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Canada Post lockout likely, but not guaranteed, says union

Wages for rural workers and pensions for new workers a major sticking point in negotiations
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Al McMahon, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Local 612, addressed local media Wednesday about the pending Canada Post lockout. Photo by Jonathan Migneault

Although there's a strong possibility Canada Post workers will be locked out by Friday morning, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers says it is still unsure what will happen that day.

“We have full intention to come into work Friday morning,” said Al McMahon, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Local 612, which represents around 250 Canada Post employees in Greater Sudbury and the surrounding region. “If the doors are locked, we walk. If they're not we'll be in there working and servicing the public.”

McMahon and Phil Marsh, the local's second vice-president, addressed local media Wednesday, and said Canada Post has not budged from its original first offer to the union.

You can watch the full press conference below.

 

But the Crown corporation said in a press release earlier in the month that it tabled an offer on June 25 that included “modest and manageable” wage increases for all employees.

One of the major sticking points is pension plans for Canada Post employees.

Current employees are on a defined benefit plan, where payouts are guaranteed at a fixed rate despite how well investments perform.

Canada Post wants to switch new hires to a defined contribution plan, that is more closely tied to the market and does not include guaranteed payouts after retirement.

The Crown corporation has said maintaining the current pension regime for new hires would cost around $1 billion.

“That $1 billion they're claiming it will cost if they took our offer is erroneous,” McMahon said Wednesday.

He said Canada Post has made similar statements during past labour disputes — often using the $1-billion figure — but has remained profitable with the defined benefit pension plan in place for employees.

McMahon and Marsh both said workers have no intention of striking and would like to keep working toward a negotiated settlement, accusing Canada Post of bargaining in bad faith.

"Their first offer was their last offer," Marsh said.

In 2014, Canada Post recorded profits of $164 million. The company made $99 million in profits in 2015, and $44 million in the first quarter of 2016.

The union said pay equity between rural and urban mail carriers is also a big issue on the table. Rural mail carriers are primarily women, and make 28-per-cent less on average than their urban counterparts who do the same work.

To help ensure Canada Post remains profitable, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers has suggested it enter the banking sector, and provide a viable alternative to the major banks.




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Jonathan Migneault

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