Canadian postal workers strike could be a long one, according to union official

Click to play video: 'CUPW director weighs in on impact of postal strike so far'
CUPW director weighs in on impact of postal strike so far
Gord Fischer, national director for the prairie region of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, joins Global News Calgary to discuss the status of negotiations and weigh in on the impacts the strike has had so far – Nov 3, 2018

The union representing Canada Post workers appears to be in for a long strike, as minimal bargaining progress has been made in the past days, according to a senior union official.

Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) members have been on a rotating strike since Oct. 22. The group’s demands centre on health and safety concerns, workload, staffing and wages.

“We haven’t got much agreement on any of those areas,” Gord Fischer, CUPW’s national director for the prairie region, said in an interview Saturday on Global News Morning.

“It’s been two weeks and we haven’t seen much movement on the other side.”

Officials from Canada Post have stated that “significant offers” have been made to CUPW “that include increased wages, job security, and improved benefits.” The rotating strikes have caused a backlog of parcels and packets, according to the corporation, which has led to delivery delays.

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“We knew that there would be delays in people receiving parcels and other mail items, so we foresaw that,” Fischer said.

“We certainly don’t want to, at this point, shut down the postal service; we know that it’s important to many people.”

A mediator, appointed by the federal labour minister, had been working with both sides to reach an agreement, but his mandate ended on Friday. Though the mediator had “worked hard” with both parties, Fischer said, the two sides ultimately didn’t budge.

CUPW’s rotating strikes have hit a number of communities across Canada, including the Alberta cities of Edmonton, Calgary and Red Deer. Fischer said the union’s membership is determined to achieve their demands.

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“I think their resolve is there, so they will stay out as long it as takes to make that happen,” Fischer said.

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