Socialist Project members wish to add our voices of solidarity to those of labour, community and other organizations committed to supporting you and your members against the attacks of Canada Post Corporation in this round of bargaining.
Employers and governments have carried out the same kind of attacks on other workers and unions as austerity initiatives placed firmly on the backs of workers are promoted as a way out of the economic crisis. This includes massive attacks on public services and public sector unions. So it is with the postal service and this is reflected in the current round of negotiations between Canada Post and CUPW.
On the one hand CPC has advanced a conception of the Post Office that demands a two-tiered system, with newly hired workers forced to accept wages and benefits substantially less than current workers, in addition to reducing benefits for current workers--most notoriously through introducing a Short Term Disability Plan to reduce and replace long-secured sick leave benefits. It has introduced a $2.5 Billion “Modern Post” initiative that contains a subversive virus geared to reducing the work force by thousands of positions and forcing delivery methods seriously compromising the health and safety of letter carriers.
On the other hand, CUPW has mobilized its membership in support of a conception of the Post Office that has a “Modern Post” initiative requiring innovation and the development of new services to protect employment and meet public needs such as expanding door-to-door delivery, providing banking and financial services (especially in remote locations) and contracting in work that could be done by its own workers. The Union also includes in this conception decent wages and benefits, greater respect for and recognition of human rights, a new emphasis on health and safety and elimination of hazardous work methods, among other items.
CUPW over many years has consistently fought for the goals it has advanced in these negotiations and has enjoyed huge support amongst its membership. Now, with the lucid and forward-looking program it has envisaged and promoted for an expanded public postal service, it deserves the support of the labour movement, community organizations and the public for its steadfast resistance to the neo-liberal push towards privatization and the race to the bottom for the majority of workers.
Just as importantly, Socialist Project recognizes the leadership that CUPW has given to the struggle for a strengthened and militant labour movement domestically, to promote solidarity among workers internationally, and to stand firmly on the side of those who are marginalized and vulnerable in our own society.
For all these reasons, we are convinced it is necessary for all of us to ensure CUPW is not isolated as a result of the assault of the Corporation, especially given that the new majority Conservative government is likely to enter into fray in this, its first opportunity to crack down on a public sector union. Building community support for CUPW is crucial in this battle, and Socialist Project will do whatever it can to assist in this.
We stand with you in your important struggle for a fair collective agreement without concessions and for an expanded public postal service capable of, and committed to sharing the benefits of modernization with the public and its workers.
The Ottawa Members of the Socialist Project