The Canadian Union of Postal Workers, frustrated at the pace of talks with Canada Post, is asking its urban operations members to vote on a strike. If the majority votes for a strike, the union would be in a stronger position to negotiate with Canada Post management in the current round of bargaining for a new contract.
A strike vote at this point does not mean there will be a strike, and such moves are common in the negotiating process. But the union warns in a press release that the country could be facing a postal strike “towards the end of April.”
Canada Post Corporation (CPC) is facing declining revenues at the same time as it needs to modernize its plants and expand its delivery routes as the country’s population grows.
CUPW says on its web site: “CPC negotiators presented what they portrayed as a ‘Global Offer’ to the Union on March 15th. The ‘offer’ contains few new proposals. It is mostly a collection of the demands for concessions they have previously tabled, with some new details.
TORONTO – The union representing some 3,800 Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) customer service and sales agents says it is applying for conciliation following several weeks of bargaining “with little progress.”
The Canadian Auto Workers union local 2002, which represents the employees, has been meeting with the airline since Feb. 11.
The union says its employees have seen cut backs in vacation and break times, while delivering productivity increases and is looking for a wage increase.
It says it has filed a notice of dispute under the Canada Labour Code to begin the conciliation process, a step that must be followed.
SAINT JOHN—A union representing locked-out Moosehead Brewery workers in New Brunswick says the two sides have agreed to return to the bargaining table.
Brewery Workers Local 362 says its members will remain locked out during the talks, which are set to resume on Wednesday.
The 172 union members work at the Moosehead plant in Saint John.
They were locked out Feb. 20 after an impasse in contract talks.
“Our members have spoken loud and clear that the employer’s offer is simply not good enough,” says Joan Jessome.
Halifax (16 Mar. 2011) – Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union (NSGEU/NUPGE) members of the Health Care Bargaining Unit employed by the Capital District Health Authority voted in favour of strike action to back their demands at the bargaining table.
“Local 42 is in conciliation all this week and it is our intention to try to reach a collective agreement that the membership will accept and avoid job action,” says NSGEU President Joan Jessome.
Wage settlements average 1.2 per cent
Public sector workers appear headed for some tough times at the bargaining table.
Over all, union wage settlements in Canada averaged 1.2 per cent in January, according to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. That’s the lowest since an average 0.9 per cent in March of 2010, and below January’s inflation rate of 2.3 per cent.
What’s notable in the numbers is the impact on the public sector, a sign of things to come as governments pull back after the stimulus efforts of the recession.
A review of 11 collective bargaining settlements in January, covering almost 62,000 employees, showed public sector union gains of 1.2 per cent, compared to 2 per cent in the private sector, though the latter came in just one labour agrement.
Still, said BMO Nesbitt Burns economist Robert Kavcic, wage gains in the public sector “will likely be under pressure for some time as fiscal restraint runs its course.”
Less than a week after a strike was narrowly averted at Brock University, another group of unionized workers there might soon be in a position to form their own picket lines.
Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation District 35, representing about 240 clerical, administrative and library employees, could take legal strike action Sunday at 12:01 a.m.
The union has been without a collective agreement since April 30, 2010.
Harvey Bischof, provincial executive officer for the OSSTF, said the union and Brock weren’t able to conclude bargaining when they last met with a conciliator Feb. 23.
While he would not release details, he said members “have been patient.”
“Their parking fees have gone up, their fees for long-term disability have gone up, and staff earns a modest wage that hasn’t moved up,” he said.
The Vancouver Island University administration and faculty are no closer to reaching an agreement after talks broke off this weekend, according to president of the VIU Faculty Association, Dan McDonald.
Mediated contract negotiations failed on Saturday, leaving students wondering if and when they will be able to complete their studies.
Many of the 9,000 full-time students are in support of the faculty strike, but others aren’t so sure about how the semester can be saved, or how to pay for an extra month of accommodations if necessary.
“I’m worried about losing the semester, but I’m really lucky to be in my first year,” says Lindsay Kohlhauser, a VIU Arts student. “I’ve heard of students with their practicum cancelled six weeks from graduation and now they can’t graduate.”
UFCW Local 175 members at National Car Rental on Atwell Drive in Etobicoke began legal strike action at 6:01 p.m. today.
The 95 workers voted down the most recent ‘offer’ from the company at a vote held March 10, 2011. Workers will be picketing at the Garage and Terminals 1 and 3 at Pearson International Airport handing out information flyers to consumers looking to rent vehicles through National.
“The employer, whose parent company is Enterprise, tabled numerous concessions in this round of negotiations and threatened to contract out the workers’ jobs if they didn’t achieve $2 million in savings,” explains Shawn Haggerty, president of UFCW Local 175. “It’s one of the most successful car rental companies in the world and these kinds of demands are unwarranted. The workers are taking a stand with the full support of their Union.”
TORONTO—Workers at Touchstone Youth Centre, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4358, voted 80 per cent in favour of strike action on Saturday, March 19.
“We have no desire to go on strike – we certainly don’t want to take our services away from the young people who use our facility,” said Melanie Concepcion, Unit Chair of CUPE 4358.
Touchstone Youth Centre is a 32-bed emergency shelter for 16 to 24 year old homeless and at risk youth. In addition to shelter, the workers address the many issues of homeless youth by offering an Employment Program, Housing Help, a Drop-In Centre and an Outreach Worker.
This August will mark 20 years of assisting youth. Located just east of Toronto’s downtown core, Touchstone is staffed by CUPE members 24 hours a day, 365 days a year providing food, shelter, counselling, and emotional support for youths in need.
More than 700 workers at Teck Resources’ Elkview coal mine in southeastern British Columbia have voted 57 per cent to reject a tentative five-year collective agreement, prolonging a strike that began in late January.
They have worked without a contract since the end of October.
Teck said it would restart talks with the union bargaining committee.