Earlier this week, the Harper government introduced legislation to put an end to Canada Post’s lock out of postal workers. The opposition parties vowed to stall the vote that will force both Canada Post and members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) into binding arbitration. The government’s position is that the mail must flow. The Canadian economy is at stake. But the NDP opposition, working with the few remaining Liberals, believe that the government should take no role and allow Canada Post and the CUPW to continue contract negotiations. They believe, and the CUPW concurs, that Canada Post is using the government to force union members back to work under a contract that is unfavorable to them and doesn’t address their concerns about wages and a short-fall in the pension plan.
Debate Drags On
Despite the fact that Parliament was to go on summer recess yesterday, MPs worked through the night. Even Prime Minister Stephen Harper pulled debate duty earlier this morning, having pulled an all nighter too.
Conservatives hold the majority of seats and the legislation is expected to pass, but the opposition are determined to hold off the vote as long as possible. As it stands, the debate could easily last until Monday morning.
What’s Going On?
After two weeks of rolling strikes by the CUPW, which says major hubs in different provinces were targeted for single day shutdowns, Canada Post locked workers out last week. Aside from government checks delivered earlier this week, Canadians have not been receiving mail.
The CUPW contends that as long as this legislation is pending, Canada Post has no incentive to come back to the table and work out their differences in the contract talks. The NDP and Liberals feel this legislation is government over-reach.
What Do You Think?
The Conservatives call the current mail stoppage a “strike,” but the reality is that Canada Post locked its workers out and walked away from negotiations in hopes of government intervention, but the CUPW has mixed public support. 70% of Canadians want the government to intervene at this point and the perception that this is a strike and not a lock-out is dominating the media. Small businesses and Canadians who live in the more isolated regions of Northern Canada are being greatly effected by the mail stoppage.
Canadian workers possess a Charter right to strike. Interference by the government has the appearance of being anti-worker, but Canada’s people and its economy are being adversely effected by the mail stoppage. Who is in the right here? Or is it that simple? Let’s hear from you.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
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