Arbitrator resigns in Canada Post dispute: Union

Union says resignation gives opportunity to resume negotiations
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 11/03/2011

The arbitrator appointed to settle the dispute between Canada Post and its workers has resigned, according to the workers’ union.

Justice Coulter Osborne was appointed in late July 2011 to arbitrate the contract between the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and Canada Post following back-to-work legislation that ended the June 2011 lockout.

CUPW subsequently launched a court challenge against the appointment of the arbitrator, saying he lacked labour relations experience and bilingual language skills.

"Today we contacted Labour Minister Raitt and requested a meeting with her to discuss the implications of Judge Osborne's resignation," said CUPW president Denis Lemelin. "We will encourage Ms. Raitt to appoint an experienced and bilingual mediator, to work with the parties to negotiate a collective agreement, instead of replacing the arbitrator."

Canada Post has not commented on the Justice’s resignation.

Postal workers were legislated back to work when the federal government enacted Bill C-6, An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of postal services. The CUPW started rotating strikes to back contract demands in early June 2011, leading to a lockout by Canada Post later that month, 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.

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