About 50,000 unionized delivery and plant employees at Canada Post are now in a legal strike position after a midnight Jul. 2 strike deadline came and went with no sign of a new collective agreement.
In a post on their website, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers said they presented Canada Post on Friday with “Global Offers for the urban and RSMC (rural and suburban mail carriers) collective agreements.”
As a result, CUPW said they would not be issuing the required 72-hour notice of a strike, meaning there would be no “industrial action” before July 6th.
The passing of the strike deadline also means Canada Post is in a legal position to lock out employees with a 72-hour notice.
So far, neither side has issued the required notices for a strike or lockout.
The two sides have been fighting over cuts to pensions, benefits, and job security since December.
The union’s proposal came days after Canada Post tabled new last minute contracts before the strike deadline, and three days after a request from CUPW for a two-week negotiation extension was declined by Canada Post.
The offer from Canada Post, tabled on Jun. 25, included no cuts to pensions for both current and future employees, according to Canada Post spokesperson Jon Hamilton, who spoke to AM980 on Wednesday.
“We sent them a letter (Tuesday night) to say let’s get to the table. Our teams are primed and ready, we’re down at the hotel, they can work 24/7, there should be no greater priority,” Hamilton said.
In their counter-offer Friday, the union is proposing wage hikes, and rejecting Canada Post’s suggestion that new employees get a pension plan that operates like an RRSP, called defined contribution, instead of the defined benefit plan for current employees that guarantees a set level of retirement benefits.
With the deadline looming, companies including Bell Canada, TD Bank, Virgin Mobile, and American Express told customers not to expect statements in the mail in the event of a Canada Post labour disruption.
Businesses are encouraging customers to pay their bills online, over the phone, or at their local bank branch, and advise customers to avoid mailing in payments.
A labour disruption in 2011 lasted nearly three weeks before the federal government passed back-to-work legislation which the Supreme Court of Ontario later found to be unjust.