Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers have reached tentative two-year renewal agreements
An important message from Susan Margles, Chief People and Safety Officer
I am pleased to share that Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) have reached tentative two-year renewal agreements for employees represented by both bargaining units (CUPW-Urban and CUPW-RSMC).
These tentative agreements are now subject to ratification, so details will be shared in the coming days. However, I would like to speak to the process that got us to this point.
First, I would like to thank the members of the National Executive Board at CUPW for responding to our request to discuss a potential renewal of the collective agreements, which were set to expire at end of the year. The shared goal was to see if we could find a path forward that would provide employees, customers and Canadians with much-needed certainty as the country builds back from COVID-19.
Second, I would like to thank everyone involved in these discussions for their efforts to work through issues and reach a positive outcome.
If ratified, the two tentative renewal agreements would be in effect until December 31, 2023 (RSMC) and January 31, 2024 (Urban).
Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) are in discussions regarding a potential two-year renewal of current collective agreements. The agreements are for employees represented by both CUPW bargaining units (CUPW-Urban and CUPW-RSMC).
After a challenging year for employees, customers, Canadians and the company, Canada Post approached CUPW to discuss a renewal of the current collective agreements. Understanding the importance of providing certainty for employees and Canadians as the country begins to build back from COVID-19, both parties agreed to work together to find a mutually acceptable path forward.
At this point in the process, the content of these discussions remains confidential. If tentative agreements are reached, they will be subject to a ratification vote.
The current collective agreements are in effect until December 31, 2021 (RSMC) and January 31, 2022 (Urban).
As you know, Arbitrator Elizabeth MacPherson’s final decision on June 11, 2020 included wage increases for 2018, 2019 and 2020 year-to-date for CUPW-represented employees. These wage increases will be paid out retroactively from August through October.
Retroactive pay calculations can be complicated and confusing, and are not always clearly explained on an employee’s pay statement. With that in mind, we’ve prepared a document to help Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMC) understand how retroactive pay is calculated when it appears on their pay statement.
Download this illustrative sample pay statement of a Rural Suburban Mail Carrier to better understand how retroactive pay is calculated.
We are currently finalizing the payout schedule for CUPW-represented employees who are entitled to retroactive pay following Arbitrator Elizabeth MacPherson’s final decision on June 11, 2020. The decision included wage increases for 2018, 2019 and 2020 year-to-date for CUPW-represented employees and will be paid out retroactively.
We are working to implement these changes as quickly as possible, however it will take some time to calculate what each employee is owed and to process these retroactive wage increases. Here’s why:
- To ensure that every employee receives what they are entitled to, the company is reviewing millions of pay records for more than 50,000 employees dating back more than two and a half years. This is a complex and partly manual exercise that takes a significant amount of time.
- The retroactive payments will be paid out to employees over five separate pay periods. The significant number of pay changes, if processed all at once, could cause a surge and undermine our computer systems, affecting pay and possibly other parts of our operations.
- Within each of the five pay periods, we will pay out the maximum number of employees possible without risking a system failure or operational disruption.
We are working diligently to ensure each employee receives an accurate assessment. The plan is to begin payments in August and implement all changes in stages over five pay periods:
- August 6, 2020: Retroactive pay for 2020 (Urban), plus the Rest Period Allowance for 2020 (Urban and RSMC)
- August 20, 2020: Retroactive pay for 2020 (RSMC)
- September 3, 2020: Retroactive pay for 2019 (Urban), plus the Rest Period Allowance for 2019 (Urban, RSMC)
- September 17, 2020: Retroactive pay for 2018-2019 (RSMC), plus the Rest Period Allowance for 2018 (Urban, RSMC)
- October 1, 2020: Retroactive pay for 2018 (Urban)
This schedule has been shared with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).
If you have questions, please contact AccessHR at 1-877-807-9090.
The date of the annual wage increase for Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMCs) is January 1 in each year of the new four-year collective agreement. Wage increases for 2018, 2019 and 2020 will be retroactive to the January 1 date, and the 2021 increase will take effect on January 1 next year.
