July 21, 2020
The negotiating committee met July 13 though July 17 in Quebec City. We broke into subcommittees; one group to deal with proposals related to hours of work and another to deal with proposals related to feeder drivers, mechanics, subcontracting and Appendix B. This was done to speed up the process, better define the issues at hand and explain ourselves more clearly.
Other than monetary issues, these are the biggest points facing this set of negotiations. Monetary issues are usually dealt with after non-monetary language is negotiated.
As work was piled on you over the past months, so too were the challenges faced by UPS. The pandemic rapidly accelerated the increase in business-to-consumer volume. It has also caused a drop in business-to-business deliveries, which has traditionally been at the core of the company’s business model and our members’ livelihoods. We take comfort knowing our industry has remained busy compared to other sectors of the economy, but the world has forever changed.
With the delivery world turned upside down, this is not a straightforward set of negotiations. As such, both the union and the company have made many proposals to adapt to this ever-changing work environment and the stresses you endure.
Our next set of meetings is scheduled for the week of August 10 in Ottawa.
In accordance with the Canada Labour Code, a conciliation officer has been requested and has now been appointed by the federal government. This has also started a countdown in the legal framework that governs federal labour relations. By law, there may be no strike or lockout during the 60-day conciliation process (ending September 12), and no strike or lockout during a 21-day cooling-off period immediately thereafter. This would make October 3 the deadline to have a new collective agreement. These time frames can be extended by mutual consent. Without an extension, a strike or lockout may be initiated with 72 hours notice.
Rest assured that we will take a strike vote before initiating strike action. No one wants a labour dispute, but we need to push this employer as hard as possible and to use all the tools at our disposal to make them take our demands seriously.
We will be setting further bargaining dates in September to aggressively negotiate a new collective agreement. At this time, the parties are still a long way apart in what we each think a settlement looks like.
Solidarity will guarantee a good contract in 2020.
Richard Eichel, Director, Parcel Division, Teamsters Canada
François Laporte, President, Teamsters Canada