Chilliwack could face mail delays

Chilliwack mail might be delayed if it must go through a big city where rotating strikes by Canada Post workers are being mounted, said Pete Butcher, president of the Upper Fraser Valley local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

Chilliwack mail might be delayed if it must go through a big city where rotating strikes by Canada Post workers are being mounted, said Pete Butcher, president of the Upper Fraser Valley local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

“By the looks of it, they’re targeting the big cities first,” he said.

“All of Chilliwack’s mail goes through Vancouver,” he said, so if the rotating strikes that started five days ago move there, “it would have a delaying effect.”

But Butcher said the larger concern ought to be the outcome of CUPW’s negotiations because it has been on the front line of union struggles that led to advances enjoyed by all Canadians, including Medicare and unemployment insurance.

He said postal managers are asking for a rollback in pension benefits, replacement of 15 sick days per year with seven “personal” days and a two-tier wage system that would see new employees paid less than others doing the same job.

Canada Post spokesmen say the negotiations are about the challenges faced by the corporation because of the impact of the Internet on revenues.

The bargaining talks continue, but Butcher said postal workers “don’t want to back down.”

CUPW’s 48,000 members voted 94.5 per cent in favor of taking strike action.

The previous contract expired on Jan. 31, 2011 and negotiations started in October last year.

The rotating strikes hit Victoria on Tuesday and Calgary on Wednesday.

Butcher said he didn’t know when Vancouver might be hit.

rfreeman@theprogress.com