Some Canada Post Workers May Strike

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Employees representing 4 percent of Canada Post's work force threatened to strike by Dec. 8 unless they receive improvements in health benefits and job security.

Of the 2,400 members of the Union of Postal Communications Employees, 73 percent voted to strike, union president Luc Guevremont said Friday in a statement.

"It's a strong strike mandate from our members," Guevremont said. "This tells us that our members are deeply concerned about their wages, benefits and working conditions and are frustrated with management's refusal to address their issues."

The union said Canada Post offered proposals containing rollbacks on health and dental benefits, severance pay and more, and refused to address in any meaningful way many of its priorities, including job security, staffing of positions and treatment of surplus employees.

"We made them a global offer about three weeks ago -- except for wages -- and they haven't responded to that offer," said John Caines, a Canada Post spokesman. "In addition, they are talking about priority issues, but they haven't brought them up with us, so we don't know what they are."

The union, the smallest of four at Canada Post, represents mostly clerical workers such as customer service agents. Canada Post said a strike would not disrupt service.

"These people don't handle the mail," Caines said. "They are clerical support."

The postal communications employees have been without a contract since the end of October and have been negotiating with Canada Post since July.

Negotiations continued yesterday, and a union spokesperson said he hoped an agreement would be reached by Dec. 8 to avert a strike.

Meanwhile, a tentative agreement on a six-year settlement was reached Nov. 23 by Teamsters Canada and UPS Canada, Mississauga, Ontario, ending a one-day strike in which 3,800 employees walked out. Details of the deal were not disclosed. It follows a previous tentative agreement that union members rejected earlier this month.

The Canadian employees' contract expired July 31. UPS met with the union during the past five months. The strike did not directly affect workers or packages in the United States or other destinations worldwide.

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