Ottawa – The Harper Conservative government’s insistence on forcing locked-out Canada Post employees back to work is not just an attack on collective bargaining rights, it’s an attack on young workers and the retirement security of all Canadians, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees. As Canada’s largest union, representing more than 608,000 workers across the country, CUPE is putting its full support behind the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, and the New Democratic Party MP’s efforts to stall this draconian legislation.
“CUPW is bargaining in good faith, and its members aren’t the ones stopping postal service: Canada Post locked them out. For Prime Minister Harper to so blatantly take the side of Canada Post management is inexcusable,” says Paul Moist, national president of CUPE. “This legislation isn’t just an attack on CUPW members, but an attack on the wages, benefits and pensions of every Canadian worker.”
Moist says concessions being pushed by Canada Post, and bolstered by Harper Conservative government support, set a dangerous precedent for all Canadian workers. The attack on the postal workers defined benefit pension plan, for example, will further erode Canada’s retirement income security crisis.
“Eighty percent of Canadians say public pensions, like the one CUPW members are fighting to protect, are fair or too low. Contrary to what Canada Post tries to portray, Canadians recognize that a pension that averages 18,000 dollars per year is far from extravagant,” says Moist. “For the Harper Conservative government to support unwarranted attacks on defined benefit pensions, while at the same time refusing to expand Canada Pension Plan benefits, shows they have no interest in addressing the retirement needs of Canadian workers.”
Moist also points to proposals to institute two-tier wages and benefits for new Canada Post employees as unwarranted and unfair to young Canadians, who are already facing high unemployment rates.
“There are no such things as two-tier rent or mortgages: young and new workers don’t get a discount on utility or grocery bills,” says Moist. “It’s outrageous to say young workers don’t deserve the same wages and benefits for doing the same work.”
CUPE members and staff will join other unions and concerned Canadians in the House of Commons public gallery to show their support for the NDP filibuster. CUPE members are also being encouraged to show their support by attending CUPW rallies planned for across Canada over the coming days.