CUPW’s struggle is our struggle

CUPW is one of the largest unions in the country and as such might as well have a bullseye painted on it’s head. If we allow our own government corporation to shut down this union and take away their pensions and continue to pay women 30% less than male workers it will be the death knoll of the labour movement in Canada. Every neoliberal of course salivates at the thought of our perfectly good crown corporations being defunded to the point of nonfunctioning and then sold off to the lowest oligarch bidder. Crown corporations were created to fulfill a need OTHER THAN seeking profit. This dominant culture of the individual has divided us into winners and losers, and even the losers are brainwashed into thinking they are winners by embracing greed and entitled superiority as their own, even when they are slowly but surely enslaved and economically compromised by the very politicians and elites that they support and vote for.

Our postal service was created because our country encompasses 9306 Kms coast to coast and it is still the best/cheapest way to ship goods and packages across country, despite what the Harper government had told us for the last 10 years. Neolibs will make the argument that no one writes letters anymore so the service must be irrelevant, they will make the claim to feed your greedy anger that this is a drain on your taxpayer dollars and that somehow the postal service is “stealing” from you. All of these claims are false, out of the last 11 years the corporation was profitable except for the few years where there was a lockout because Deepak Chopra refused to negotiate. This is where we stand today. A tired greedy old jerk that Harper appointed and then topped up his contract just before he lost the last election is still acting as if he is hell bent on privatizing Canada Post, and mainstream media is only too happy to pick up the narrative. As late as last Saturday news outlets were still speaking the language of the union “striking” when it was clearly Canada Post threatening to lock out the workers unless they agree to their demands, this is how these bastards operate. A collective agreement is a document arrived at by two parties that actually have “negotiated” said agreement.

I am not a postal worker but I stand in solidarity with my brethren. My union, IATSE Local 63 allows me vacation pay, a health plan, a fair living wage and a pension plan. Sounds great but it seems like we are under constant attack. I am not rich, but in the last week I have heard the phrase “rich union workers” rolling off the tongues of conservatives and liberals alike. Everyone loves to have a bash at the “rich entitled Postal workers”, as far as unions go they are the proverbial punching bag… even self professed moderate progressives love to have a go at the posties. Just about every postal worker I know has some kind of physical ailment after years on the job, mostly back and hip problems. Canada post has an abysmal record of workplace safety, despite the strength of the union. Think about it, when is the last time you walked twenty miles in a day carrying a 75 pound sack of shit on your back? Imagine twenty years of that through wind, hail, sleet and snow…

I have said this before, the trade union movement gave us the 5 day workweek, it gave us child labour laws, so that your child or grandchild won’t have to work in a sweatshop, it gave us holiday pay, maternity leave and enforced workplace safety rules. It allowed for the biggest post war economic growth in history and is singularly responsible for the birth of the middle class through negotiations for a fair living wage.

Today, this is all up for grabs, and before you start saying I’m reactionary just be aware that corporations don’t have feelings. As they beat down the largest of Canada’s unions, the final outcome or goal is to beat them all down and when there are no trade unions left, there will be no justice, no humans WITH feelings to stand in solidarity with to protect your fair living wage, your pensions, even your holiday pay and maternity leave. The plain and simple fact is that the rich are getting richer, the rest of us are getting the shaft, and the only thing protecting you from corporations owning your democracy is the trade movement.