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Canada Post issues 72 hour lockout notice; work stoppage possible Friday

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Jul 5th, 2016

Canada Post said it has issued a 72-hour lockout notice to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), raising the spectre of a work stoppage by Friday.

The announcement came hours after Canada Post said its latest offer presented on June 25 was fair and reasonable and that it still hoped to negotiate a deal with the union.

But in a statement early Tuesday, Canada Post said it plans to suspend the collective agreement as of Friday. It blamed prolonged negotiations, the union’s strike mandate and the financial cost of a rapid decline in mail volume.

Canada Post said the 72-hour notice does not necessarily mean it will shut down on Friday.

Rather, it said, the measure would allow it “take measures that are necessary to respond to the changing business reality.”


Related stories:

Canada Post says latest offer to CUPW is ‘final’
Canada Post still hopes to negotiate ‘reasonable’ deal with union: spokesman
Some benefit cheques will be mailed if there’s a Canada Post labour disruption


In its response, CUPW said the corporation is using the lockout notice to drive 50,000 workers “out onto the streets without pay in an effort to impose steep concessions on them.”

“They refused to negotiate fairly with us and now they’re locking the doors and will try to starve us into submission,” said CUPW president Mike Palecek.

The two sides have both said the key sticking point in negotiations involves changes to employee pension plans.

The Crown corporation said Monday that CUPW’s demands are “not affordable” and would add $1 billion in costs over the life of a new contract. The union accused Canada Post of preparing to lock workers out, and creating uncertainty by warning the public to avoid the post office.

Canada Post has said that in the event of a full work disruption, it will not operate – mail and parcels will not be delivered, and no new items will be accepted.

The Canada Revenue Agency has deemed Old Age Security, Canada Pension Plan, Working Income Tax Benefit and the Canada Child Benefit cheques “essential” – even during a labour disruption.

Spokesman Jon Hamilton said Canada Post has a memorandum of agreement with the union “where the federal socio-economic cheques will be delivered.”

“In the event of a work disruption we would arrange … delivery one day of the month,” he said Monday.

Toronto on the verge of a heat wave

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Jul 5th, 2016

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The air conditioner will be working overtime the next couple of days with sizzling temperatures expected in Toronto and much of southern Ontario.

A heat warning, which was issued by Environment Canada on Monday, remains in effect for parts of the GTA, including Toronto, as well as the Hamilton and Niagara areas.

The national weather agency said temperatures are expected to reach highs near or above 31 C.

680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said the high in the GTA on Tuesday will be 31 C but it will feel like 36 C with the humidity. As of 4 a.m., the temperature in Toronto hit 22 C.

The extreme heat is expected to continue into Wednesday and Thursday with a high near 33 C and 32 C expected on each respective day. Showers and thunderstorms are also in the forecast on both days.

“It’s not the first time that we’ve had a heat wave, if you will, three days of 32 C or more for three or more days. We had that June 18-20 at Toronto Pearson,” Taylor said.

The nighttime is not expected to provide much relief, with overnight lows of about 21 C expected.

People are being advised to keep out of the heat and to drink plenty of liquids.

Environment Canada issues a heat warning when “very high temperature or humidity conditions are expected to pose an elevated risk of heat illnesses, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion.”

The health risks associated with the heat are the greatest for seniors, children, people with breathing difficulties and heart conditions, the homeless, those who work and exercise in the heat, and people without access to an air conditioned space.

Gay Toronto police officer’s open letter to Pride after BLM seeks removal of police floats

Chuck Krangle | posted Tuesday, Jul 5th, 2016

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Dear Pride Toronto,

I am writing today to address concerns I have with your recent agreement with Black Lives Matter TO. I am particularly concerned with your willingness to remove all police floats and booths in future parades and community spaces. I should give you my background first.

I am a Toronto Police Service Constable, and a homosexual. I have been on the job eight years. Prior to becoming a Police Officer, I served in the Canadian Armed Forces and completed a tour in Kandahar Afghanistan in 2006-07.

I never “came out” while serving in the military. Though not for fear of persecution, I only told a select few about my orientation. I was still quite young and was simply not ready.

It wasn’t until 2012 that I decided to come out. I began to tell a few peers at work, and soon word spread. I can say with absolute pride that my peers, and my employers/senior management, have never made an inappropriate comment to me. I have never been made to feel discriminated against.

