Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mail disruption possibility pushed back as negotiations come to the crunch

[This post has been updated] The earliest there can be a mail strike or lockout, given required 72-hour notice, would be this weekend (more likely Monday) but the likelihood increased only a bit with the rejection Tuesday by Canada Post Corporation of the latest contract proposal from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). 
Neither side has chosen to give the required notice, which is a hopeful sign, though magazine publishers will be wondering if imminent direct mail should be sent into the mail stream and if current issues of magazines will be delivered to subscribers.
CPC says the CUPW proposals would raise its labour costs by $1.4 milion and require the cost of mailing a letter or package to go up by 15 per cent. However, it said it put forward a counter-offer, details of which weren't released. (CPC has consistently said that the union demands are unaffordable in the face of a double-digit drop in mail volume in the past decade and a pension deficit of $3 billion.)
"There was no explanation of these [CPC] figures." said a statement from the union. "Exaggerating the cost of union demands is a tactic that has been used by CPC in all previous rounds of bargaining to distract attention from the real issues and justify taking a hard line during negotiations."
The union proposal asked for a 3.5 per cent wage increase in each year of a 3.5 year agreement.

[Update: The United States Postal Service has reached an agreement with the 205,000-member American Postal Workers Union on a contract that includes a wage freeze for the first two years and increases ranging from 0-1.5 % thereafter, totalling 3.5% by May, 2015. The new contract includes employment practices such as use of temporary and non-career employees and irregular shifts that the USPS says will save the service $3.8 billion over the next four and a half years.]

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