Manitoba union workers protest Canada Post back-to-work legislation

Over sixty community members and union workers staged a protest calling on the federal government to allow postal workers to continue to strike.

Unions believe legislating postal workers back-to-work could have implications across the workforce

Kevin Rebeck believes for unions the power is in numbers across the board. (Ahmar Khan/CBC News)

Over sixty community members and union workers staged a protest in downtown Winnipeg, calling on the federal government to allow postal workers to continue to strike.

Kevin Rebeck, President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour believes back-to-work legislation affects everyone in the work force. Postal workers were forced back to work after a six-week strike.

"Labour's fight is labour's fight, whether you're a postal worker or something else," said Rebeck.

Despite the legislation being passed down into effect weeks ago, Rebeck said there is never a bad time to show solidarity.

"Everyday is the right day to protest. This is a peaceful demonstration that is supporting workers rights to a fair collective bargaining agreement process," he said.

Freezing out unions

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is already embedded in a battle against the Federal government accusing them of violating members'  constitutional rights.

In 2016, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled in favour of postal workers following a 2011 back-to-work bill passed by the Conservative government.

The court found the legislation to be unconstitutional because it violated workers' freedom of expression and association underneath the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Emily Leedham, a member of the People for Posties believes if back-to-work legislation is upheld the effects could be far reaching.

"People are not just ready to take this lying down, we're here to fight for our rights. They don't mean anything unless they're upheld," she said.

Fair process 

For Rebeck, the goal is to let the federal government know its involvement in union issues hasn't gone unnoticed.

"The idea isn't across the country to make Canada Post stop entirely, but it's to let them know that there are people that care about how things are done and about fair deals being reached."

The Canadian Postal Workers Union and Canada Post are back at negotiating table dealing with a mediator.


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