Dozens gathered in front of territorial MP Michael McLeod’s office today, in support of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and in protest of the back-to-work legislation.
After more than five weeks of rotating strikes, postal workers were legislated back to work last week when the federal government passed Bill C-89, forcing an end to the strikes.
“We’re having a demonstration to show our displeasure with the bill that was passed in the legislature,” said Evelyn Ray, vice president of CUPW Local 858.
“In 2015 the arbitrator ruled that it was unconstitutional to legislate back to work, so we’re back in the same position again,” said Ray. “We want free collective bargaining,” she said.
Urban postal workers work thousands of hours of uncompensated overtime a year said Ray.
“We want equality and we want equality for rural-suburban mail carriers and for getting paid all the hours that they work.”
This day of action was organized by the Northern Territories Federation of Labour (NTFL), in conjunction with other demonstrations being held across the country.
“CUPW’s issues are basically issues that are occurring right across Canada and especially here in the North,” said David Bob, president of NTFL.
One issue that affects the North is fair wages in communities across the territories, said Bob.
“The market basket measure (was) traditionally only collected for Yellowknife and it didn’t include all of the other regions within the territory, actually all the territories. So there’s a lot of pay discrepancy,” he said.
The costs of living in smaller communities in the North rise the further away they are from an urban centre like Yellowknife, Bob said.
Todd Parsons, president of the Union for Northern Workers also came out in support.
“UNW and our membership is out here today to show our support and solidarity for the struggles of the Canadian Union of Postal workers,” said Parsons.
“We stand side by side with them, we share similar struggles from time to time.”
Parsons said the CUPW faced an injustice when the government interfered with their collective bargaining process.