Rank & File Radio – Prairie Edition on CKUW 95.90 FM provides Canadian labour news and analysis across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. This show is an independent partner with RankandFile.ca and supported by listeners like you through Patreon, and UFCW Local 832.
This episode is broadcasting from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Treaty 1 territory, the original lands of the Cree, Oji Cree Anishnaabeg Dakota and Dene peoples and the homeland of the Metis nation.
Today’s broadcast date is December 16, 2018. I’m your host, Emily Leedham.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has filed a constitutional challenge to the Liberal government’s Canada Post Act, which ended the union’s rotating strikes, and imposed a mediator between the union and Canada Post. Any CUPW members found in violation of this act can face thousands of dollars in fines.
First on the show, we’ll hear from Charles Smith, University of Saskatchewan professor and co-author of Unions in Court: Organized Labour and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, on the legal history behind the right to strike, whether the Liberal’s act is different from the Conservative’s back to work legislation in 2011, and what this legal fight will look like going forward.
Since CUPW cannot violate the Canada Post Act, other unions and supporters across Canada have engaged in civil disobedience, setting up solidarity pickets, shutting down Canada Post plants and depots. Pickets have gone up in Vancouver, Edmonton, Missasauga, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax and others.
On December 2nd, six out of 30 solidarity picketers were arrested in Halifax. A few days later, three people out of 40 protesters were arrested in Ottawa. So far, there have been no other arrests across Canada.
Later in the show, we’ll hear from Suzanne McNeil, president of the Halifax Dartmouth & District Labour Council, talking about how labour can organize and support members participating in civil disobedience. Her husband Tony Tracy was one of the six protesters arrested earlier this month.