Postal workers at the Castlegar Post Office were picketing Nov. 22. (Photo: Betsy Kline)

LETTER: Postal workers’ constitutional rights violated

“Constitutional rights should not be violated out of expediency” says letter writer.

I am responding to the two letters printed last week regarding negotiations between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers which were abruptly ended by illegal legislation.

First of all, thank you to the countless residents who stopped by to offer support during our rotating strikes (two dates in Castlegar, Trail and Rossland in a five week period). It was very clear that most people understood the issues postal workers are fighting for and we all appreciated the food, coffee and well wishes you quickly offered to picketers.

Secondly, I want to clarify how strikes fall under legal time frames, so people understand that unions don’t just get to pick the time they want to engage in a legal strike. The whole process of negotiations falls under the Canada Labour Code, and once management and the union get to a stage where there is no movement, and a mediator’s mandate has expired, it triggers a series of mandatory time frames before the union gets the right to strike, and the employer gets the right to lock out and change working conditions unilaterally.

In 2011, that time frame ended in the spring and CUPW conducted rotating strikes. At that time, Canada Post wanted the Harper government to invoke legislation to weaken existing rights, so they locked the workers out across the country, giving the government their excuse to enact legislation. That was in June, not December. Management manipulated the process to create a “crisis” and the Harper majority passed legislation that created the poisoned labour relations that exists today.

This time management stalled at the table over the summer to ensure that the time frames for strike/lockout would be closer to Christmas, because they knew Trudeau would not legislate us back in the summer, but needed a “crisis” to justify betraying his own commitments. Hence the “Christmas backlog” which turned out to be just a little more than the usual heavy volumes we process in November and December. The rotating strikes allowed mail to move, just get hung up for a day or so in transit. The crisis was manufactured by management and their government allies responded in the boss’s favour.

CUPW members are legislated back to work and stripped of constitutional rights, but we are not angry with the public, so the allegation made by one of your readers that postal workers would take out our anger on the mail just is not true. Most of the issues on the table revolved around our desire to improve service to the public and be safe while doing so. We are angry with management’s lack of respect for our concerns, and at the government for their lack of respect for the law, but never at the public.

Constitutional rights should not be violated out of expediency, or else none of them are safe. CUPW members will not willingly waive theirs because an Injury to One is truly and Injury to All.

Cindy McCallum Miller

Retired Postal Worker

Lifetime Member Canadian Union of Postal Workers

Just Posted

Castlegar woman to appear on Dragons’ Den

Happy Gut sells water kefir beverages and kits to make water kefir at home.

Four injured in Wednesday evening crash near Beasley

Police say alcohol may have been a factor in the incident

Update: accident between Castlegar and Nelson closes Hwy. 3

DriveBC estimates road will re-open at 2:15 a.m.

Green candidate reflects on South Okanagan-West Kootenay campaign

Rosslander Tara Howse talks about the highs and lows of running for office

Basin beer commercials on tap tonight at Trail theatre

The adults-only event in the Royal Theatre starts at 7 p.m.

B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

Louis C.K. accuser ‘infuriated’ by Canadian comedy booker’s defence

Accuser says she did not consent to C.K. undressing and masturbating in front of her

Port Moody mayor says stayed sex assault charge related to ‘awkward date’

Rob Vagramov said charge was related to a string of dates in 2015

UBC conference faces criticism over speaker from Chinese tech company blacklisted in U.S.

The company that has been blacklisted by the U.S. over links to the repression of China’s Muslim minority

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

‘It’s been 12 years’: Father of murdered B.C. real estate agent pleads for mayor’s help

Lindsay Buziak was stabbed to death on Feb. 2, 2008 in Saanich. Her case is unsolved.

B.C. woman sends fight to reduce preventable medical errors to Victoria

Teri McGrath and South Okanagan senior’s centre members presented 150 signature petition to local MLA

Most Read