The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) is challenging the Canada Post Corporation (CPC) policy of prohibiting bargaining unit employees from wearing a button or other insignia to promote Canada’s public postal service. CUPW also challenges CPC’s policy of disciplining employees who refuse to obey the policy directive or an order to remove such buttons or insignia.
CPC’s policy and actions:
(a) constitute an illegal attack on the freedom of expression of employees and the Union;
(b) constitute a constraint upon a legitimate union activity;;
(c) constitute an abusive exercise of management rights;;
(d) violate the provisions of the collective agreement, and more specifically Articles 1, 2, 3 and 5.
CPC is abusing its rights by using the threat of discipline to stifle freedom of expression. Furthermore, over the years, various arbitrators have ruled that wearing buttons or other insignia is a legitimate union activity, which the Corporation does not have the right to prohibit, or even less to discipline employees who choose to express themselves in this way. More specifically, the Corporation is deliberately violating the order issued by arbitrator Rodrigue Blouin in his decision dated September 27, 2006.
Corrective Steps Requested
CUPW also requests, by final decision, that the arbitrator:
(a) declare that CPC has interfered with the freedom of expression of employees and the Union;
(b) declare that the Corporation has abused its management rights by deliberately violating arbitration awards involving the parties on the wearing of buttons or other insignia;
(c) declare that the Corporation has violated the provisions of the collective agreement;
(d) order the Corporation to stop prohibiting bargaining unit employees from wearing a button or other insignia in support of the public postal service or against its privatization or deregulation;
(e) order the Corporation to stop disciplining employees who wear such buttons or other insignia and stop any other act of retaliation or harassment against employees;
(f) order the Corporation to compensate any employee whose freedom of expression has been violated as a result of this policy or the actions of the Corporation or its representatives.
CUPW reserves the right to request any additional corrective action.