Dawson Creek postal workers back on strike

Taylor MacIntyre


Since October 22nd - exactly one month today (Thursday) - the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) have been on rotating strikes throughout the country.
Negotiators are still at the table - joined by a special mediator - to try to find an agreement between Canada Post and CUPW. 
During the 5th week of strike action, the rotation has returned to Dawson Creek.
Local postal workers and letter carriers took to the picket lines once again this morning. 
Earlier today, the Trudeau government introduced 'back to work' legislation, but said it would delay debating the Bill in the House of Commons to give a special mediator additional time to try to reach an agreement. 
If the legislation is passed, the local president says the Union will initiate a legal battle.
"They are going to be fighting it. In 2011, they fought it and they won the arbitration for that and they'll be fighting it again," says President of CUPW Local 724 in Dawson Creek, Joeleen Pfeifer. She adds, "It goes against our constitutional right to strike. We're here to negotiate; we want to negotiate. Canada Post can settle this quite easily if they will meet us at the bargaining table and bargain in good faith."
Pfeifer adds that negotiations have been "going okay" thus far, but says that Canada Post is still reluctant to meet their health and safety concerns. 
According to CUPW, the union has the highest rate of workplace injuries in the federal sector in Canada - five times higher than the rest. 
To reduce the number of injuries, CUPW has suggested a single tie-out, which would end multiple bundle delivery.
For the Union, the only positive of this strike has been the community support.
"The community support has been wonderful. We have support here right now from CUPE and we've had support from the Teachers' Federation in town." Pfeifer continues, "People drive by and they're honking their horns and we're having a really good time with the support. Lots of good comments, telling us to keep fighting."
In addition, CUPW says the mail backlog has been highly exaggerated. 
Canada Post has reported that "hundreds of trailers" are sitting idle, full of packages, when in fact, according to CUPW, the Toronto local reports they have about 70 - a backlog that could be cleared within a few days. 
CUPW says the excessive number of trailers was a rumour orchestrated by Canada Post, so the government would step in - which is exactly what happened. 
Canada Post has issued a statement, saying quote: "We continue to operate in an attempt to minimize further service impacts on the many people who depend on us, especially at this time of year."

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