Maple Ridge postal workers locked out

Delivery will affect most of Maple Ridge;
rotating strikes cost Canada Post $100 million

Postal workers picket in front of the Maple Ridge delivery centre and post office on Lougheed Highway Wednesday after Canada Post decided to lock out its employees due to mounting losses from rotating strikes.

Postal workers picket in front of the Maple Ridge delivery centre and post office on Lougheed Highway Wednesday after Canada Post decided to lock out its employees due to mounting losses from rotating strikes.

Like many postal workers, Bridget Loewen didn’t find out Canada Post had locked out its employees until she showed up for work at 5:45 a.m. Wednesday.

She was joined by more than a dozen of her fellow workers at the Maple Ridge delivery centre and post office on Lougheed Highway to protest Canada Post’s actions.

“I want to deliver your mail,” states one placard.

“Support your postal worker,” says another.

Loewen said she’s been pleased with the positive response from the public, as many passersby honk their horns in support of the locked-out postal workers.

“It’s really encouraging to see the support we’re getting from everyone,” Loewen said.

“I think people understand what this is about. We’re not asking for a lot, we just want to hold on to what we have.”

The 48,000 members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, which include local letter carriers and retail employees, have been without a contract since May 30 after the union rejected Canada Post’s contract offer.

That offer would have seen the creation of a two-tier wage scale, reducing starting wages to $18 from close to $23 an hour.

In an escalation of the labour dispute between Canada Post and its employees, the Crown corporation announced it would lock-out workers Tuesday night, in an effort to force the union to accept their contract offer.

“They are claiming that our rotating strikes have cost them $100 million in 12 days,” said CUPW president Denis Lemelin.

“It would cost them much less to deal with us fairly and negotiate a contract.”

Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt stated in the House of Commons Wednesday that the government will consider introducing back-to-work legislation, and could do so in as little as 48 hours.

As a result of the lock-out, mail delivery to most of Maple Ridge will be suspended.

However, areas serviced by rural and suburban carriers will still have delivery service.

Pitt Meadows, Whonnock, Ruskin, Rock Ridge, Silver Valley and other neighbourhoods serviced by rural and suburban carriers will not be affected, however, as those carriers belong to a different union.

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