Postal workers picketing in Campbell River on Oct. 31. NDP MP Blaney is crying foul over legislation that would force postal employees to end rotating strikes. Photo by Mike Chouinard/Campbell River Mirror

Postal workers picketing in Campbell River on Oct. 31. NDP MP Blaney is crying foul over legislation that would force postal employees to end rotating strikes. Photo by Mike Chouinard/Campbell River Mirror

MP Blaney takes a stand for postal workers, citing high injury rates and long overtime hours

Liberal government poised to pass back-to-work legislation during weekend

NDP MP Rachel Blaney expressed outrage on Friday about the Liberal government’s plans to force postal employees back to work, and she called on Canada Post to address high rates of injury and long overtime hours cited by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).

Blaney, who represents the North Island-Powell River riding in the House of Commons, described the Trudeau government’s back-to-work legislation as “a sad way of addressing a really important labour issue.”

The workplace is becoming more hazardous as postal workers handle increasing volumes of parcels and packages – rather than letters – in the expanding e-commerce market, she said.

“Postal working has changed dramatically in the last several years,” Blaney said. “Now they’re moving a lot of packages, and that’s a totally different job.”

READ MORE: No charges pending after driver confronts picket line in Campbell River

CUPW has reported that postal workers get injured more frequently than any other group of federal workers, with an injury rate 5.4 times higher than the federal sector average.

Blaney also echoed the union’s objections to forced overtime hours, saying that demands on postal workers make it impossible for them to have a balanced life. The union has said that staff are overstretched.

“It’s one thing if you do a bit of overtime once in a while,” she said. “Some of these folks have been doing overtime for days and weeks and months and not getting acknowledged for that.”

The union, which represents some 50,000 workers, has been refusing overtime and staging rotating strikes across the country.

Blaney said the union chose rolling strikes to avoid damaging the interests of small businesses that rely on the postal service, and she argued that Canada Post has exaggerated the extent of backlogs.

READ MORE: Canada Post responds to B.C. mail carrier’s claims of questionable tactics during strike

When rotating strikes hit Campbell River, constituents reported receiving paycheques in the mail despite the job action, she said. Postal employees have ensured that old-age pensions and income assistance cheques get to their destination quickly, she said.

“These workers have been absolutely committed to making sure that the mail and the parcels are delivered,” Blaney said.

She accused Canada Post of promoting what she described as a false impression that postal workers were causing major service disruptions.

“This is the very reason they did rotating strikes, so there wouldn’t be huge waits on small business or on communities,” she said. “It’s unfortunate for me to hear workers being blamed.”

While some residents have expressed outrage about disruptions – especially ahead of the holiday season – Blaney called for people to support the striking postal workers.

READ MORE: Vancouver Island postal worker accuses Canada Post of questionable tactics during strike

“Remember that postal worker are a part of our community,” she said. “I think we have to remember that these are human beings.”

She also suggested that negotiations were made untenable when the government indicated that it would pass back-to-work legislation. A debate on that bill is slated for Friday night in the House of Commons, and Blaney said she’d be delivering a speech in support of the union.

Minister of Labour Patty Hajdu introduced the legislation on Thursday. Bill C-89 states that “the work stoppages are having a significant adverse impact on Canadian workers, consumers and businesses as well as on those Canadians who rely on postal services.”

Hadju said in a statement on Thursday that the postal service was important for Canadians, “especially during the busy holiday season” and that the government would pass legislation to keep goods moving.

She urged Canada Post and the union to negotiate an agreement immediately.

“We still believe a deal is possible and I continue to encourage the parties to get to a deal before the legislation is passed,” she said.

@davidgordonkoch
david.koch@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press Media file
Port Hardy RCMP on the hunt for porta-pottie arsonist

The porta-potties were lit on fire early in the morning on June 13

Eke Me-Xi students enjoy a field trip to Malcolm Island. (Submitted photos)
Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre takes field trip to Malcolm Island

Once at Bere Point, students made themselves at home in the day-use area

Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair logo
Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair cancelled again due to COVID-19 restrictions

The 2022 fall fair is still scheduled to take place in Port Hardy

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read