Tuesday , April 20 2021

Back to work report of the Mail of Canada passes during the dawn

The legislation mandating that postal workers return to work was passed in the House of Commons during a special session that dragged on until the early hours of Saturday morning.

Bill C-89 passed its third reading by a vote of 166 to 43.

The Senate is now ready to sit on Saturday and, if necessary, on Sunday, to deal with the bill, which would come into effect at noon in the eastern time the day after the actual assent.

Legislative pressure has come in Ottawa, as well as in smaller cities in Ontario and British Columbia, and Sherbrooke, in the state of Virginia, have become the latest targets for rotating attacks by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

Despite the rush to pass legislation, Labor Minister Patty Hajdu encouraged the Canada Post and CUPW to remain at the negotiating table.

"They can still make a deal," she said.

Employment, Workforce Development and Minister of Labor Patricia Hajdu talk about return-to-work legislation on Friday in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld / Canadian Press)

That said, Hajdu added: "Obviously, we would prefer that the parties could negotiate an agreement together, but the time has come to be prepared to act if they can not."

Hajdu referred to mail delivery as an "essential service" and said that small businesses that rely on the postal service to deliver their goods during the busy Christmas season can go bankrupt if the situation is not remedied quickly.

I mean, people who, you know, sell marmalade or handmade products, that this is the most profitable period of their year and if they can not make their winnings at this time of year, they may very well be facing the end of their business. "

NDP, labor leaders slam bill

Labor leaders and new Democratic deputies criticized the government for harming the collective bargaining process. The government has withdrawn all the incentive for the Canada Post to reach a negotiated agreement, now that the agency knows the workers will be getting back to work early next week, charged.

"The right to strike is an integral part of the collective bargaining process," said Labor Conference President Hassan Yussuff. "Without this, an employer has no incentive to bargain in good faith, and the workers have no recourse to demand a fair process."

The Canada Post seems to have convinced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that Christmas would not come without an account back to work, CUPW chairman Mike Palecek added.

Members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers occupy the community office of Environment Minister Catherine McKenna in Ottawa on Friday. (Fred Chartrand / Canadian Press)

"The mail was on the move and people know that," he said. "People are getting their mailings and orders online. That was the purpose of our revolving strike tactics, not to pick a fight with the public."

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh accused the liberals of hypocrisy, professing to believe in the right to collective bargaining while bringing what he called "worst, most draconian" legislation back to work.

"They showed their true face … that this government is not a friend of the workers," Singh said.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh thanks Canada Post members after a news conference on Friday in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld / Canadian Press)

New Democratic MEPs had voted against a motion to accelerate the debate over kickback legislation, with many giving an elaborate demonstration of exit from the House of Commons after the vote, raising their fists in salute to postal workers attending the public gallery. The votes of those who went out were not counted.

Six new Democrats remained in the House – a representative of the small number that the party held would have the chance to speak during the subsequent accelerated debate on the bill.

Constitutional Concerns

CUPW maintains the bill is unconstitutional and is threatening to contest it in court.

The union won a lawsuit against the back-to-work legislation imposed on postal workers in 2011 by the previous Conservative government. The court ruled in 2016 that by removing workers' right to strike, the bill violated their right to freedom of association and expression.

Hajdu argued that her bill is "dramatically different" from the "heavy" approach adopted by the Harper administration and takes into account the concerns of both the union and the Canada Post.

But two independent senators, Frances Lankin and Diane Griffin, wrote to Hajdu to express their concern that the bill may not be constitutional. The pair said Hajdu had promised to publish a government analysis detailing how the law does not violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but has not yet materialized on Friday night.

Watch: Canada Post Strike in Moncton

Moncton screenshot of Canada Post strike. The Canada Post is in its fifth week of rotating strikes to thousands of unionized workers, with no sign yet of a breakthrough in contractual negotiations. 0:30

CUPW members held rotary stoppages for a month, causing massive postal delays and unclassified parcels in the postal depots, although Canada Post and the union contested the size of the pileup.

The Canada Post says it can take weeks – even in 2019 – to clear the backlog, especially at major screening centers in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

The 50,000 CUPW members, in two groups, are demanding better pay for rural and suburban carriers, more job security and minimum guaranteed hours.

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