Labour

VIDEO: A public postal system is ‘part of our legacy as Canadians’

Dispute between CUPW and Canada Post could decide the future of Canada’s postal system
Photo: marc falardeau

With the help of special mediation, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and Canada Post have reached agreements in principle.

The announcement was made today, after nine months of negotiations that saw the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and Canada Post far apart on key issues, including changes to the pension plan and pay equity for rural and suburban mail carriers. Twice this week, the union delayed job action.

It seems that everyone has an opinion on the situation, including those outside the country. Yesterday, U.S. multinational eBay threw itself into the conflict by urging Canadian businesses to ask the prime minister to legislate an end to the labour dispute. It has even provided a letter for Canadians to sign.

Ricochet earlier spoke with a couple of CUPW’s leaders to find out what’s at stake in the protracted labour dispute.

“There’s no crisis at Canada Post,” said Mike Palecek, national president of the union. “Most people don’t know that the post office has actually been profitable 18 in the last 20 years. Most people don’t know that the post office doesn’t take a penny of taxpayer revenue. It’s actually a source of revenue for the federal government.”

Comparing postal workers to “the canary in the coal mine,” Palecek added that “governments always pick fights with the postal workers first. And in that way we end up holding the line for everyone an awful lot.”

Jan Simpson is the first national vice-president of the union.

“This Crown corporation has been there, and it’s part of our legacy as Canadians,” she said. “We want to keep it there, public and self-sufficient.”

Watch the full interview below.

UPDATE August 30, 2016, 6:30 p.m. EDT: The article was updated to include information about the agreements in principle and about eBay's actions.

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