Canada Post Negotiations 2016 Update

August 17, 2016

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UPDATE | August 31st, 2016

Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers reach two-year agreements.

Both parties have officially announced they’ve reached a tentative short-term agreement – bringing much-needed certainty for mailers and shippers.

Work disruptions will no longer be an ongoing threat.

After nine months at the bargaining table, two negotiation extensions since the weekend, an expired deadline with a 72-hour strike notice, and the looming mail disruption threat for months, the postal system can now be used with confidence. A sigh of relief for Canadians and customers, as many are already planning for the upcoming holiday shipping season.

Typically agreements are four-year contracts, however, these agreements are for a period of two years. In a statement Tuesday, Canada Post said it is still facing “complex” issues around declining mail volumes and growing pension obligations, but it’s a step in the right direction. The two-year approach will provide more time for thoughtful discussion and analysis on how to best address these issues without the ongoing threat of a work disruption.

As always we will continue to update you if any additional details are released. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


UPDATE | August 30th, 2016

Canada Post and the CUPW have agreed to extend mediation for another 24 hours.

August 29th – Late Monday night, Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) agreed to extend mediation aimed at resolving their labor dispute by another 24 hours.

Both parties will continue to negotiate with the assistance of a special mediator into Tuesday, August 30th.

Canada Post has reported that all mail and parcels are being processed and delivered across the country as normal.

As always we will continue to keep you updated as further details are released. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 


UPDATE | August 26th, 2016

On Thursday, August 25th, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers filed a 72-hour strike notice.

Starting on Sunday, August 28th, 2016 at 11:59pm ET the union will be in a legal position to commence strike action. Following this, the union will be free to take further action to disrupt postal service at any time without warning.

Up until now, the CUPW was required to provide advance notice of any disruptive job action. As of August 28th, that will no longer be the case and they will not be required to provide any notice going forward. Canada Post also has the option to lock out workers.

The union, representing nearly 51,000 employees, has stated that in the event of a strike action, stoppages will rotate by province and territory and union workers will not work overtime. The most recent notice “listed anticipated job actions” but stopped short of a full-on walkout. The CUPW hasn’t said exactly what actions are planned.

Can The Strike Be Avoided?

In efforts to avoid a strike, Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk appointed a special mediator to assist both parties during Friday morning’s negotiations toward a settlement.

In hopes of a resolution by Sunday, she added, “Canadians need to get prepared for a potential work stoppage. I think that’s the reality.”

A View From Both Sides

In a statement made by CUPW president, Mike Palecek, said Canada Post forced the union’s hand by refusing to accept a request from the federal labour minister to continue negotiations under a 24-hour deadline extension with the help of a special mediator.

“From the outset, our goal has been a negotiated collective agreement without service disruptions. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Canada Post, whose president and CEO Deepak Chopra refused the minister’s request.”

A spokesman from Canada Post said that was not the case.

“Canada Post will fully co-operate in the (mediation) process,” Jon Hamilton stated in an email.

“We hope that the assistance of a neutral third party will help both parties address the real challenges facing the postal service caused by declining mail volumes and increasing pension obligations.”

A Glimmer Of Hope

On Thursday, the union did provide some hope after stating that a strike could be averted. “We are still willing to withdraw our notice if Canada Post agrees to an extension,” said Palecek.

Canada Post has reiterated that it “remains committed to reaching agreements that are fair to our employees and allow us to continue to provide affordable pricing and service to Canadians.”

Final Thoughts

As of now, both Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers are cooperating with the mediation process – a positive step towards hope for a resolution by Sunday.

It is not immediately clear whether the strike action would result in a full disruption of mail and parcel deliveries, something that — if it does happen — could come as early as next week.

As always we will continue to keep you updated as further details are released. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


UPDATE | August 17th, 2016 –

Negotiations have continued between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, but unfortunately they’re not any closer to a resolution. Over the next ten days, some activity is expected as the union will attempt to address the expiration of their 60-day strike mandate – set to expire on August 25th, 2016.

Based on options available to CUPW, Canada Post expects a 72-hour strike notice to be issued by the union between now and August 25th.

This does not necessarily mean a full-scale work disruption will occur with the strike notice, as the union recently reiterated that their intentions are not to go on strike.

What happens after the strike mandate expires? 

Essentially, Canada Post management could unilaterally impose changes in working conditions and the union wouldn’t be able to respond. During an interview on Tuesday, CUPW president Mike Palecek said, “We’re concerned Canada Post is just trying to wait us out.”

The CUPW could take another strike vote, but each strike only lasts 60 days. Palecek said that would be an expensive, time-consuming process. “We want to keep negotiations going and we’re looking at ways that could happen.”

Meanwhile, Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton said that the strike mandate’s upcoming expiration shouldn’t be an issue if the union is actually willing to negotiate a fair deal. The looming threat of a possible strike is hurting business as customers are looking for long-term certainty.

