Pickering, Oshawa and Peterborough hit by rotating Canada Post strike

Peterborough, Pickering and Oshawa are the latest three cities in the Greater Toronto Area to be hit by a rotating strike action by Canada Post workers.

Members the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) walked off the job at 4 a.m. Monday in Pickering, while workers in Oshawa headed to the picket line at 6 a.m. They were joined by workers in Peterborough at 8 a.m.

Scarborough Local 602 President Mike Duquette says picket lines will be set up at a Canada Post retail outlet and depot in Pickering.

Strike action in other Canadian locations has typically lasted 24 to 36 hours. Duquette expects the Pickering and Clarington local job action to last 24 hours.

“This is a limited strategic strike targeting this location as Canada Post Corporation is starting a process of restructuring the station,” he said in a statement.

Canada Post customers can expect mail delivery and other services to be delayed because of the strike. The postal service, however, will remain open.

“Mail and parcels will not be delivered or picked up in the impacted areas while the union continues their strike activity,” Canada Post said in a memo posted on its website Monday.

Job security among points of contention

Contract negotiations between Canada Post and the union began in November 2017 with mediated talks starting earlier this year.

Unionized workers voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike in late summer after talks stalled. The job action began after negotiations failed to produce a new contract agreement before the union’s Oct. 22 strike deadline.

Rotating strikes were chosen to minimize the impact to customers, the union has said.

Last week, nearly 9,000 CUPW members walked off the job and headed to the picket lines in Toronto. They were back at work two days later, but the temporary work stoppage delayed the shipment of tens of thousands of letters and parcels across the country, said Mike Palecek, the union’s national president.

Key demands for the 50,000 CUPW members revolve around improved job security, ending forced overtime, better health and safety measures, and equality for rural and suburban mail carriers.

“Postal workers are fighting for good jobs, which balance work and home life, equality for all our workers and safe working condition,” Palecek said in a news release Monday.

Canada Post is the biggest parcel shipping company in the country, delivering about one million parcels a day during the holiday season in 2017, an increase of 20 per cent over the same period in 2016.

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