Local business prepares for Canada Post strike

By Jessie Weisner
October 19, 2018 - 5:38pm Updated: October 19, 2018 - 7:21pm

 

MEDICINE HAT, AB -- Now that the Canadian Union of Postal Workers has issued a 72-hour strike notice, some local businesses are wary of what’s ahead. 

More than 55,000 workers could begin a strike as early as Monday morning.

Kristine Russell owns Rustic Pickle, an online business offering baby, kids and adult clothing.

She ships 75 per cent of her merchandise through Canada Post and with a possible strike looming, it's causing a bit of panic.

“I’m just hoping just for everyone’s sake, not just mine but other businesses,” says Russel. “That it’s resolved so that there isn’t that mad panic for a lot of businesses.”

After more than 10 months of negotiations, the union representing Canada Post employees could begin rotating strikes on Monday morning, meaning any given location could shut down for one or two days at a time. 

However, the locations and intensity will depend on what happens at the bargaining table over the weekend. 

As of right now, it's unclear if and when Medicine Hat could be impacted by pending job action.

“We’re playing it by ear,” says Doris Salmaso, president of the local branch of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. “Our national office will decide later on Sunday which locations will go out so we have no idea until that time.”

With uncertainty surrounding what may happen, Russell is already planning on how to deal with a potential strike.

She plans on posting a disclaimer on her website come Monday, warning customers about a possible delay.

“As long as I have the expectation laid out to my customers that there may be a delay,” says Russel. “It’s better than operating as usual and then having upset customers.”

There’s a lot of uncertainty around the potential strike, including its length.

It depends on whether a deal can be reached that satisfies the unions demands.

“We’re looking to negotiate and get a contract so hopefully we can get back,” says Salmaso. “Not have this hanging over our head and just get this all settled. There’s two parties negotiating and hopefully we can get some resolution and hopefully that happens sooner rather than later.”

Some of the biggest issues for postal workers are health and safety measures, job security and forced overtime.

It’s still unclear what Monday will look like, but until an agreement is made, workers will be prepared to walk out.
 

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