The arbitration process imposed by the Trudeau government’s back to work legislation for postal workers begins today. Negotiators from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and Canada Post are meeting with arbitrator Elizabeth MacPherson.
“We will not stop fighting until we have solved our health and safety crisis, maximized full‐time secure employment opportunities in the postal service and reached equality for women,” says Mike Palecek, CUPW national president. “We live our workplace issues every day and Canada Post and the government are wrong if they think we can let it go.”
Bill C-89 forced postal workers to return to work under their previous collective agreements on Nov. 27, after five weeks of rotating strikes. The issues that led to the strike have not been resolved by the legislation. Since postal workers were forced back to work, CUPW estimates 750 have suffered disabling injuries; rural and suburban mail carriers have worked roughly 439,000 hours without pay; and urban postal workers have worked thousands of hours of forced overtime.
On Jan. 16, postal workers across the country have organized activities in the workplace and communities to remind the government and Canada Post that labour peace cannot be legislated. The right to strike has been recognized by the courts as a fundamental freedom protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“One way or another, we will have to negotiate solutions to our issues,” says Palecek. “This is far from over.”