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Midnight deadline passes for striking Canada Post workers

Last Updated Nov 18, 2018 at 2:03 am EST

Idle Canada Post trucks sit in the parking lot of the Saint-Laurent sorting facility in Montreal as rotating strikes hit the area on Thursday November 15, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

OTTAWA — Striking Canada Post employees have failed to reach a deal before a midnight Saturday deadline.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said Friday it would not bring the latest offers to a vote of its members, although it said both sides remained at the bargaining table.

In a Friday news release, the CUPW says Canada Post workers are “the most injured group of all federal workers,” and adds striking employees and the union have to keep up the pressure.

“We understand that our customers are frustrated; we are also frustrated,” the release quotes Mike Palecek, CUPW’s national president, adding that Canada Post has an injury rate 5.4 times higher than the rest of the federal sector.

“We already know that the root cause of the high injury is the changes in the work process imposed by Canada Post over the last 10 years, and we have presented real solutions, which Canada Post does not address in their offers.”

Canada Post, for its case, says it offered “a significant” deal last Wednesday that addresses the safety concerns and includes a signing bonus of up to $1,000 for each employee.

“To reinforce our commitment to the health and safety of our employees, a new $10 million Health and Safety fund to pay for joint initiatives to accelerate making the corporation a model organization in safety,” Canada Post says in the Wednesday release. “On the handling of mail, we propose to send the matter back to Arbitrator Burkett, who is one hearing day away from addressing it.”

Canada Post’s deal is good for four years and is estimated at $650 million. The Crown corporation adds the worker strikes will affect the holiday season with postal trailers already backlogged in Toronto, at 260, and in Vancouver at 100.

Government may step in to legislate employees back to work

The federal government could make decisions on how to end the Canada Post labour dispute as soon as Sunday, if rotating strikes continue beyond a midnight deadline for the latest contract offers from the Crown corporation.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said all options would be on the table to end postal disruptions, and a government source says that includes legislation.

Strikes this weekend are happening in Edmonton, Kelowna and Saint John, N.B.

with files from The Canadian Press