CBC Digital Archives CBC butterfly logo

CBC Archives has a new look: Please go to cbc.ca/archives to access the new site.

The page you are looking at will not be updated.

1981 Canada Post strike enters fourth week

The Story

Letters went unread, bills remained unpaid, orders sat unfilled -- and tempers flared. The postal strike of 1981 brought mail across the country to a grinding halt. In the ever-changing tides of public opinion, no clear victor emerged. Instead, frustrated Canadians have been waiting for the two sides to find common ground on issues including paid maternity leave and compensation for shift work. Postal carriers and sorters walked out on June 30 and talks are entering a critical stage.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: July 22, 1981
Guest(s): Judge Alan Gold
Reporter: Paul Workman
Duration: 1:36

Did You know?

• Postal workers returned to work 42 days later.

• Import and export orders were estimated to be backlogged six months to one year for small businesses because of the strike.

• More than 80 per cent of CUPW's 23,000 members voted to accept the terms of the contract offered in August.
• Among the major concessions CUPW won was 17 weeks of paid maternity leave. The only other group in the public sector who also enjoyed this provision was the Common Front of public sector workers in Quebec.

• CUPW has been a part of 19 major labour disputes between 1965 and 2002.
• In October 1981, the post office was converted into a Crown corporation. CUPW had lobbied vigilantly for this change. It hoped that since this change would place the union under the Canada Labour Code, future labour negotiations would be more straightforward.

Also on July 22:
1948: In a second referendum, Newfoundlanders narrowly vote to join Canada. It becomes Canada's 10th province the following March 31, 1949.
1950: William Lyon Mackenzie King dies at 75. He served as Canada's prime minister for a record 22 years, between 1921 and 1948.
1981: Quebec's tradition of taverns for men only ends when the province announces that taverns licensed since 1979 must allow female patrons.


Labour & Unions more