Canada Post mail carriers were forced back on the job today as federal back-to-work legislation came into effect this morning.
Officials with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) responded swiftly, suggesting the legislation could face a charter challenge.
“After 37 days of rotating strikes, unconstitutional legislation has removed the right to strike for postal workers,” reads a statement issued by CUPW President Mike Palacek today.
“In the coming days, we will be calling on our allies and membership for a campaign of mobilizations, demonstrations and non-violent civil disobedience. 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.”
Five weeks of rotating strikes hit all major Canadian cities and affected virtually every Canadian address.
“Obviously, the Senate has done the work that they need to do and the legislation has passed,” Labour Minister Patty Hajdu said on Parliament Hill this morning. “That will be up to the courts to decide, if the union decides to challenge the legislation.”
In 2011, the former Conservative government passed “back to work” legislation – later deemed unconstitutional – to end the previous dispute between Canada Post and the CUPW.
“We went to court and won this fight after the 2011 legislation,” reads a statement issued by the CUPW earlier this week. “We will fight once again, should that right be taken away.”
EXPECT LONG DELAYS
The postal service remains operational, but Canada Post has advised commercial customers it is unable to honour its delivery standards for any product.
While there are delays across the country, Canada Post expects the worst delays for items originating or are destined for southern and southwestern Ontario.