We Have Only Just Begun to Claim Our Power

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Wednesday November 28 2018
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The government has aligned themselves with Canada Post. They have legislated more pain, injuries and unpaid work. But they cannot legislate labour peace. Canada Post has the potential to do many great things for people and for our communities while creating safe, stable and decent jobs. And yet, we find ourselves back in a familiar place, where once again, the governing party has sided with the richest interests in the country, proving that corporations really control political power.

Minister of Labour Patty Hajdu, said throughout the negotiating process that she felt like a parent between two fighting children. In this case, that would make her a very abusive parent. While she often spoke of the importance of negotiated collective agreements, she also made up stories about a fictitious backlog and pensioners not receiving their cheques in order to fast-track the government’s back to work legislation. Hajdu said she’d heard from a man she identified only as Jack who faced eviction from his home due to delays in receiving his disability cheque. It has since been confirmed by her office that there is no Jack. Here we have a Parliamentarian so cynical as to make up stories, while our members continue to be injured and management holds back letters. 

The fix was in, but power speaks to power. Take heart. There is not only one side here. You have shown power and we have only just begun. One might ask what is the point of striking for better conditions when it is a game to benefit the boss and when the fix is in? Today, we should all take a deep breath. We should not feel disheartened. Our struggle has reached a new phase. We have made those in power declare openly where their loyalty lays and it is not with those forced to work like machines and do work for which they are not paid.

 

WE WERE SET UP

The crisis that led to the Liberal legislation was a set-up. It was manufactured and dishonest. We know management held up letter mail. We know they exaggerated the backlog of mail. The crisis was not real. The real crisis is working in pain and doing work for which you are not paid. Precarious jobs and workplace disrespect are an epidemic.

Any reasonable person, more honest than Liberal parliamentarians, would know they are receiving mail. Unless, of course it is being withheld by Canada Post, as in the case of the letter mail.

 

THIS IS NOT OVER

Real power is in the work we do, the relationships we build, and the lives we lead. Power happens when we stand up for each other and realize that the hurting has to stop. That power arises from our dignity when we state enough is enough. Power rests in unity, when we see ourselves not just as individuals, but also as a growing collective force. We have power and we can keep exercising it. Power only rests in Parliament if we allow it.

Violations of the Canadian constitution, lying to obtain legislation, and sending signals to Canada Post that they do not have to negotiate, are now the legacy of the government. Not over our bodies. We are in a new phase of the struggle and will never accept that workers will continue to be hurt to please wealthy corporations and dishonest politicians. This is not over. The Liberals are going into an election year.  Let us remember what they have done and let us remember that we don’t need to wait for an election to build our power and turn this around.

Stay tuned and stay solid. We are not victims here, but rather, we are like a tired giant that was pushed around too many times, and is awakening. When a very dishonest government thinks they can violate the constitution and punish us with more pain and injuries, this is what happens. We have only just begun to claim our power.

 

In solidarity,

Dave Bleakney
2nd National Vice-President