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

Pacific Insight to close in April

The remaining employees at the Nelson automotive manufacturing facility to be laid off

RCMP bike patrol coming to Castlegar

The pair of bicycles will be from a local shop and cost over $6,000 each.

Castlegar orders new fire truck to replace engine, rescue vehicle

The 2020 vehicle was purchased for about $750,000

Snow hosts available to help you explore the Rossland Range

Safe and responsible way to learn about Rossland Recreation Site

Trail cannabis shop gets green light from province

The Higher Path hopes to open doors in next couple of weeks

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Chiasson nets shootout winner as Oilers edge Canucks 3-2

Edmonton moves one point ahead of Vancouver

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Truck hauling compressed gas for ‘virtual pipeline’ crashes on B.C. highway

Driver charged and highway closed for nine hours - containers did not rupture

Most Read