An incorrect date of February 1 was in Arbitrator Elizabeth McPherson’s ruling last week and in our communications to employees. She has acknowledged her error.
Canada Post has just received the final decision from Arbitrator Elizabeth MacPherson.
We are currently reviewing the 57-page document with a commitment to share the details and what they mean to employees shortly.
At this point, we can share with you that the decision includes wage increases for employees represented by both bargaining units of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW-Urban and CUPW-RSMC) of 2.0% effective Feb. 1, 2018; 2.0% effective Feb. 1, 2019; 2.5% effective Feb. 1, 2020, and 2.9% effective Feb. 1, 2021.
As well, the two new collective agreements (both Urban and RSMC) are four years in length, meaning they are in effect until December 31, 2021 (RSMC) and January 31, 2022 (Urban).
Canada Post would like to thank the Arbitrator for her diligence and professionalism in working with both parties. We would also like to thank employees for their patience during this process.
Here is the complete Arbitrator’s decision.
The Minister of Labour has agreed to extend the arbitration process by six months, to June 30, 2020, at the request of the arbitrator.
Arbitrator Elizabeth MacPherson, whose mandate was set to expire on December 31, 2019, now has until the end of June to deliver two new collective agreements between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW-Urban and CUPW-RSMC). The two parties have been in arbitration since January of this year.
Arbitrator MacPherson intends to write her decision in May, have it translated in June and table it on deadline.
It remains business as usual until such time as the arbitration process concludes. Once complete, we will communicate results.
We will continue to keep you informed of significant developments. Thank you for your patience and continued commitment to customers during this process.
On May 9, 2019, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour extended the arbitration process to the end of the year at the request of the arbitrator.
Arbitrator Elizabeth MacPherson now has until December 31, 2019 to reach two new collective agreements between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).
The two parties have been in arbitration since January of this year. The Union is currently presenting its case to the arbitrator, and Canada Post will follow.
The arbitrator’s request for an extension demonstrates the complexity of the matters being examined. We believe this process will bring us to a resolution on some long-standing issues and provide certainty for our customers and employees.
In a letter to the Minister dated April 29, 2019, the arbitrator confirmed her goal is to finish hearing evidence and arguments by the end of October. She expects to write her decisions in November and provide final, translated versions in December of this year. Her decision will impose a binding settlement that forms the basis of new collective agreements for CUPW-Urban and CUPW-RSMC. In the meantime, the previous collective agreements still apply.
We understand this has been a difficult process and that you would like it resolved as quickly as possible. To keep you informed, we intend to start providing updates more frequently through your team leader and the Negotiations Hub.
Thank you for your continued patience and commitment to customers during this critical time.
I am writing to you today as I reflect on the holiday season, the year we have had, and Canada Post’s future moving forward.
Over the first part of the year, we saw the Corporation continue its success in the parcel business, with volumes growing approximately 24% over the previous year. While letter mail continued to decline, Neighbourhood Mail revenues held strong, and our service earned us new customers in both our Parcels and Direct Marketing lines of business.
Alongside these huge successes, we continued to work through challenges as we adapt our business from structures that were built to deliver letter mail. We need to expand our network capacity and improve our IT systems to provide customer service that is competitive with other parcel carriers. We need to redesign our rural and urban route measurement systems so they are more accurate and support balanced workloads. And most importantly, we need to identify and address key safety issues to reduce our injury rates.
Also in 2018, important closure was reached on the key issue of pay equity with the arbitration ruling in September. As I have said before, equality on the basis of gender is a key human right and this ruling is of fundamental importance to how we pay RSMCs. Implementation is occurring as quickly as possible through a joint committee. RSMCs will see their pay increases from the ruling in January 2019. Full reconciliation and payment will occur by fall 2019, retroactive to January 2016, in accordance with the ruling and the agreements reached by the parties.
We have had a difficult year working through all of these issues. While we were on a positive financial path in the first half of the year, we have since lost a significant part of our customer base, and parcel volumes didn’t continue to increase as projected. Instead, parcel volumes over the holiday period have been lower than last year. Tremendous work has occurred across the company to get caught up from the backlogs, and I want to thank everyone for their contributions to this effort.
