Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 27/5/2011 (2333 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A month after a strike vote put Canada's postal service on notice, management and postal workers went public with the state of their negotiations.
In a word, they're not good but they are still talking.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers voted in favour of striking if a collective agreement with Canada Post was not reached by May 24. Their previous contract expired on Jan. 31.
The two sides remained at the table yesterday but the union rattled a few sabres to sharpen its edge in talks.
If a strike is called, the union must give 72 hours notice.
Mail delivery is Ottawa's main way to get federal cheques delivered. That includes monthly Canada Pension Plan and employment insurance payments.
Right now, Ottawa is sending out millions of dollars worth of tax refunds. The feds must pay interest on unpaid refunds so a strike could cost the government.
With those circumstances as a backdrop, the rhetoric has been heating up in recent weeks.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers called a press conference in Winnipeg yesterday morning to counter management rhetoric they call inflammatory.
Recent statements that union wage and benefit demands amount to a $40,000 more per worker are "ridiculous," said Bob Tyre, union president for 1,400 postal workers in the Winnipeg area.
"Canada Post always exaggerates the costs of our postal workers to grab a quick headline," Tyre said.
Rhetoric like that sours relations at the bargaining table, union representatives said.
The union used the press conference to release Canada Post's posted profits for 2009: $280 million in 2009.
"We shouldn't have to strike for Canada Post to take us seriously," Tyre said.
In Ottawa, management held firm.
"Negotiations are continuing in Ottawa and the union has not given a 72-hour notice of a work disruption," Canada Post spokesman John Caine said.
He repeated some of the rhetoric the union dislikes about workers' demands costing too much and said Canada Post's position is fiscally responsible and fair.
"Canada Post has tabled a competitive counter-offer to CUPW that gives employees better wages and protects their pensions and job security. With no potential for a strike, there is plenty of time to negotiate a fair and reasonable deal," Caine said.