Christmas season is approaching, and we know that’s when Canadians use Canada Post more than at any other time,” he said last week.

“If we don’t see significant resolution shortly, all options will be on the table for resolving this.”

So far, the government has not specifically said whether it is considering back-to-work legislation for the workers.