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Canada Post back-to-work legislation threatens all workers’ rights

November 28, 2018

The Society is deeply concerned that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has passed back-to-work legislation rather than encouraging a negotiated settlement between Canada Post and its workers, who are represented by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).

CUPW has utilized rotating strikes to pressure Canada Post to negotiate a fair deal. Among the key issues in dispute are how to compensate women who were paid lower wages for similar work to men, and how to create a safer working conditions given the extraordinary rate of injuries faced by postal workers.

“The Society stands with CUPW and the rest of the Canadian labour movement in condemning the federal government’s use of back-to-work legislation to undermine workers’ rights,” said Society President Scott Travers. “The Society encourages the government to withdraw its back-to-work legislation and encourage Canada Post to get back to the bargaining table and negotiate an agreement in good faith.”

The following was issued as part of a joint Canadian Labour Congress and CUPW statement:

“The right to strike is an integral part of collective bargaining. Without it, an employer has no incentive to bargain in good faith, and workers have no recourse to demand a fair process,” said CLC President, Hassan Yussuff.

“This federal government was supposed to be different from the last, and yet here we are again,” said CUPW President, Mike Palecek. “Trudeau is showing his true colours and the anti-worker agenda shared with former Prime Minister Harper. He knows we have always been prepared to bargain in good faith and to negotiate – quickly – fair collective agreements for our members. He could have directed Canada Post to do the same.”

Palecek added “Back-to-work legislation has serious long-term impacts on the work environment and on labour relations. Once contracts are imposed that don’t address our core concerns around unsafe working conditions, equality for rural carriers, and access to secure full-time middle-class jobs, that’s just more ground we’ll continue to struggle to regain.”

The Harper Conservative government’s back-to-work legislation in 2011 drove postal workers to accept regressive contracts. It was later ruled unconstitutional. After a federal review of the postal service, the Liberal government made it a priority to improve labour relations at Canada Post. Back-to-work legislation will seriously damage that effort.

“We are calling on the federal government to allow for a fair process by encouraging workers and the employer to come to an agreement that works for everyone,” said Yussuff. “This back-to-work legislation is a clear violation of workers’ Charter rights. CUPW successfully fought to have this right explicitly upheld by the Supreme Court.”

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