Cranbrook postal workers on 24-hour strike Thursday

Potential for Canada-wide strikes to take place next week

Cranbrook Post workers went on strike Thursday morning, participating in ongoing rotating strikes that have been taking place across Canada for the past two weeks.

“We’re hoping that Canada Post will come to the negotiating table and negotiate seriously,” said Brent Bush, President of Cranbrook Local 728 Canadian Union of Postal Workers. “The Canadian Union Postal Workers, we want to negotiate a settlement for both our urban and rural bargaining units.”

A special mediator has been appointed for another four days and the union is hoping that a negotiated strike can be reached by the weekend, otherwise Bush said there is the possibility for a full-blown national strike next week.

Bush outlined the issues they are addressing with their strike, including work overloading, understaffing, health and safety issues, issues of pay equity, wage offers, pensions and security.

“So those sorts of things, but for many people across the country, especially letter carriers, it’s a matter of overburdening and understaffing. Seems to be a consistent policy of Canada Post all across the country and we’re just saying we’ve had enough,” Bush explained. “Our members are getting injured and it’s just intolerable and this has to end, and we’re going to force Canada Post to take us seriously at the negotiating table.”

Between urban and rural Cranbrook, there are about 60 members that are on strike. Kimberley is not on strike as of Thursday morning, and Bush said he is unsure of their plan for Friday.

“Primarily it’s just the Cranbrook area, but we are a hub so we feed up into the Elk Valley and then up into Kimberley and then further up the valley as well.”

Rotating strikes have occurred in Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes and have now reached B.C. The local Cranbrook Union received a call from their regional director with a go ahead to walk out, and Bush said that all unions are working towards a common goal.

“That’s to get Canada Post to come to the negotiating table and negotiate seriously with us and just not pay lip service but address the serious concerns that we have.”

Cranbrook workers will be on strike until 7:00 Friday morning, while the national mediator is in Ottawa with the National Union, and Bush hopes they can come to a negotiated settlement.

“I’m not sure how it’s going to go,” he said, “but with Canada Post’s position right now it looks like a high possibility that we’re going to be going out full-blown next week. I don’t know for sure, but that’s a distinct possibility.”

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