THE SUNDAY E-MAIL
Ottawa Postal Workers’ News Bulletin
February 2, 2014
On January 26, 2014 close to 3,000 postal workers and their allies in the workers’ movement and the community braved the bitter winter cold of -21 degrees Celsius and rallied at Dundonald Park to then march the streets of downtown Ottawa to the Prime Minister’s Office where they were greeted by many speakers.
They did so in order to defend the Canadian public post office against the wrecking ball of the Chopra-Harper conservative alliance and to demand the immediate withdrawal of Canada Post’s “Five Point Action Plan” which was announced on December 11, 2013 just a day after parliament went into recess for the holiday period.
The “Five Point Action Plan” called for the elimination of urban door-to-door delivery within the next five years which will result in the loss of 8,000 letter carrier jobs, increased postal prices for the people while giving reduced rates to high volume mailers. The action plan also pledged to accelerate the privatization of the post office’s most vital retail network in favour of opening private franchises in stores throughout the country.
Postal workers and community groups from Ottawa were joined in this high-spirited demonstration by an impressive contingent of 1,200 postal workers from Montreal who came by bus and by several other important delegations from cities throughout Quebec such as Victoriaville, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Thetford Mines and Maniwaki.
Postal workers from the Outaouais region militantly participated as well and came to swell the overall number of participants from Quebec to an estimated 2,000 people. Hundreds of postal workers also came from the vicinity of Toronto, Toronto itself and from Southern Ontario.
Several unions such as the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Unifor Quebec and Canada, the Service Employees International Union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Ontario Public Service Staff Union, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, the Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario, Steelworkers and many others took part in both the rally and march and stood united as one with the postal workers in their just struggle to defend the rights of all.
Representatives from the Ottawa District Labour Council, the Quebec Federation of Labour, the Ontario Federation of Labour and other labour bodies were present including community groups representing people with limited mobility and disabilities. All fervently spoke at the rally denouncing the “Five Point Action Plan” as a Harper conservative fraud concocted for the purpose of privatizing the post office.
This event was part of a string of mass actions being held across the country by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers to coincide with the resumption of parliament on January 27, 2014. Thousands of postal workers and their supporters have participated in these actions from coast to coast to coast making the union’s campaign to save the public post office very successful thus far.
By holding mass actions everywhere such as the one held in Ottawa, postal workers are trying to force Canada Post CEO Deepack Chopra and the Harper conservatives to render accounts for having hatched in the backrooms of political power the notorious “Five Point Action Plan” which will inevitably destroy, if not stopped, one of the oldest Canadian public institution that has been key in serving the public good and nation-building for centuries.
Already, in many cities across the country, municipal councils have passed resolutions condemning Canada Post’s plan to eliminate home delivery. From St. John’s Newfoundland to Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, many mayors have spoken out demanding that Canada Post stop wrecking the public post office and provide the services to which the people are entitled.
Postal workers know that their livelihoods and standards are directly connected to the provision of services incumbent in a modern public post office. By wearing their uniforms to the rally and march, postal workers emphasized the very important contributions they are making to the Canadian economy by providing indispensable postal services to the Canadian people and businesses.
They also affirmed, in this way, that as part of the Canadian working class they are the producers of all the wealth and far from being a “cost of production”, they add significant value to the socialised economy which must be placed in the service of the general interest of the society.
By attending the rally and march in such significant numbers, postal workers have shown that they are very determined to turn things around in favour of themselves and the people. The dignity of labour was proudly upheld and placed at the forefront throughout the demonstration showing the immense consciousness that postal workers nurture for the urgent necessity for a change in the direction of the society.