A 24-hour rotating strike by Canadian Union of Postal Workers is underway Thursday in Cranbrook.

A 24-hour rotating strike by Canadian Union of Postal Workers is underway Thursday in Cranbrook.

Rotating postal strike hits Cranbrook

Union, Canada Post remain far apart over labour issues as federal intervention looms

A rotating strike between Canada Post and a union representing postal workers has hit Cranbrook again as the two sides remain far apart in reaching a negotiated settlement.

However, the federal labour minister signalled on Thursday that the Liberals may introduce back-to-work legislation as a last resort.

“This ongoing work stoppage has had significant negative impacts on Canadians, businesses, international commerce, Canada Post, its workers and their families,” said Patty Hajdu, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. “Canadians and businesses rely on Canada Post and its workers, especially during the busy retail season. With Canadians and Canadian businesses feeling serious impacts, our government is prepared to legislate a path forward to keep goods moving for Canadians.”

WATCH: Cranbrook postal workers on 24-hour strike

That doesn’t sit well with both national and local members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

“This government has said they agree that a negotiated settlement is the best resolution in the long run, they believe in free collective bargaining and agreed to renew the mandate of the mediator Morton Mitchnick for a short period of time,” according to a bulletin posted on the union website on Tuesday. “CUPW believes that the threat of back-to-work legislation will undermine the chances of negotiated settlements. We’ll do our best to reach a negotiated settlement as quickly as possible with the assistance of the mediator. We will see shortly if this was a real attempt to achieve negotiated settlements.

Brent Bush, the president of CUPW Local 728, said the potential back-to-work legislation means that Canada Post doesn’t need to make any concessions, knowing that the federal government is going to intervene.

Bush pointed to a 2016 ruling in an earlier labour dispute between the federal government and the union, which successfully challenged back-to-work legislation introduced in 2011 after the presiding judge found it violated charter rights.

“We’ve been legislated back to work before and it’s a fundamental assault on free collective bargaining rights and we’re just not going to take it anymore,” said Bush.

A mediator has been reappointed to try and bridge the gap between the two sides, as outstanding issues include overburdening of letter carriers, employee health and safety, pay equity, time worked for time paid, and more.

“We’ve tried to use rotating strikes, minimize the impact to the public in order to put pressure on Canada Post,” said Bush. “This is our fourth week of rotating strikes and it doesn’t appear that pressure has persuaded Canada Post to come to the negotiating table. They are so far apart; it’s incredible how far apart we are.”



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

The Site C Dam location is seen along the Peace River in Fort St. John, B.C., Tuesday, April 18, 2017. The cost of British Columbia’s Site C hydroelectric dam has grown to $16 billion and the completion has been moved up a year to 2025. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
BC Liberal energy critic blasts ‘lack of transparency’ on Site C

MLA Tom Shypitka says Site C going ahead is a ‘good thing’, blames NDP for mismanagement

Volunteers from the Elk River Alliance cleared 14 car batteries from the Elk River near Elkford this week. (Photo contributed)
Elk River Alliance to move to more holistic environmental monitoring

The details of the ERA’s 2021 program will be discussed at the AGM next month

The Kitimat RCMP responded to false alarms, an apartment fire and more between Jan. 29 to Feb. 3, 2021. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Sparwood backs campaign to study Surrey RCMP impact

The City of Surrey is home to the largest RCMP detachment in the province

Brent Bidston is the president of Angel Flight East Kootenay. Black Press file photo.
RDEK ponders funding for Angel Flight East Kootenay

The district is considering funding for operations or to eventually help acquire a larger plane

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

Most Read