Your empty mailbox should be a little extra stuffed this week as Canada Post carriers deliver mail that has piled up since workers began initial job action in early June. The Crown corporation, which locked out workers on June 14, is open for business again after the federal government passed legislation on Sunday forcing the 48,000 Canada Post workers back to work.
Members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, including mail sorters at the Glanford Avenue plant, resumed shifts Monday evening. Carriers were back on the street delivering mail by Tuesday when regular hours and services were also restored at Canada Post outlets.
“Everybody wants to get to work since we’ve been without pay and benefits for sometime now, but under (the government mandated) conditions it’s not good,” local CUPW president Janet Barnet said.
The back-to-work law imposes wage increases over the four-year contract, but leaves other issues up for arbitration over the next 90 days. Until that time, work will resume under the former contract that expired on January 31.
Local CUPW members lauded the New Democratic Party’s support during the negotiations in parliament and felt Bill C-6 fell short in terms of safety standards, staffing and pension issues. The local union has no intentions of defying the legislation, Barnet said. Rather, CUPW will fight for pensions through their support of the Canadian Labour Congress’s current campaign to increase the Canada Pension Plan benefits.
In the week before the June 14 lock out, a “large volume” of mail had already piled up at the plant as a result of sorters not working overtime, Barnet said, unwilling to predict when Greater Victoria will be caught up with the backlog.
“A lot of people thought we were on strike when we weren’t,” she said. “We were saying two weeks ago, unlock the doors and we’ll negotiate a contract but it never happened.”