Arbitrator appointed in Canada Post labour dispute

Arbitrator will have 90 days to make decision after parties present final offers
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 07/27/2011

An arbitrator has been appointed to negotiate the details of the contract between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). The announcement was made by Canada’s Labour Minister Lisa Raitt on July 22.

Honourable Justice Coulter Osbourne will have 90 days to render his decision after both parties present their final offer for selection. An extension can be provided by the Minister of Labour.

"Justice Osborne has accumulated a wealth of experience as a law practitioner and his experience will be invaluable in settling outstanding matters," said Minister Raitt in a release. "I urge both parties to extend their full co-operation to him."

Justice Osborne has been practicing law since 1959. In 1978, he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario, High Court of Justice and in 1990 he was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal. In 1999, he was appointed Associate Chief Justice of Ontario.

Since 2007, Justice Osborne has been engaged in a variety of alternate dispute resolution matters, including mediations, arbitrations, facilitations and neutral evaluations.

Postal workers were forced off the picket line when the federal government introduced back-to-work legislation last month. The CUPW started rotating strikes to back contract demands on June 3, leading to a lockout by Canada Post on June 15, shutting the mail service down. The government said the lockout needed to end because of the threat to the national economy.

The legislation forced a new deal between the two parties that included set pay increases at less than what Canada Post had already offered the union.

If Justice Osborne accepts Canada Post's most recent bargaining position, the company will be allowed to offer new hires lower salaries, pensions and vacations than existing workers currently receive.

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