Some unionized Canada Post workers say their fight is about stopping any move backward and looking ahead.
Members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) are considering striking if their employer fails to realize how much they mean to the Crown corporation, members of the union’s Scarborough section say.
“Canada Post is the real dinosaurs,” CUPW president Denis Lemelin said at a union meeting at the Delta Toronto East Hotel last Tuesday. “They want to bring us back to the past.”
Some employees said they fear cutbacks will be made to their benefits and wages.
“We don’t really want to strike but we have to stand in solidarity,” said Shirley Cole, a 22-year veteran of Canada Post. “They [Canada Post] are trying to take back all the things we worked for all these years.”
Many employees aren’t angry with Canada Post, she said, but they do want to have jobs they enjoy going to everyday.
“I do love my job. It’s one of the best I’ve had in Canada,” Cole said. “But we have to fight for what we already had.
“We don’t want to give it up.”
Canada Post says it must make some changes to the current deal in order to keep some benefits in place.
“We want to protect what is near and dear to our employees,” said Jon Hamilton, spokesperson for Canada Post. “We want to put forward new protection plans. However, some things need to change so that other things don’t.”
According to Hamilton, protected pension plans and job security are among the things that will remain, but sick leave programs need to be changed.
But Cole feels the restrictions on sick leave are already too tight, she said.
“When you call in sick they kind of harass you,” she said.
Lemelin said the time to strike is near.
“At the moment you ask for consideration [on work methods], you have to set a time where people can exercise the right to strike or the right to lockout,”he said, “and this time is coming.
“We all need to work together to bring a bright future. We are going through transitions and we need … to look at the future.”
Strike votes will continue across the country until the results are collected on April 17. A strike vote could mean workers are of the job by the end of the month.