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Defy Trudeau – Defend workers’ right to strike!

By: 
Graeme Cheadle, Bradley Hughes and Ritch Wyman

November 29, 2018

Across Canada and Quebec workers are organizing to defeat Trudeau’s back to work legislation. On Tuesday November 28 the legislation was passed ordering CUPW members back to work to prevent them from achieving equal pay and to prevent them protecting themselves from more injuries on the job. The next day solidarity rallies were organized to picket CUPW workers at sorting stations so that no mail could move.
 
Dozens of self-described "concerned citizens" (including two members of the Vancouver International Socialists) descended on the Canada Post Pacific Processing Center in Richmond, BC in a solidarity action with Canada Post workers, a day after the federal Liberal government enacted legislation to force them back to work and end a series of rotating strikes throughout the county. Approximately 60 of these activists peacefully blockaded two main entry gates into the facility, the largest of its kind in Western Canada, in an attempt to send a message to the government that its unfair and unconstitutional attack on postal workers would be met with resistance from other workers. The activists included member of other unions but the action was not planned or coordinated by any union.

Beginning in the pre-dawn hours and continuing throughout the day, the activists allowed incoming trucks to enter the facility but prevented any mail from leaving. A CUPW representative noted that the action was unknown to their union but was highly appreciated. Postal workers on site greeted the activists with waves and honking car horns, and several approached them to shake their hands and thank them for their show of solidarity. Several offered to buy coffee and donuts for those on the line.

Reactions from Canada Post management and non-union contractors were not as cordial, with one driver attempting to intimidate the blockaders by moving his semi truck into their line, making physical contact with several of them. The attempt was unsuccessful.

Reports suggest the blockade was a success, as the facility was unable to move any mail during one of its busiest days of the year. Other similar actions were also reported in other cities, and in a message to local media the activists called for other Canadian workers to launch similar solidarity actions with postal workers across the country.
 
In Hamilton Ontario, a joyful picket of 50 people with flags, music and barrel fires set up at the Millen Rd sorting depot. No trucks driven by non CUPW members were allowed in.
 
In the Maritimes there have been actions and occupations in Lab City Wabush, Charlottetown, St. Anthony, Channel Port Aux Basques, Moncton, Cape Bretton, Truro, Fundy local in St John, Corner Brook, Nova local and Dartmouth just to name a few.
 
In Montreal, workers occupied the constituency office of Justin Trudeau to call for an end to the back to work legislation. There have also been rallies in Mississagua and Toronto and across Canada.
 
Friends of CUPW throughout the labour movement are being called on to join solidarity actions in over 20 cities on Saturday December 1. The right to collective bargaining is an issue not just for CUPW but for the whole labour movement. As the organizers say, “the ability to strike is not just a human right. It’s also the best tool we have to expand public services, redistribute wealth and deal with the climate crisis.” Bring your family, friends, and workmates out to the rally to send a clear message: we support everyone’s right to strike – for better working conditions, and a better world. The list of actions is here: http://www.deliveringcommunitypower.ca/day_of_action

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