Strikes and Solidarity

Canada Post has halted operations and locked out their workers. From the Canadian Union of Postal Workers:

The actions of CPC management in locking out postal workers nation-wide are irresponsible. There is now a considerable amount of mail in the system that will not be delivered.

Canada Post is reneging on its responsibility to the public to deliver mail that has been paid for. We committed to deliver pension and social assistance cheques and we intend to fulfil that commitment.

This is a totally counterproductive response to the Labour Minister’s request to resume operations.

Canada Post is claiming that it has lost $100 million. Their constant “No” at the bargaining table is costing them dearly. If they want to stop losing money, they need to negotiate instead of attacking their workers.

If you’d like to learn more about the strike, we provided some coverage in our June 10th episode. You  will be able to listen to that episode this Friday, June 17th. You can listen right now, though, to the speeches we played here.  You can also read through CUPW’s media release.

UPDATE: The Conservative government may legislate postal workers back to work. Yes, because Canada Post decided to lock out workers, the Conservative government is going to take Canada Post’s side and make the workers, who were working and then locked out, work again without ever having their demands met. This obviously makes a tremendous amount of sense…

In an attack on the labour movement and workers rights, Ottawa has began to introduce legislation yesterday to force Air Canada workers back to work one day after they went on strike. The Canadian Auto Workers Union which represents Air Canada workers posted this statement yesterday:

The CAW is responding with frustration and anger to the news that Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt plans to table back to work legislation for Air Canada workers, less than 24 hours since the strike began.

“This action by the government is a clear interference with the right to free collective bargaining,” said CAW National President Ken Lewenza. “The speed at which this legislation has been tabled points to a very real collusion by the Conservative federal government and Air Canada, to strip workers of their rights.

“Our members have entrusted us to reach a negotiated settlement on their behalf. After 10 weeks of negotiations, there is no reason that the two sides should not be able to come to a tentative agreement, other than the fact that the company is unwilling to do so.

“This is a deplorable model for labour relations for this country; it sets a dangerous precedent when the government can get involved in the collective bargaining of workers employed by a privately-owned, for profit-company.”

Lewenza said that he believes it is possible to reach an agreement with Air Canada in the next 48 hours before the legislation is introduced.

The Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers Union of Canada release this letter to the Prime Mininister Stephen Harper and Labour Minister Lisa Raitt in support:

“I find it nothing short of incredible that after one day of strike activity at Air Canada, you have declared a national economic crisis and announced the government’s intent to legislate against the democratic right of workers to strike.

“Canada’s forest industry lost 100,000 jobs in a five year period under your government’s watch. At one point, more than half of the Canadian paper industry was under CCAA protection. In spite of our appeals for help, your government did almost nothing and we were told that this crisis was a market adjustment. No one has lost a job or even yet missed a flight at Air Canada.

“There is no economic crisis arising from the actions of CAW at Air Canada. There is arguably a social crisis facing the country over the attack on workers’ pension plans taking place at Air Canada and at Canada Post.

“The trade union movement will fight in every way possible and strike if necessary to defend pension plans for our members and future generations of workers. Legislation to remove our rights will only make this struggle more conflictual and unnecessarily lengthy. I urge you to reconsider this reckless course of action.”

I strongly suggest contacting MP Lisa Raitt as well to show your support for Air Canada workers. Her contact information is below:

307 Confederation Building
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A6
Tel: (613) 996-7046
Fax: (613) 992-0851


86 Main Street East
Milton, ON  L9T 1N3
Tel: (905) 693-0166
Fax: (905) 693-0704

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