Postal workers, union allies protest strike-breaking legislation
Canada Post employees ordered back to work this week after Senators voted in favour of Liberal bill
Snow did not keep postal workers and their union allies inside Saturday, as hundreds in Calgary, Edmonton and across the country rallied to protest the federal government's strike-breaking legislation.
On Tuesday, senators voted in favour of the Liberals bill that ended nearly six weeks of rotating strikes at Canada Post.
Postal worker Ailleen Runstedler said the back-to-work legislation should concern workers across the country.
"This isn't an attack on postal workers alone, this is an attack on all Canadian workers. All Canadian workers need to rally to stop this type of dispute from happening," she said.
In Calgary, a few dozen protesters marched from the Harry Hays building to Liberal MP Kent Hehr's downtown apartment.
Hehr did not make an appearance.
And in Edmonton, more than 100 people met in End of Steel Park.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has been calling for better pay, job security and rules to cut down on workplace injuries.
A 2011 postal strike was ended by back-to-work legislation from the former Conservative government, which was later declared to be unconstitutional.
"If Canadians don't stand up to this and they get away with legislating us back and again taking big business over workers then what do the little guys have the chance to do?" said postal worker Amanda Cowie.
Michael Parker, President of Health Sciences Association of Alberta, marched in support of postal workers in Edmonton.
"When you hurt one union member, you hurt all unions members," he said. "We should be negotiating this contract, not legislating them back to work.
"Unions have fought long and hard for the right to strike, and this action of the federal government to take away that right by legislating them back is unfair."
Nancy Dodsworth, president of the Edmonton CUPW local, said the back-to-work legislation was "devastating" for workers.
The union's next steps will be to proceed with legal means, similar to what happened in 2011, she said. She added it was encouraging to see people come out in support of their rights on Saturday.
"I think it's sending a strong message that enough is enough. Legislate us back, go ahead. Trample our rights, go ahead," she said.
"But we're going to speak up, and we're angry, and we're not taking it anymore."
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With files from Helen Pike