Chanting “Trudeau, you know union-busting gotta go!” almost 100 U.S. unionists, led by the Postal Workers and the Letter Carriers, marched outside the Canadian Embassy in Washington on Tuesday in solidarity with their Canadian colleagues, who were forced into a series of 1-day rolling strikes – strikes halted by a hastily-passed Canadian law. Their cause? Canada Post’s refusal to negotiate a new contract with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, followed by legislation Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed through parliament less than two months ago outlawing public worker strikes and curbing collective bargaining. That measure breaks the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the equivalent of our Constitution, which – unlike our basic charter – enshrines the right to strike, CUPW says. Trudeau’s attempt at union-busting not only is illegal there but a threat to unions here, said Postal Workers President Mark Dimondstein, who led the D.C. protest. Members of the Letter Carriers, the Bakery Workers – including one Toronto native – the Coalition of Labor Union Women, National Nurses United, the Service Employees and the Teamsters joined in. “If their collective bargaining rights are on the line in Canada, it’s a threat to us as well,” Dimondstein said in an interview before the informational picketing began in front of the embassy. “When you take away rights under the Canadian Charter, it’s a huge blow there” – to workers and Canadian citizens – “and here.” Key issues in the Canadian conflict are safety on the job – injuries have risen 43 percent in the last two years – pay equity for female workers and a ban on forced overtime. They also want a raise. Canada Post has the money: Increased package shipments, thanks to the Internet, gave it a $144 million profit last year. But management refuses to bargain.
- Mark Gruenberg, PAI Staff Writer