Postal Union says strike will start in Winnipeg

OTTAWA — Businesses and charities were looking for alternatives and preparing for cash crunches after the union representing Canada Post workers said it will begin a series of rotating strikes late Thursday night in Winnipeg.

OTTAWA — Businesses and charities were looking for alternatives and preparing for cash crunches after the union representing Canada Post workers said it will begin a series of rotating strikes late Thursday night in Winnipeg.

“Undoubtedly, there will be a lot of money caught in the system when the strike occurs that will just be basically halted and will remain in the mail,” Dan Kelly of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said.

“Cash flow issues to small businesses can be a pretty significant deal,” said Kelly, the organization’s senior vice-president.

Kelly estimated a postal strike will cost small businesses between $200 and $250 daily.

Both the Canadian Wildlife Federation and the Toronto-based Yonge Street Mission said they, along with other charities, will be seriously impacted by a postal strike.

The Yonge Street Mission said services it provides to Toronto’s poorest people are funded through donations received in the mail.

“The strike could cost the charity approximately $56,000 each week it continues,” Ann Barnard Ball, Mission development officer, said in a statement.

She said 70 per cent of the Yonge Street Mission’s funding comes through the mail, but she did note that nearly $500,000 was raised last year through online donations.

The Canadian Wildlife Federation said a significant portion of donations are received through direct mail campaigns but added that donations can still be made over the phone or online.

“The postal strike will impede CWF’s ability to communicate with many of its over 300,000 donors,” said executive vice-president Wade Luzny.

The announcement of rotating strikes came as the Canadian Union of Postal Workers continued negotiations on a new labour contract with the government-owned corporation, as the clock ticked down to the 11:59 EDT strike deadline.

The union gave its required 72-hour notice on Monday and will use volunteers in some provinces to deliver government assistance cheques.

The union plans to hold a news conference in Ottawa on Friday morning to discuss negotiations and strike activities.

Canada Post spokesman John Caines said the Crown corporation remains hopeful that the two sides will reach a negotiated settlement.

“We are committed to getting an agreement and we’re still working at it,” Caines said from Ottawa.