Rotating postal strike hits Nanaimo

Canada Post also issues three-day service to compensate for lower mail volumes

Wayde Heckford watches oncoming traffic on East Wellington Road

Rotating strikes held across the country by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers rolled through Nanaimo Monday, halting mail delivery in all urban areas for a day from Parksville to Ladysmith.

But Shane Lorenz, president of CUPW Local 786, said the rotating strikes are designed to affect mail customers far less than Canada Post Corporation’s mandated three-day delivery, which begins this week and is designed to compensate for reduced mail volume.

“We no longer have a collective agreement, so starting this week they’ve proposed three-day delivery, which we think will impact the public hugely, much more than our rotating strikes,” said Lorenz, who stayed on the picket line at the East Wellington postal facility from 10 p.m. Sunday to 10 p.m. Monday. “We believe they’re trying to encourage us into a full-blown strike which we don’t want to do because that would end postal service completely and that’s not what we want.”

Nanaimo residents will have mail delivered on Wednesday and Friday this week.

Until an agreement can be reached by the union and corporation, letter mail will not be delivered on Tuesdays or Thursdays (parcels will be delivered five days a week).

Negotiations to ratify a new collective agreement began in October while the current collective agreement covering about 50,000 postal workers expired Jan. 31. Key issues at the bargaining table include benefits, most notably sick leave, and the modernizing of mail processing machines, among others.

According to the national Association of Workers’ Compensation Board, postal workers have one of the highest rates of sick or injury leaves in the country.

“We’re not opposed to modernization. We realize technology is going to change but the corporation’s position is ‘we’re implementing it and we’re not going to talk about it’ and when we raise the issue of worker safety they’re just not willing to listen,” said Tom Jackson, a regional CUPW representative based on the Lower Mainland who was in Nanaimo Monday in support of the one-day strike. “The corporation is taking a hard stand. Anything we try to propose they just reject it outright.”

About 150 postal workers in Nanaimo were part of the one-day strike Monday. None of them received pay, regular or strike, for the day.

Lorenz said rural and suburban carriers, who still have an intact collective agreement, will continue full service.

“Those are the carriers who drive their own vehicles and deliver to community mailboxes,” he said. “Their agreement is still intact so we don’t mind them crossing the picket line.”

Unionized postal workers were also on strike in nine other Canadian cities Monday, mostly at smaller locals, as part of the rotating strike action.

The rotating strikes are now in their 11th day.

Just Posted

‘Our culture is not a religion,’ indigenous educator tells Nanaimo court in case of smudging at school

Mother also gave evidence Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court, case continues Wednesday

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Time for a ban on leaf blowers

Loud noise can cause heart attacks, deafness and mental disorders, says letter writer

Nanaimo’s Kirkwood Academy presents 20th production of ‘The Nutcracker’

More than 150 dancers of all ages to participate in classic Christmas ballet Nov. 22-23

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A vegetarian diet is a viable choice

Plant diets can support more people than animal diets based on plant inputs, says letter writer

Nanaimo RCMP utilize new online crime reporting tool

Damage, mischief, theft under $5,000 can be reported online

Harbour City Theatre Alliance builds on tradition with ‘A Christmas Carol’

Local adaptation of the Christmas classic returns to Nanaimo starting Nov. 21

B.C. to advocate for frustrated, confused, unhappy cellphone users, says premier

Maple Ridge New Democrat Bob D’Eith to advocate for more affordable and transparent cellphone options

B.C. man who killed Belgian tourist near Boston Bar gets life in prison, no parole until 2042

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

Nanaimo boxers will look to land punches for Ringside Rescue program

Nanaimo Boxing Club holding a fundraiser card Saturday, Nov. 23, at Departure Bay Activity Centre

Nanaimo woman seeks knitters to make blankets for cats

Dale Burke inspired by creator of Comfort for Critters

B.C. to more than double sales tax on vaping products

Tax up from 7 to 20 per cent, tobacco tax up two cents

Site where rockslide occurred along Malahat is too narrow for rock blasting or drilling: Emcon

‘Rockfalls are inevitable, so we try to increase our response times,’ says representative

Daily cannabis linked to reduction in opioid use: B.C. researchers

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and chronic pain

Most Read