Senators resume debate on postal legislation after taking a day to reflect

Andrew Cummings
November 30, 2018

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) is warning officials to expect "non-violent civil disobedience" in response to the federal government passing legislation ordering Canada Post employees back to work.

The vote passed by a margin of 53 to 25 after being rushed through the House of Commons last week as the Canada Post walkouts entered their sixth week.

Back-to-work legislation was officially passed on Monday and came into effect Tuesday.

According to Canada Post, in 2016, the corporation and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers jointly agreed to put before an arbitrator the system by which RSMC employees are paid.

CUPW's 50,000 members are demanding better pay for rural and suburban carriers, more job security and minimum guaranteed hours.

At issue is a massive uptick in e-commerce that has been a boon to the economy but also led to a spike in workplace injuries at Canada Post due to higher parcel volumes.

Picket lines were up Monday in parts of British Columbia, including Vancouver, Richmond and Surrey, and in parts of Ontario, including Hamilton, Ajax, North York, Pickering and London.

Workers at the Canada Post processing plant on Almon Street and the Dartmouth delivery centre on Topple Drive will not be processing or delivering mail "until further notice".

It added that it is experiencing delivery delays across the country, which are expected to continue throughout the holiday season and into January.

The Crown Corporation says that while every letter should be delivered before December 25, parcels will be delayed into the New Year.

Earlier Monday, Labour Minister Patti Hajdu said that the special mediator had concluded his work and the two sides were no longer negotiating.

The back-to-work legislation officially kicked in at 9:00 a.m. local time.

Dan Kelly, president of the business federation, said 71 per cent of members it surveyed supported back-to-work legislation after two-thirds of small businesses reported they had been negatively affected by the strike. "And it still might be too late", Conservative Sen.

But another independent, Sen.

But the Liberal government argues its bill is different, in that it does not impose immediate outcomes affecting postal contracts.

The arbitrator's decision was a hangover from the last round of contract negotiations between CUPW and Canada Post. "All options remain on the table to achieve negotiated collective agreements that address health and safety, equitable treatment, fair wages and working conditions, and the democratic right to free collective bargaining".

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