Canada Post: Union tells members to ‘get ready’ as strike mandate expires

National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Mike Palecek.
National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Mike Palecek. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

UPDATE: Postal workers union abruptly cancels news conference

The union representing 50,000 Canada Post workers says it will issue a 72-hour strike notice on Thursday “if nothing changes” in the negotiations with the Crown corporation.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers issued a release Wednesday afternoon after meeting with Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk and Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra on Tuesday.

“Our National Executive Board (met) this morning to consider the position that Canada Post is maintaining,” the release said.

“The NEB will decide on what strike activities we may engage in. If nothing changes between now and tomorrow, we will be issuing our 72-hour notice of strike activity. The NEB will not make this decision without careful thought and serious consideration.”

READ MORE: What are the Canada Post talks about anyway?

The union’s strike mandate runs out on Thursday, leaving it with three options: go back to the membership and get another 60-day mandate (which union president Mike Palecek argued would be time-consuming and expensive), get Canada Post to agree to extend the strike mandate in writing, or issue the strike notice.

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Last week, Canada Post declined to extend the mandate, and said contract negotiations with CUPW had reached an impasse.

What happens now?

The union is warning its members that they must continue showing up for work until a strike is launched, which would happen Sunday if the 72-hour notice is given on Thursday.

It’s unlikely the government will step in, at least not right away. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stated repeatedly that Ottawa will respect the collective bargaining process.

WATCH: Justin Trudeau confident Canada Post agreement will be reached

Click to play video: '‘We respect labour’: Trudeau confident Canada Post agreement will be reached'
‘We respect labour’: Trudeau confident Canada Post agreement will be reached

If a strike or lockout begins, any letters or parcels in the system will remain there until service resumes.

The exceptions are Old Age Security, Canada Pension Plan, Working Income Tax Benefit and Canada Child Benefit cheques, which are considered essential and will still be delivered.

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You can check your local government websites to see what options and recommendations are in place should there be a service disruption.

READ MORE: Canada Post: Labour dispute a dark cloud over annual public meeting

The Manitoba government — which mails approximately 50,000 cheques every month — has made arrangements for government cheques and other essential mail to be available for pickup at designated locations.

The British Columbia government, meanwhile, has been encouraging people to sign up for direct deposit payments, as has New Brunswick’s government.

For online orders caught in limbo, each retailer’s policy is unique. The best first step is to check your email inbox for a notice, or check the website from which you’ve ordered.

Online order confirmations generally list what service is being used to deliver your goods. If it’s not Canada Post, you’re in the clear.

-With files from Tania Kohut

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