Locked-out Canadian Union of Postal Workers members hold placards and wave at passersby at Canada Post’s 24 Avenue plant June 21.

Locked-out Canadian Union of Postal Workers members hold placards and wave at passersby at Canada Post’s 24 Avenue plant June 21.

Postal workers protest legislation

Postal workers march from 24 Avenue Canada Post plant to South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale MP Russ Hiebert's office.

The Conservative government has introduced legislation to force an end to the current Canada Post labour dispute.

Labour Minister Lisa Raitt introduced the bill Monday afternoon, noting both sides had had “ample” time to reach a settlement.

Tuesday morning, around a dozen locked-out postal workers marched from the 24 Avenue Canada Post plant to South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale MP Russ Hiebert’s office to lodge a protest and ask which way the MP was going to vote on the legislation.

“They’re ordering us back with the contract – it’s just an illusion of negotiation,” said union member Dave Jelley.

“No job is safe if we can be legislated back to work,” added union member Teresa Fontaine.

Aside from social assistance and pension cheques, all mail delivery has been suspended by the dispute.

Debate on the legislation – which would force both sides into binding arbitration if a settlement can’t be hammered out – was anticipated to start after Peace Arch News’ deadline Tuesday, which could mean a vote by Thursday, the last scheduled day of the current session.

Although this development had led to speculation that mail delivery could resume as soon as Friday, Canada Post spokesperson John Caines said the timing would be hard to predict without specifics of the legislation.

Hiebert described the bill as “the way to go… a healthy way to resolve a labour dispute.”

“It’s fair and it results in a final contract,” he said in a phone interview from Ottawa Tuesday.

Hiebert said it is important to get mail services back on track.

“There are economic consequences if we don’t get the post moving, and a lot of Canadians are being inconvenienced.”

Hiebert said he is not taking a public position on the dispute, in which the Canadian Union of Postal Workers has argued Canada Post is demanding “unacceptable” rollbacks.

Due to the Conservatives’ majority in the House of Commons, the vote on the back-to-work bill would be expected to pass easily, although it was unclear whether NDP MPs would seek to delay the vote through debate.

Government House leader Peter Van Loan has said the House will remain in session until the bill is passed.

Both the NDP and the Liberals have condemned the idea of legislation to end the dispute, arguing government would be meddling in the collective bargaining process while failing to address valid pension and benefit issues raised by CUPW.

The union started rotating strikes across the country June 3. Canada Post countered with an employee lockout June 15.

“We were losing up to $100 million and our customer base was eroding,” Caines said. “Our volumes were down about 50 per cent, but we were still paying full salaries. There comes a time when you have to cut your losses.”

Susan Keeping, an NDP candidate in Hiebert’s riding last month,  said she has concerns over government “manipulation” of information about the strike, and urged the public to inform themselves even though there may be a legislated end to the dispute.

She said the rotating strikes had been designed to send a message to Canada Post without overly inconveniencing the public.

“This is using legislation that was not intended for that purpose to shut down negotiations,” she said.

Just Posted

Semiahmoo First Nation archeology manager Don Welsh (left) sifts through shell midden at a Crescent Beach site in August 2019. (File photo)
Semiahmoo First Nation to repatriate 200 ancestors

B.C. grant funding return of remains from Simon Fraser University

The City of Surrey partnered with the Work Zone Safety Alliance last year to remind drivers to slow down in construction zones. (File photo)
White Rock, Surrey motorists asked to slow down in ‘cone zones’

Provincewide campaign encouraging residents to be mindful of construction workers

White Rock RCMP received more than 80 calls for service between Friday and Sunday night (May 14-16, 2021). (Aaron Hinks file photo)
White Rock beachgoers fined for fires, public intoxication

Majority of weekend visitors were well-behaved, police say

Fraser Valley Heritage Rail Society volunteers stand on the train platform in Cloverdale in 2020. A new exhibit about FVHRS and Surrey’s train history opens at the Museum of Surrey June 2. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
New exhibition on Surrey’s train history to open at Museum of Surrey

Separate two-day event welcomes kids June 25-26

A new DPD team began targeting gang-related activity on May 15, including checking on individuals who must abide by curfews and conditions. (Delta Police Department photo)
Delta police taking action to address gang conflict

Three-pronged strategy focused on interdiction, investigation and prevention

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Most Read