Saturday , October 23 2021

Canada Post back-to-work bills go through late night Commons sitting


Legislation that ordered postal workers to return to work was ratified in the House of Commons during a special session that lasted until late morning Saturday.

Bill C-89 passed the third reading with voting 166 to 43.

The Senate is now set to sit Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday, to deal with the bill, which will take effect at noon on the east on the day after the royal agreement.

Legislative impulses come like Ottawa, as well as smaller cities in Ontario and British Columbia, and Sherbrooke, Que., Are the latest targets of a rotating strike by the Canadian Postal Workers Union.

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

"They can still withdraw the agreement," he said.

Employment, Labor Development and Labor Minister Patricia Hajdu talked about returning to Friday's employment law in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld / Canadian Press)

That said, Hajdu added: "Obviously, we prefer that parties can negotiate collective agreements, but it's time we must be prepared to take action if they can't."

Hajdu refers to sending mail as "important services" and says small businesses that depend on postal services to ship their goods during the busy Christmas season can go bankrupt if the situation is not immediately corrected.

"And when I say small, I mean really small. I mean that person, you know, sells jam or handmade goods, that this is the most profitable time of their year and if they can't generate their income this year , they are very likely to face the end of their business. "

NDP, labor leader slams the bill

Labor leaders and members of the New Democratic Parliament condemned the government for undermining the collective bargaining process. The government has removed all incentives for Canada Post to reach a negotiated settlement now because the agency knows workers will be ordered to return to work early next week, they accuse.

"The right to strike is an integral part of the collective bargaining process," said Canadian Labor Congress chairman Hassan Yussuff. "Without it, employers do not have incentives to negotiate in good faith, and workers have no other way to demand a fair process."

The Canada Post seems to have convinced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that Christmas will not come without a bill back to work, added the CUPW chairman, Mike Palecek.

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

"The letter is moving, and people know it," he said. "People have sent their letters and online orders. That is the essence of our rotating strike tactics, not to fight with the public."

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh accused the hypocritical Liberals, claiming to believe in the right to bargain collectively while bringing what he called the law back to the "worst, cruelest" job.

"They have shown their real faces … that this government is not a friend of someone who works," Singh said.

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

New Democrats have voted against the motion to speed up the debate over legislation back to work, with many making complicated shows to walk out of the Commons after voting, raising their fists to pay homage to postal workers watching from public galleries. The voices of people coming out did not count.

Six New Democrats remain in the room – representatives of a small number of nurtured parties will have the opportunity to speak during the next accelerated debate on the bill.

Constitutional concerns

The CUPW maintains the bill is unconstitutional and threatens to challenge it in court.

Trade unions won court challenges against back-to-work laws imposed on postal workers in 2011 by the previous Conservative government. The court ruled in 2016 that by removing workers' rights to strike, the bill violated their rights to freedom of association and expression.

Hajdu argues that the bill is "very different" from the "hands-on" approach taken by the Harper government and considers the problems of trade unions and Canada Post.

But two independent senators, Frances Lankin and Diane Griffin, wrote Hajdu to express their concern that the bill might be unconstitutional. The pair said Hajdu had pledged to issue a government analysis detailing how the bill did not violate the Charter of Rights and Freedom but had not yet materialized on Friday night.

Watch: Canadian Post Strikes in Moncton

Raw footage from Moncton about the ongoing Canadian Post strike. Canada Post was in the fifth week of a revolving strike by thousands of unionized workers, with no sign of a breakthrough in contract negotiations. 0:30

CUPW members have been on strike for a month, causing a massive backlog of unsorted items and packages at postal depots, even though Canada Post and union disputes about how big the collision was.

Canada Post said it could take weeks – even stretching to 2019 – to erase backlogs that have been built, especially in major sorting centers in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

50,000 CUPW members, in two groups, demand better payments for rural and suburban operators, more job security and minimum guarantee hours.

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