In recent weeks, Canada Post workers have been making headlines because of rotating strikes running across Canada. But back-to-work legislation was passed this week to get Canada Post workers back on the job.
The forced settlement took effect at noon on Tuesday. However, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) doesn’t agree with the legislation and plans on fighting it.
Steve Hinschberger, president of CUPW Local 560, which covers Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Elmira, he says that the union was not happy with the federal government’s actions.
“Well, obviously, our members are upset with the back-to-work legislation, considering that it is a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” said Hinschberger. “So that’s first and foremost. We’ve now had our own rights, as guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the government has trampled all over them.”
But Hinschberger says that more than just postal workers need to be concerned about this legislation.
“Every single Canadian should be quite upset with that alone. What’s to stop the government from trampling over anybody else’s rights that are in the current Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? So, right off the bat, that’s quite upsetting on its own.”
With their right to strike taken away, there is a good chance that the union will seek action through the courts to right the situation, he says.
“The understanding I have from our national office is that all options are open,” Hinschberger said, pointing out that the union did go to court back in 2011. When the action reached the Supreme Court of Canada in 2016, the court ruled that the imposed settlement did violate the rights of postal workers. “So, yes, I can say that there is a very strong position that we are going to be fighting it in court again.”
Hinschberger attributes the pressure on the government to impose the current of back-to-work legislation as coming mainly from big companies such as Ebay and Amazon. He maintains that neither Canada Post nor CUPW asked the government for legislation and that Canada Post got involved in a propaganda war about backlogged parcels due to the strike. Despite photos of trucks and trailers packed with undelivered parcels, there were actually very few to see.
In reality, he said, that there were only eight trucks that were backlogged and that postal workers regularly deliver a million parcels in the span of one or two days. So the parcels in the photos would be nothing for postal workers to clear out.
As of now, it’s business as usual for Canada Post workers, while the CUPW decides on what course of action to take.