As we look ahead to 2019, I find myself reflecting on my first year with Canada Post. It is clear to me that this great company has a strong future serving Canadians. But to succeed, we need to find new ways of working together, listening to each other and being open to new solutions. I am committed to helping to find this path forward. While the CUPW collective agreement process is now moving to arbitration, starting in January, there is still much work to do to redesign our future together.
Sometimes, we just need a little help from each other to find our way on this path. Over the past few weeks, a number of people emailed me about the impact that the new terms and conditions had on them. As you know, with the withdrawal of work, whether through work stoppages or the overtime ban or other measures, the collective agreements ceased to apply and terms and conditions of employment defaulted to the Canada Labour Code. We made a number of special exceptions to this, like continuing prescription medication coverage, and creating a compassionate clause where individuals could continue to receive benefits in extenuating circumstances. One implication of the strikes was that benefits like vacation and personal days stopped accruing.
I have reviewed the issue of accrual of vacation and personal days. While this will not set a precedent for terms and conditions in any future work disruptions, I have made a decision to reinstate these days for everyone. I believe we all want to see a future for Canada Post where we have the potential to reset our relationship and work collaboratively on the important issues that need to be solved to be successful competing as a parcel delivery company. I hope making this change will help create an environment where we can talk, listen and work together on our future.
I wish you all the best for a happy and healthy holiday season.
Chair of the Board of Directors and Interim President and CEO
I wanted to write you to share my thoughts during this difficult period. No matter what job you do at Canada Post, our current situation affects you personally. I understand the uncertainty and strain of the last few months have made this a difficult time for everyone at Canada Post. While we continue working at the negotiating table with the assistance of the special mediator, efforts to reach negotiated settlements with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers have unfortunately failed to this point to find the common ground necessary to reach a resolution. We are now advising Canadians we will make best efforts to deliver the holidays, but they should expect lengthy delays as we deal with backlogs across our network. This is unfortunate given our proud tradition of delivering the holidays, but it is our current reality.
I am therefore writing to acknowledge your concerns and thank you for your contributions and patience through this process. First it’s important to recognize that many of you are in the middle of an important and difficult discussion about your livelihoods. Something that is very personal to most families is part of a very public discussion. Yet, despite these challenging circumstances, you continue to process and deliver mail to the best of your abilities. Everyone working in our operations has done a tremendous job keeping things moving and doing their best to support each other at a time when patience and understanding can be strained. Our shipping customers have also shown tremendous patience as it is their livelihoods, and the livelihoods of their employees that are also at stake.
Throughout this period, I want to reassure you that we made all decisions with our employees in mind. We’ve tabled offers that we believe are fair, recognize the contributions of employees and respond to the union’s concerns such as health and safety, which we agree requires increased attention in every respect. Our commitment to work collaboratively on important issues with the union on an ongoing basis has been sincere. When strike action began, terms and conditions changed, but we took measures to ensure cases of extenuating circumstances and undue hardship are addressed on a compassionate basis.
We have made numerous efforts to resolve these negotiations and return to normal operation. In doing so, we had to reach a difficult balance, because we also have an obligation to keep the postal service strong and financially viable, not just for today, but also for future generations. In our efforts to find the middle ground necessary to reach an agreement, we have made every effort to be fair to employees while also being responsible.
There is still a long way to go, but this stressful chapter at Canada Post will come to an end. When we do move forward, I recognize there will be work to do to repair many relationships – with customers, with Canadians, with unions, and especially with employees. The postal service is an incredibly resilient institution, but together we must win back the confidence of our customers. Together, our service and dedication will be imperative as we regain the trust of Canadians. We have work to do to improve our relationship with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers to build a strong postal service for the future. Finally, and most importantly, we are committed to always act with the best interest of our employees at heart, and ensure this guides our decisions.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, and the senior leadership team, I sincerely thank each and every one of you for all you have done during this difficult period and all you do every day to serve Canadians.
Chair of the Board of Directors and Interim President and CEO