After a five-week rotational strike, Lloydminster postal workers head back to work due to Senate passing Bill C-89. The passage of the bill was urged by the Federal Government, worrying the economy would be impacted due to mail disruptions during the busy holidays.
Lloydminster’s Chief Shop Steward for Canadian Union of Postal Workers Luke Baron says he believes people are being forced against their will to work, he adds that nothing has been solved.
“[Canada Post] knew full well that the government was going to legislate us back to work so they literally did no bargaining at all they just sat and waited for us to get forced to work anyways.”
Labour Minister Patty Hajdu spoke on Parliment Hill Tuesday backing the bill and defending the government’s decision to pass it, she says that it will cause “significant, growing economic harm” to Canada.
The CUPW won a court battle against a similar legislation, Bill C-6, passed in 2011. Time might repeat itself as Baron says he believes this is unconstitutional, he adds going to court is the only way to fight back.
“We just got paid for a grievance that was filed in the court system in 2011, we literally got that two weeks ago. So it takes them the better part of a decade to take it through the court system so we will start now and probably see something in 2027.”
Hajdu says the previous bill passed by the former the Conservative government was different, such as not indicating how a number of issues would be resolved.
Lloydminster postal workers only went on strike once over the five weeks. Baron says he doesn’t understand the urgent need to go back to work when he was already working the whole time. Figures estimated 500 tractor-trailer-loads of mail was on hold in parked vehicles at Canada Post facilities.
“There is not the backlog that Canada Post says there is they’re just making stuff up, I don’t know what else to say about it. There is not 500 trailers backed up, there is a quarter of that.”
Negotiations between the union and Canada Post have taken place for about year until things ramped up on October 22 with the strikes. The postal service was to start up again today at noon after the back to work order was passed on Monday.
Baron says he doesn’t understand how postal services could be considered non-essential after the legislation passed.
“How are we unessential if the government needs us to work because they’re afraid the economy will collapse.”