This year, 2016, marked a first for me. My first Pride parade. I would be working, nonetheless it would be my first one in any capacity. Wow, what an event. What a spectacle, a joining of everyone.

The 2016 pride events really opened my eyes to something. The support that I have from my peers and supervisors has been unwavering. When I saw all those floats and officers marching (hundreds), I realized that my employer fully supports this part of me, and so many others like me. As I stood post at Yonge and College, ensuring a safe atmosphere, Chief Mark Saunders came up to me. I had the opportunity to salute him, and I knew that I had a leader who was invested in this celebration of Pride.

LGBTQ cops have struggled for decades. I am fortunate, because it is their struggles in the past, that have made my orientation an irrelevant factor in my workplace interactions. Members of police services, and their employers (like RBC, Telus, Porter, etc) have just as much right to participate as any other group.

Police officers are significantly represented in the LGBTQ community and it would be unacceptable to alienate and discriminate against them and those who support them. They too struggled to gain a place and workplace free from discrimination and bias.

I do not speak for the police, and I do not speak for the LGBTQ community. I speak as an individual, one who saw his first Pride, only to be excluded from the next.

Exclusion does not promote inclusion.

Chuck Krangle

Black Lives Matter briefly stops Toronto’s Pride parade

CityNews | posted Monday, Jul 4th, 2016

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Canada’s largest Pride parade marked another milestone Sunday as a sitting prime minister marched for the first time in a colourful celebration that was tempered by last month’s shooting massacre in Orlando, Fl.

Prominent in the procession was a pair of marchers who held a large black banner that read “Orlando” and “We march for those who can’t.”

A group of marchers, dressed in pastel-coloured robes, each carried signs with the name of an Orlando victim as they worked their way down the route.

There was a moment of silence during the parade to remember the 49 people, predominantly LGBTQ, who were killed in a mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.

A river of multi-coloured floats and marchers came to a halt on Yonge Street and stood in silence along with the masses of onlookers who lined both sides of the route.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Florida tragedy is a reminder that “we can’t let hate go by.”

https://twitter.com/Ginella_M/status/749698332725899264

“We have to speak up anytime there is intolerance or discrimination,” he said as he marched.

Trudeau drew a boisterous reaction from those who lined Yonge Street to watch the parade go by — he has taken part in the parade before, including last summer, but this is his first as prime minister.

The casually dressed prime minister posed for selfies and happily waved a Canadian flag as he greeted parade watchers and frequently found himself surrounded by a crush of revellers. Some chanted his name at times.

Courtesy Adam Scotti/Twitter
Courtesy @Adamscotti / Twitter

Other notable politicians who took part include Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory.

Before the parade, Trudeau attended an outdoor church service in the heart of the city’s gay village where he sang along to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.”

Black Lives Matter briefly halted the parade around 3:30 p.m. by stopping their float and asking for a more inclusive pride for black LGBTQ members.

https://twitter.com/BLM_TO/status/749696130003468288

The staged sit-in near Yonge and College streets caused the parade to be halted for about 30 minutes.

CityNews reporter Ginella Massa said that Pride Toronto agreed and signed the list of demands.

The parade resumed without any further interruptions.

The parade wraps up a month of Pride festivities in Toronto, which saw entertainment heavyweights like George Takei and Lindsay Lohan participate.

The shooting also meant security was higher than usual at this year’s parade. Police were visible even along streets adjacent to the parade route.

Many of the officers seemed to be enjoying the experience, posing for pictures and tweeting them.

Among the celebrities expected to appear in the parade were some stars of the Netflix prison dramedy “Orange is the New Black.”

Mississauga libraries closed after contract talks break down

CityNews | posted Monday, Jul 4th, 2016

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All libraries in Mississauga are closed after contract talks broke down between the city and the union over the weekend.

Members of CUPE Local 1989, Mississauga Library Workers Union, went on strike at midnight.

It’s not clear when the 18 libraries will reopen.

No late fees will be charged during the labour dispute. Online services, like e-books, will still be available.

The union said the city is offering a 1.5 per cent wage increase, after 0.5 per cent wage increases in both 2014 and 2015.

Not only is that increase below the increase to the cost of living, the union said, CUPE also argued that 2014, the library director received a 7.3 per cent increase.

Most members are part-time, with no benefits, no paid sick time, and no paid vacation.

In a statement, the City of Mississauga said they are working for a “collective agreement that is fair and competitive to our employees and our taxpayers.”

Negotiations began in June of last year.

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