[ “If collective bargaining is undermined in Canada, and the
right to strike is part of their collective bargaining rights, our
collective bargaining rights are also under attack in the United
States” ] [https://portside.org/] 

 PORTSIDE LABOR 

 U.S. POSTAL WORKERS PROTEST IN SOLIDARITY WITH CANADA POST STAFF  
[https://portside.org/2019-01-17/us-postal-workers-protest-solidarity-canada-post-staff]


 

 Canadian Press 
 January 15, 2019
canoe.com
[https://canoe.com/news/world/u-s-postal-workers-protest-in-solidarity-with-canada-post-staff]


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 _ “If collective bargaining is undermined in Canada, and the right
to strike is part of their collective bargaining rights, our
collective bargaining rights are also under attack in the United
States” _ 

 Mike Keefe, first vice-president of the Nova Local of the Canadian
Union of Postal Workers, pickets in front of the Halifax Metro
Processing Plant., Nicole Munro 

 

U.S. postal workers gathered in solidarity Tuesday outside Canada’s
embassy in Washington to protest the federal Liberal government’s
decision to legislate their northern counterparts back to work.

About 50 members of the American Postal Workers Union and the National
Association of Letter Carriers gathered on Pennsylvania Avenue down
the street from Capitol Hill in a visible and full-throated show of
support for Canada Post employees.

Brandishing hand-lettered placards and a bullhorn, they chanted
slogans, sang pro-union songs and marched outside the embassy, all
under the watchful eye of uniformed members of the U.S. Secret
Service, which protects Washington’s foreign missions, as well as
the White House.

“We’re here in solidarity with the Canadian Union of Postal
Workers and our counterparts in Canada who move the mail every day
with pride and serve the people of Canada and of the United States,”
said APWU president Mark Dimondstein.

“We’re also here to condemn the Trudeau government, in terms of
taking away and denying workers their legal right to withhold their
labour to get a good contract.”

A dispute over wages, benefits and job security culminated last
October in a series of temporary rotating walkouts at Canada Post
facilities in various places across Canada, throwing local and
regional mail delivery services into disarray.

The strikes persisted for weeks, affecting the busy holiday shipping
season, until Ottawa passed legislation in November. That law required
workers to resume their duties and appointed a mediator to arbitrate
an end to the dispute between union and the Crown corporation, which
has been struggling for years with declining traditional-mail volume.

Ordering them back to work constituted a violation of the charter
rights of Canada’s postal workers, said Dimondstein.

“If collective bargaining is undermined in Canada, and the right to
strike is part of their collective bargaining rights, our collective
bargaining rights are also under attack in the United States,” he
said.

The issue of collective bargaining strikes a nerve for postal workers
south of the border, who have been nervous about their own rights ever
since President Donald Trump — apparently in a fit of pique with
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos — took a special interest in the U.S. Postal
Service.

Trump, who has accused the ubiquitous online retailer of unfairly
exploiting and overburdening the U.S. postal system, ordered a task
force to explore the issue of reforming the postal service.

That report, released last month, recommended that the money-losing
USPS develop a new pricing model that would lift price caps and
establish market-based prices for mail and packages not considered
“essential postal services.” It also called for redefined
“universal service obligations,” which the union argues would slow
service, cut delivery days and lead to wide-scale privatization.

“The changing business that we’ve faced here, they face the same
thing in Canada, and I think their members are eager to provide that
service, but they want to do so safely, and they want to be
compensated fairly,” said Brian Renfroe, executive vice-president of
the National Association of Letter Carriers.

“The collective bargaining process is a foundation of every union.
We’re fighting for our collective bargaining rights here that are
under attack; they’re doing the same thing. I think all they
want’s a fair process, and we’re here to stick with them in
solidarity.”

The dispute in Canada is far from over. Talks with arbitrator-mediator
Elizabeth MacPherson, former chairwoman of the Canada Industrial
Relations Board, broke down in December and are scheduled to resume
Wednesday.

That process is aimed at reaching arbitrated settlements that would be
imposed on Canada Post and its 42,000 urban carriers and 8,000 rural
and suburban employees. A spokesman for Canada Post refused to comment
on the process Tuesday.

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