Postal workers at the Castlegar Post Office were picketing Nov. 22. (Photo: Betsy Kline)

Postal workers at the Castlegar Post Office were picketing Nov. 22. (Photo: Betsy Kline)

Rotating postal strikes return to Trail, Rossland and Castlegar

Federal government tables legislation to end strikes

Members of the Columbia River Local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) returned to picket duty Thursday in Trail, Rossland and Castlegar as part of the ongoing rotating strike at Canada Post.

There are 75 unionized members, including temporary workers, in the three locations – 25 in Trail, five in Rossland and 45 in Castlegar.

Joanne Miller, Columbia River Local CUPW secretary treasurer, told the Trail Times Thursday morning the strike is set for that day only, so far, and any additional job action will come at the direction of the national leaders.

Luc Julien, president of the Columbia River Local, said in a press release, the union is ensuring social-assistance payments will be delivered despite the job action.

“Locally, we made management aware that social assistance cheques have been languishing in our depots for several days but they didn’t release them on schedule,” added Julien. “It would be dishonest of them to blame our strike for any possible delays, but in any event, CUPW has agreed to make sure that socio-economic assistance payments will be delivered regardless of whether or not we are on picket lines.”

Julien pointed a direct finger at Canada Post for the bargaining impasse.

“Why would management bother to negotiate in good faith when they have their friends in government ready to aid them with a legislated solution?” asked Julien. “They have stalled for nearly a year to bring the dispute to this busy time of year, so they have the excuse of mail backlogs to ask the Trudeau government to intervene,” he said.

Canadian Press reported the Trudeau government has introduced legislation to force an end to rotating strikes by Canada Post employees.

Labour Minister Patty Hajdu tabled the bill in the House of Commons Thursday, just one day after a special mediator was re-appointed in an effort to reach contract agreements between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.