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Honk if you want your mail

Locked-out postal workers in Picton are hoping mail delivery in Prince Edward County will be back on track soon.
Three employees carried “locked out by Canada Post” signs outside the Picton office Friday morning and were receiving support from drivers passing by to their “Honk if you want your mail” posters.

“We don’t want to be here, but we have to,” a spokesperson said. “We want to get back to work and we want our mail, too. Not everybody uses the internet for banking and such.”
Canada Post and locked-out postal workers met for negotiations Thursday aimed at reaching a settlement before the federal government introduces back-to-work legislation.

“It is clear that the parties are still far apart because of (Canada Post’s) demands for concessions and their refusal to address the proposals of the union on issues such as health and safety, staffing and service expansion,” said Denis Lemelin, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, in a statement issued late Thursday night.

The national union is hoping a resolution can be reached.

“If Canada Post management has the will, there is still a way to negotiate an agreement. The parties are both completely aware of the issues,” said Lemelin. “There is still time to negotiate if CPC wants to.”

On Wednesday, Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt gave 48 hours notice of her intention to introduce a bill to end Canada Post’s lockout. The House of Commons isn’t sitting today due to the NDP policy convention, Monday is the earliest MPs can vote on the bill.

* * *

Mail delivery stopped across Canada

Canada Post locked out its workers Tuesday night and suspended all operations following 12 days of rotating strikes.
A Canada Post media release states that “Following 12 days of increasingly costly and damaging rotating strikes being carried out by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), Canada Post has suspended operations across the country. Delivery of government cheques will continue.

“The accelerating decline in volumes and revenue combined with the inability to deliver mail on a timely and safe basis has left the company with no choice but to make this decision.
“Specifically we have taken this action for the following reasons:

Rotating strikes have had a significant impact on the short-term revenue of the business. Canada Post’s estimated losses are approaching $100 million after today’s strike in Montreal and Toronto and that figure is climbing daily;
Over the past few days several incidents have raised concerns about the ability to move the mail while keeping our employees and customers safe;
Canada Post and CUPW remain far apart on several fundamental issues and there has been no progress made at the negotiating table for weeks;
If we allow the uncertainty created by the rotating strikes to continue, our ability to remain financially self-sufficient and not become a burden on Canadian taxpayers will be in jeopardy.

“We believe that a lockout is the best way to bring a timely resolution to this impasse and force the union to seriously consider proposals that address the declining mail volumes and the $3.2-billion pension deficit.

“Canada Post continues to believe that the best result from this round of bargaining is a negotiated settlement. The company had hoped to reach an agreement without a disruption in Canada’s postal service which is why the company made every effort to protect the pay, pension and job security of existing employees.”

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