New workers who are members of the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association (CPAA) will be joining a defined contribution pension plan after a labour arbitrator ruled in the company’s favour.
The arbitration decision comes as the Canada Post continues to negotiate with a separate group of workers — who are members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) — over a similar proposal to introduce a defined contribution pension plan for new employees. In a news release, Canada Post said that except for those represented by the postal workers’ union, every employee group at the organization has a defined contribution pension for newer employees. All administrative and technical employees who are members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and hired after May 2014 now have a defined contribution pension, as do Association of Postal Officials of Canada (APOC) members hired after February 2015.
PSAC employee members hired before May 2014, APOC members hired before February 2015 and all CUPW members have a defined benefit pension plan.
The arbitration ruling also signals an increase in employee contributions to post-retirement benefits, according to Canada Post.
The CPAA’s 5,000 members are 95 per cent women, with staff working at more than 3,200 rural post offices across Canada, says national president Brenda McAuley. “Good-paying jobs in rural Canada with benefits and a decent pension are very, very rare. We certainly didn’t want to sell out the next generation. It is a very disappointing day for us.”
The dispute between Canada Post and the CPAA has continued for 18 months. In November, the two sides went to binding arbitration after reaching an impasse.
The new collective agreement with the CPAA also includes changes to entry-level wages that Canada Post says are in line with provisions previously negotiated with other bargaining units. “The wages and benefits package includes modest wage increases and remains competitive, while reducing future costs through changes for new employees,” the company said.
“Reducing future costs is necessary to respond to the changing needs of Canadians for postal service while respecting Canada Post’s mandate to be financially self-sustainable.”
In the meantime, the CUPW is facing an Aug. 25 expiry of its strike mandate. According to the union, the two sides could agree to extend the 60-day period the strike vote is valid for. Alternatively, it could issue a 72-hour notice of strike action by Aug. 25 or may have to hold another strike vote.