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
CUPW has formally declined the offer made this morning, and we understand based on the most recent CUPW bulletin that they are “Rejecting Binding Arbitration”.
In response, Jessica McDonald, Chair of the Board of Directors and Interim President and CEO of Canada Post, has reached out directly to Mike Palecek, National President of CUPW, to remove the condition of binding arbitration from our latest proposal of a cooling-off period.
Every other element of our offer, including the special payment of up to $1,000 for CUPW-represented employees, remains valid until 5 pm ET today.
Canada Post offers special payment of up to $1,000 to all CUPW-represented employees as part of a last-ditch effort to deliver the holidays
With no deal emerging from the weekend’s efforts, Canada Post is focusing on saving the holiday season deliveries that are so critical for retailers, charities and Canadians.
In a last-ditch effort to deliver the holidays, Canada Post has proposed to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) that the two parties work together through January during a cooling-off period that would immediately end rotating strikes, allow for mediation to resume and introduce a process to achieve a final resolution.
“With the rotating strikes, resulting backlogs, and the massive Black Friday and Cyber Monday volumes that will arrive within days, we are trying everything we can to work together with the union – urgently – to deliver the holidays to Canadians,” says Jessica McDonald, Chair of the Board of Directors and Interim President and CEO. “This proposal also includes a way for the parties to resolve their differences and these negotiations.”
There is an urgent need for Canada Post to restore full operations. With hundreds of trailers loaded with parcels already backlogged at our facilities – and the growing repercussions for customers and the Canadian retail economy –this proposal is open for acceptance until 5:00 p.m. on November 19. After that time, Canada Post would lose its last window of opportunity to clear the backlogs before the oncoming wave of volumes reaches its facilities.
In an effort to restore full operations and deliver oncoming volumes, Canada Post is proposing:
• A cooling-off period, effective immediately and lasting until January 31, 2019, which is past the holiday peak volumes, as well as high volumes driven by Boxing Day sales and the return of holiday purchases in January. During the cooling-off period, CUPW would not strike or take any other job action, and the Corporation would not lock out employees;
• Immediately starting further mediation with a jointly-agreed, government-appointed mediator until the end of the cooling-off period;
• A special payment of up to $1,000 for CUPW-represented employees that would be paid at the end of January if there is no labour disruption before the cooling-off period ends;
• To reinstate both collective agreements with CUPW, including all employee benefits, for the duration of the cooling-off period;
• If agreements have not been reached by January 31, the mediator would submit recommendations for settlement. If they are not adopted by the parties, binding arbitration would be introduced.
Canada Post is making this proposal in a spirit of cooperation and in hope of delivering the holidays to Canadians and avoiding the significant financial and economic damage that would be felt if rotating strikes continued.
Today, Canada Post tabled a significant, time-limited offer to quickly bring discussions to a close and reach negotiated settlements with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), both Urban and RSMC.
Both offers include pay increases for all employees of 2 per cent per year for four years. We are also taking the extraordinary measure of offering a signing bonus of up to $1,000 for full-time employees and pro-rated for others to ensure we can all deliver holiday mail and parcels to Canadians while minimizing delay.
This offer also includes improvements to address the Union’s concerns around workloads and other issues. For example, for RSMCs, we now propose to give job security to route holders with 10 years of continuous service as a route holder or permanent relief employee, and we now propose weekend parcel delivery payments of $2 for each parcel.
In order to reinforce our commitment regarding the health and safety of our employees, we are also proposing a new $10-million Health and Safety Fund. It will pay for jointly identified initiatives that will accelerate our progress to improving our safety and reduce all incidents.
The offer contains significant improvements designed to conclude negotiations and get us all ready for the holiday season. It is all we can afford and represents the best opportunity to resolve negotiations.
If we can’t reach a resolution by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, November 17, 2018, it will unfortunately have to be withdrawn and re-evaluated based on the real and lasting impact that continued disruptions at this time of year would have on our customers and our business.
An important message to CUPW-represented employees and the offers are below.
CUPW offers – Message to employees and summaries (Urban & RSMC)
We will continue to keep you informed of key developments through your team leaders and the Negotiations Hub.
While we remain at the bargaining table, ready to negotiate, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) today began strike action. As a result, Canada Post will follow the process in the Canada Labour Code to change the terms and conditions of your employment.
Read a letter from Interim Chief Human Resources Officer Ann Therese MacEachern about this.
Read the details of the new terms and conditions of employment for employees represented by CUPW-Urban.
We will continue to keep you informed of developments through your team leaders and the Negotiations Hub online. You can also see updates by visiting canadapost.ca and clicking on “I’m an employee.”
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