The YCL-LJC denounces the back to work legislation passed by the Trudeau Government on November 26th, forcing the postal workers, who were on a rotating strike since October 21st and without a collective agreement for more than a year, to resume work.
We express our unwavering support for the CUPW fight against a management and a government that, like in 2011, doesn’t listen to the workers’ grievances while having no qualms about ensuring corporate interest to privatize Canada Post. They need to scrap workers’ rights for privatization.
This law, described by many as anti-constitutional, represents a dangerous attack on the right to free negotiation in a publicly-owned company. With this law, the Trudeau government did not simply attack CUPW, but declared an open war on the whole labor movement throughout the country. Several large unions took part in picket lines at the Pacific Processing Center on November 28, followed by similar actions in Windsor and Edmonton on November 29 and 30 respectively. In addition, a Day of Action mobilized labour and community activists throughout the Country on December 1st.
We also denounce Canada Post management’s exaggeration of parcel delivery delays and the impact of rotating strikes. They even orchestrated a fear campaign about the delivery of pension checks and other essential goods. This campaign was relayed by Minister Patty Hajdu who invented “Jack”, a character who is said not to have received his pension check. This is not far from Donald Trump’s Joe the Plumber… This scheming was used to justify the forced return to work of postal workers.
Far from being on strike against the public or against small businesses, as the government and employer tried to present the conflict, Canada Post workers mobilized to denounce precarious working conditions, conditions of employment where, for equal work, one does not receive equal pay, as is the case between rural (mostly women) and urban workers, working conditions where overtime is compulsory (as opposed to hiring more workers), where employees are forced to carry more and more packages that are ever heavier, thus undermining safety and health at work.
Yet, CUPW’s demands are not only about working conditions: it is also about the extension of public services, in particular by restoring the delivery of mail at home and by creating a postal bank. It is also about ecology since CUPW is proposing a plan to replace the delivery vehicle fleet with electric ones.
All these demands echo the problems that young workers are facing. While the majority of young workers face precarious employment situations, the postal workers’ struggle is part of a global fight for good and unionised jobs that would benefit younger and older employees equally and would prevent any opposition between generations that would only benefit the employers. If Canada Post’s management wins this battle against more than 50,000 union members, there is no doubt that all employers will feel comfortable in their desire to wreak havoc on working conditions.
We remember the gains made through CUPW struggles in our country, including the right to maternity leave and the bitter struggles that made this achievement possible.
We therefore call for mobilization and support of postal employees in defense of the right to free collective bargaining, for the right to strike, against back-to-work legislation, for the defense of dignified jobs and for the defense and the expansion of public services.