Gordie MacDonald, President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Local 117 in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia reports that Canada Post is firing delivery drivers in the Local and replacing them with new hires. Thirteen drivers in and around Sydney, one in Antigonish and several more in St. Stephen, New Brunswick have been notified that their jobs have been eliminated. One driver has delivered parcels for Canada Post for thirty years.
The drivers waged a struggle to improve their terms of employment in 2018 and gained some improvements in wages and conditions. Canada Post wants to fire the workers both to take revenge for their strike and to drive terms of employment back down to the 2018 level or lower. They were receiving $14.30 an hour in 2018 and managed to improve that by $2 an hour and had paid sick days, holiday pay and other benefits reinstated.
Canada Post says it has the right to attack these workers because they are classified as contract workers without the same rights to security of employment as in-house workers. Canada Post simply changes the owners of the so-called contract and attacks the workers. The new contract owners do not bring anything to Canada Post as the work is essentially the responsibility of the delivery workers themselves. Such is the disgusting farce that workers are considered disposable and can be cast aside and replaced with cheaper versions using corrupt methods such as contracting out that have no place in a modern country.
CUPW Local 117 demands the workers not be fired and instead be hired directly by Canada Post as in-house workers, which is the only right thing to do. The delivery workers must have the same wages, benefits and pensions as other Canada Post workers. That is a just solution.
Contracting out by major corporations such as Canada Post is a corrupt anti-worker travesty that must be stopped. Gordie MacDonald told CBC that because of “contract flipping” the union has to fight for workers every time the contract is switched from one company to another. The workers may never build up any security of employment or pension. The ruling elite would like to see all workers in this insecure vulnerable position without rights so as to better exploit and attack them with impunity as they are doing in this situation. It must not pass!
MacDonald said COVID-19 public health restrictions have kept many people at home, creating a huge spike in the parcel delivery business, and the pandemic is still going on. “A year ago, we were calling them heroes,” he said of the drivers. “We were calling them frontline workers. We were boosting them up and putting them on pedestals, and here today, Canada Post decides they’re going to sweep them out the door to save a few dollars on their backs.”
“We’re really trying to avoid any kind of illegal work stoppage at the moment,” MacDonald said. “They want their jobs. They want to continue doing the same work.”
Workers’ Forum stands with the CUPW Local 117 delivery workers. Call or email Canada Post and demand the firings be reversed, contracting out jobs must be stopped and the workers must be hired on a permanent basis with the same wages, benefits, pensions and job security as other in-house postal workers.
Workers’ Forum, No. 80 – September 8, 2021