Posties back to work, cheques in the mail

B.C.’s Ministry of Social Development said Monday that it’s now mailing out cheques that it pays directly to landlords and utility companies for families on income assistance.

Postal workers protested proposed legislation to force them back to work.

Postal workers protested proposed legislation to force them back to work.

The cheques are in the mail again, after the federal government ordered Canada Post workers back on the job over the weekend.

B.C.’s Ministry of Social Development said Monday that it’s now mailing out cheques that it pays directly to landlords and utility companies for families on income assistance.

Cheques have also gone out for families who receive help through the Child In The Home of Relative program.

Other mail that’s been held during the disruption will also be sent on its way, such as bus passes.

Canada Post workers were to be back on the job by Tuesday.

The government said it hopes that landlords will be “accommodating and understanding” if cheques don’t arrive by July 1.

The House of Commons passed Bill C-6 Saturday night after a 58-hour marathon debate.

The legislation was quickly approved by the Senate and given royal assent.

It imposes a settlement and ends the lockout of nearly 50,000 postal workers that began June 14 after a series of rotating strikes at selected cities across the country.

Angry postal workers protested in Vancouver on Monday, denouncing the Conservative government’s imposition of wages that are lower than Canada Post had offered the union earlier in the dispute.

Robert Mulvin, president of the Vancouver local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), said members are “deeply disturbed” by the outcome, but will comply.

“The feeling on our work floor is that the management of [Canada Post] has been working hand-in-hand with the Harper government from the beginning,” he said.

“The employer has had no incentive to bargain in good faith, knowing full well that the government would intervene and impose the terms of an agreement.”

Workers at the Maple Ridge delivery centre and post office on Lougheed Highway said they were looking forward to getting back to work after being locked out by their employer, but said they aren’t happy about how they are going back.

“There’s definitely going to be hostile,” said one worker, who asked not to be identified. “There’s a lot of anger and frustration right now.”

CUPW local 704 president Cindy McDonnell said the union may pursue legal action to overturn the legislation and allow the union to bargain with Canada Post.

“This is definitely not the end,” she said.

Last Thursday, locked out postal workers staged a sit-in at local Conservative MP Randy Kamp’s office to protest the back-to-work legislation, with a trio of workers eventually being escorted out by police at closing time.

The NDP Official Opposition fought the legislation, calling it a threat to workers’ collective bargaining rights, and tried to delay it as long as possible.

The goal was to buy time for a negotiated deal that would supersede the one threatened through legislation, but union leaders said Saturday further talks with Canada Post were unsuccessful.

The NDP then tried to amend the bill to raise the wage levels to be imposed, but the amendment was defeated by the Conservative majority.

An arbitrator will choose between the final offers of the two sides on non-wage matters – a winner-take-all process CUPW denounced as biased against the union.

Labour minister Lisa Raitt said Ottawa had to intervene because of the risk of damage to the economy.

The service interruption spurred many people to switch to online bill payments or alternative delivery services.

• The ministry encourages anyone with questions or concerns to call 1-866-866-0800.

 

– with files from Robert Mangelsdorf and Jeff Nagel