Postal Workers

Postal worker supporters block entrance to Halifax post office

Individuals protested the passing of Bill C-89 early Friday morning

Demonstrators blocked entrances to Halifax’s main postal office Friday morning in support of postal workers.

At around 8 a.m. about 20 people gathered at the Canada Post plant at 6175 Almon St. The demonstrators were stationed at two separate entrances, blocking vehicles from entering and exiting the plant.

Demonstrator Bill Kroeger said the protest was in response to the federal government’s passing of Bill C-89 on Monday.

“This is actually what Justin Trudeau said that he wouldn’t do,” he said. “He campaigned on respect for public servants, and he knew as soon as he told the public that he was going to legislate back-to-work that he was going to take the knees out from bargaining for this unit.”

Postal workers were on strike, until the federal government passed back-to-work legislation on Monday.   Dylan Coutts

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers had been staging rotating strikes in cities across Canada since Oct. 22. Bill C-89’s passing put an end to CUPW members’ legal ability to strike.

Danny Cavanagh, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, said Friday’s demonstration was organized by community members who were troubled by the back-to-work ruling.

“We have a right in this country, under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to strike and the right to bargain fairly and freely and people are upset that the Canadian government sees it fit to write a law that breaks a law,” Cavanagh said in an interview.

Suzanne MacNeil said she showed up because postal workers could no longer strike themselves.

There would be “heavy fines for postal workers who picket themselves,” she said. “We’ve been holding the picket line in solidarity.”

Suzanne MacNeil holds her sign at Friday’s demonstration.   Dylan Coutts

Under Bill C-89, any postal worker found in violation faces fines between $1,000 and $50,000 per day. There is also a possibility of a $100,000 fine per day against Canada Post or the union if either organization violates the terms of the bill.

The demonstrators left the postal office around 10 a.m., after police told them they were not allowed to block vehicles at the site.

In a tweet, Canada Post said people were “illegally obstructing the movement of mail and parcels” at the Halifax plant.

It said it will “continue to take appropriate action to address illegal activity impacting the collection and delivery of mail and parcels.”

The Nova Scotia branch of the postal workers’ union wouldn’t comment on Friday’s demonstration, saying they were not affiliated with the protest.