Postal union initiates strike activity

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has initiated strike activity, following more than seven months of negotiations with Canada Post.

But mail will still flow because it is a rotating strike.

Beginning Thursday night, members of the Winnipeg local were the first postal workers to legally strike in more than 13 years.

Key issues for the union are unsafe work methods, a proposed 22 per cent wage reduction for new hires — who would start at about $18 per hour — and the elimination of a sick leave plan. It also claims workers are being harassed when they are sick or injured.

Canada Post says changes are necessary due to declining letter volumes — 17 per cent per household in the past five years — and a $3 billion pension shortfall.

CUPW represents 48,000 members in its urban operations bargaining unit, and another 7,000 rural mail carriers at Canada Post. The Courtenay Local consists of 50 members and another 16 rural carriers.

The National Executive Board will evaluate the situation on a daily basis.

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