Kincardine and area postal workers walk off the job

Local 582 part of rotating strikes
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News

Postal workers at the Canada Post Kincardine were part of a CUPW rotating strike in southwestern Ontario on Tuesday. (Barb McKay photo)

 

By Barb McKay

 

Postal workers and carriers in Kincardine and surrounding communities held a one-day strike on Tuesday as part Canada Post’s rotating strikes.

 

More than 200 members of Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) Local 582, which represents Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, walked off the job at 12:01 a.m. Local President Peter McHugh said he expected the strike to last 24 hours. The CUPW has been holding rotating strikes for two weeks now after a year of unsuccessful negotiations with Canada Post.

 

“The issues are pay equity, overburden and the need to create more jobs,” McHugh said.

 

The union is trying to negotiate equal pay for rural mail carriers who currently are paid less than their urban counterparts. McHugh added that carriers are being overworked – expected to carry larger loads of parcels farther distances. He said Canada Post removed relay boxes along routes, which would allow carriers to pick up parcels along their route, despite the fact that volumes of mail, especially parcels, has increased.

 

“It’s the cheapest game in town, so people ship more with Canada Post,” McHugh said.

 

The overburden on carriers is a health and safety issue, he noted, as is the increased volume of marijuana that is being shipped through Canada Post.

 

A shortage of staff in Kincardine is a problem, the local president said. Currently, there are two full-time employees and one casual. He said the branch could use two more full-time workers.

 

McHugh said he expects the union will continue its rotating strikes, which seem to be working. In addition, the CUPW has put an overtime ban in place, meaning postal workers will not work any more than eight hours per day and 40 hours per week.