Both teams are staying committed to reaching a collective agreement and they’ll continue negotiations at the bargaining table.

As always we will continue to keep you updated as further details are released. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


UPDATE | July 11th, 2016 –

Canada Post drops lockout threat and is back at the bargaining table with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

On Sunday, July 10th, there were signs of progress as Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk, encouraged the two sides to continue discussions beyond a deadline of 12:01 a.m. ET that was originally set by Canada Post for Monday, July 11th.

“I am pleased that there has been movement at the bargaining table and that progress is being made,” the minister said.

“I remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached by the parties.”

Following the minister’s statement, Canada Post issued a brief statement that said it had withdrawn its lockout notice “which will allow both parties to focus their efforts on serious negotiations.”

“We are also expecting the union to honor their repeated public statements that they have no plans to issue a strike notice,” it said. “Assurance from both parties that the postal system will remain open for business while we negotiate will provide the certainty that Canadians and our employees are looking for.”

Therefore, you can expect mail services to continue without interruption, and you can ship with confidence. In the event of a strike or lockout, either party must issue a 72-hour notice and should this occur you’ll be advised immediately. At that time, Canada Post will work with customers to keep them informed and to prevent product from being trapped in their postal system.

Canada Post initially served a lockout notice to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers for last Friday, but later delayed the notice until Monday. Recently dropping the lockout threat has provided certainty and allows both parties the opportunity to focus on serious negotiations.

As always we will continue to keep you updated as further details are released. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


UPDATE | July 8th, 2016 –

Canada Post mail service disruption on Monday July 11th seems less likely after Canada Post has agreed to a short-term extension proposed by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).

Canada Post has agreed to a 30-day “cooling off period” to negotiate a new contract without a strike or lockout. However, if both parties are unable to successfully reach an agreement within that period, both parties must agree to binding arbitration.

Earlier in the week, the CUPW rejected Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk’s proposal to submit to binding arbitration as a “matter of principle.” On Friday morning, however, the national president of the CUPW, Mike Palecek, issued the following statement:

“Our members, their families and all Canadians do not deserve to have this threat of a lockout ‘looming’ over our heads from a profitable public service. Postal workers want to work and people need to know that it’s safe to use the mail system.”

The uncertainty has caused a tremendous impact on businesses, customers, and their employees. The amount of mail and parcel volumes Canada Post normally processes and delivers has declined significantly. Parcel volumes from their most major e-commerce customers have dropped by more than 80%. On July 7th alone, mail volumes were down by over 80% when compared to the same day last year.

A short-term extension, requested by the union, with the continued threat of a service disruption will not reverse the recently declined mail and parcel volumes. However, the 30-day, extended “cooling-off” period will end the uncertainty for now and allow for further discussions between both parties in hopes they come to an agreement. The union is prepared to engage in “intensive” negotiations with Canada Post during this time, while Canada Post is “committed to reaching settlements that are affordable and reasonable”.

As always we will continue to keep you updated as further details are released. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


UPDATE | July 7th, 2016 –

Canada Post is extending its lockout notice to Monday, July 11th at 12:01 a.m. ET.

The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, MaryAnn Mihychuk, has asked both Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) to submit to binding arbitration to resolve the current impasse at negotiations. Canada Post agreed to voluntarily submit to binding arbitration in an effort to resolve the ongoing labour dispute.

After seven months of negotiations, Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers remain far apart on key issues at the bargaining table. The uncertainty caused by the prolonged negotiations is severely impacting businesses, employees, and customers.

Canada Post has extended its deadline, which had been Friday, in hopes the CUPW would also agree to binding arbitration and end the uncertainty.

There can be no legal work disruption before 12:01 a.m. on Monday July 11th, 2016.

As always we will continue to keep you updated as further details are released.


July 5th, 2016 –

Canada Post 72-hour Lockout Notice

Canada Post has issued a 72-hour lockout notice to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW-Urban and CUPW-RSMC), representing delivery agents and warehouse employees. Canada Post said it intends to lock out its workers starting on Friday July 8th, 2016 after months of failed negotiations.

The 72-hour notice does not necessarily mean that Canada Post will not be operating and mail will stop being delivered on Friday.

Rather, Canada Post has stated, that the lockout notice “allows the Corporation to take measures that are necessary to respond to the changing business reality.” These efforts include changing the terms and conditions of employment represented by the union starting on Friday July 8th, 2016.

Both sides have said they are hopeful a deal can still be reached before then.

Note – There can be no legal work disruption before 12:01 a.m. on Friday July 8th, 2016.

Customers should know that items sent during this time may be held in the postal system.

In the event of a full labor disruption, here’s what you can expect:

  • Canada Post will not operate.
  • Mail and parcels will not be delivered.
  • New items will not be accepted.
  • Any mail and parcels within the postal system during a work disruption will be secured & delivered as quickly as possible once normal operations resume.

As always we will continue to keep you updated as further details are released. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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