On the night of Monday, November 26 I headed to Gateway in Mississauga, Canada Post’s largest plant in Canada, to join postal workers and allies for a direct action outside of the plant. We were assembling to block each of the plant’s gates to stop trucks carrying mail – particularly contractors – from entering and exiting the distribution plant. This action was called in response to the Liberal government’s move to legislate postal workers back to work.
This was an important action for me. My mom, a postal worker, gave me a ride to the plant as she was on her way to work the 10pm to 6am shift. My mom has been a postal worker my whole life and as I grew up, I watched as her working conditions got worse, year after year.
As my mom was getting ready to turn onto South Gateway Road to drop me off, we were abruptly stopped by a long line of backed-up transport trucks. The action was already working, and I was encouraged and excited to get started! She dropped me off and I headed in to the main gate to see how I could help.
When I arrived at the main gate, there was about ten of us. About five posties and five allies from other unions. We stood in a line, with our backs to the plant, and had the line of transport trucks turn away, back to Dixie Road. We were instructed by the organizers of the action to turn away contractors, transport trucks that weren’t Canada Post-branded, and to let in posties starting or finishing their shifts. Some of the contractors turned away calmly but others drove with clear frustration.
After about twenty minutes at the main gate, I was sent to another gate to help with blocking yet more mail from entering and exiting. At this gate there were about ten posties and a handful of allies. As it got later into the night, the traffic wanting to enter and exit the plant slowed down.
There must have been around thirty of us in total – posties and allies – spread around the plant, blocking off the different gates. I was one of the first to leave my gate at around 2am with two other allies. The others stayed until 3am and there was another shift scheduled for 3am to 6am. As I was heading out, I got a few texts from other allies who were on their way to the action with coffee – we were never without coffee or fire, which was nice on such a cold and wet night.
This action took place just a few hours after the Liberals announced their plan to legislate postal workers back to work, but everyone at the action was more than ready ready to continue to the fight, which we saw this weekend with peaceful actions by allies taking place across the country, including more blockages at Gateway.