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News brief: Canada Post granted province-wide injunction against picketing

CUPW members on a rotating strike at the Almon Street sorting plant in November. Photo Robert Devet

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – In an oral decision delivered earlier today at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Canada Post was granted a province-wide injunction against picketing activities that slow down mail delivery.

The Canada Post request was triggered by the solidarity pickets that occurred in many places after postal workers were legislated back to work by the federal government.

One such solidarity picket, at the Almon Street sorting plant in Halifax, caused heavy handed Halifax police to arrest six picketers, who were held overnight, and now face charges.

At Friday’s hearing Suzanne MacNeil, president of the Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council, through her lawyer requested standing in the case, but that request was rejected.

MacNeil, who only found out about the pending case by chance, is glad she was able to at least make an effort to contest the Canada Post injunction. “It was absolutely worthwhile. You don’t just want to leave this all to the employer,” MacNeil told the Nova Scotia Advocate.

Canada Post has requested anti-picketing injunctions Canada-wide, and MacNeil hopes that unions and Labour Councils in those places will make similar efforts.

“As I was listening to Canada Post’s legal council going on about the hardships it would suffer if the injunction wasn’t granted, I thought of the injury rates of postal workers who now have to go into the peak season without the protections they were fighting for,” said MacNeil.

One out of every 12 workers at Canada Post experienced a disabling injury in 2017. The disabling injury rate at Canada Post is 5.4 times greater than the rest of the federal sector.

“The postal workers tried to get these protective measures through the collective bargaining process, but Canada Post was not negotiating in good faith, knowing full well that its workers would be legislated back to work,” she said.   

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