Postal Workers Wary of Federal Government’s Partnership with Amazon Canada

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Monday April 6 2020

For immediate Release

OTTAWA - The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is concerned that a new distribution deal may be rewarding Amazon Canada for creating stressful, precarious jobs; ignoring workers’ demands for health and safety; and interfering with their right to unionize.

On April 3, the Government of Canada announced its intention to work closely with the tech giant to manage the distribution of personal protective equipment and supplies, purchased by the Canadian government. The announcement was made without consultation of postal workers.

“We have urgent questions and serious concerns about the deal,” says Jan Simpson, CUPW National President. “Amazon is notorious for relying on precarious employment – where workers’ schedules and status are fundamentally uncertain and unstable.”

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, healthcare workers and service workers must have access to personal protective equipment.

“Oversight is going to be crucial,” says Simpson. “How will the public be assured that worker rights are respected the way they should be by a federal contractor? How will we be assured that they’re really doing this ‘at cost?’ We certainly don’t need anyone using this crisis to line Jeff Bezos’ pockets any more than it is.”

The government’s decision will put further strain on workers who are already not properly protected. Amazon uses numerous subcontractors throughout its delivery operations. Warehouse workers are at risk of losing their jobs, or of being pressured to continue working, even when they get sick.

“I want Amazon workers in the fulfilment centres to know that CUPW will be fighting for all workers in this arrangement’s supply chain,” adds Simpson.

“Now that the federal government has hired your employer, they must not wash their hands of violations of your rights, and conditions that endanger you. CUPW has been fighting to confront abuses of workers in the gig economy. CUPW has been able to improve health and safety at Canada Post during this crisis, and it is your right to work in a healthy and safe environment, and to have a collective voice to improve your work conditions.”

CUPW is writing to the government to detail our concerns relating to labour rights, health and safety, and data protection and privacy. CUPW is to participate in a federal briefing on the arrangement and will learn more in the coming days.

 

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For more information, please contact Ibtihal Yaaqoubi, CUPW Communications, at 613-882-2742 or at media@cupw-sttp.org.