For more than a week, postal workers across the country have been on rotating strikes to protest working conditions and long hours.
Unionized workers were in a strike position as of Sept. 26 but waited until Oct. 22 to begin rotating strikes.
That move put the strikes right within the delivery window for a wave of orders placed for newly-legal cannabis delivery.
Those strikes have continued in cities and towns across the country ever since.
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After two days of rotating strikes in Toronto last week, the union set its sights on Montreal this week, warning that “Montréal is an important processing hub, so the union’s rotating strike there will have a significant impact on our operations.”
The strikes in Toronto caused a backlog. The union later said it was “devoting significant resources” to deal with.
That includes extending mail collection and delivery throughout this past weekend and bringing in additional staff to help clear out the backlog.
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Strike action on Montreal started on Monday night and continued throughout Tuesday.
The union also began new rotating strikes in the Ontario towns of Cobourg, Deep River, Fort Frances, Kapuskasing, Kenora and Smiths Falls, as well as in Weyburn, Sask.
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While those new strikes began, workers also continued strikes already happening in Peterborough, Ont., as well as the B.C. communities of Prince George, Maple Ridge, Surrey, Chilliwack, Squamish, Langley, Port Coquitlam, Coguitlam, Abbotsford, New Westminster, Mission, Hope and Aldergrove.
Strikes in Ontario’s Thunder Bay, Oshawa and Pickering have now ended, as have those in Lloydminster in Saskatchewan and both Winnipeg and Brandon in Manitoba.
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Meanwhile, a dispute over cut benefits continues between striking workers and their Canada Post bosses.
The Crown corporation cut short-term disability benefits after the strike action began, saying the premiums needed to cover the benefits were not being paid and that since the union had not offered to cover them, “there is no legal obligation to continue those benefits.”
Those workers already on long-term disability will continue to receive their payments.
New claims for long-term disability benefits, however, will not be processed if they were submitted after the strike began.
CUPW, the union representing some 50,000 postal workers, is striking over health and safety concerns, forced overtime and what they describe as issues related to the increase in parcel deliveries.
The two sides have been trying to negotiate a new deal for the past year but have not succeeded.