Union leaders are rising into a fierce opposition to liberal legislation that will force Canada's employees to return to work, promising to fight the government's actions in court and on the streets.
Canadian labor camp president Hassan Yusup and MKP president Mike Plechek held a press conference on MEPs in parliament, condemning the federal government's decision and warning that members would be mobilized to protest.
Pelechek said members are fighting for solvency and safer working conditions as employees face a "crisis" of injuries.
The CUPW Local Representative in Ottawa issued a message stating that members and "allies" occupied the office of voters of Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to protest against the return bill.
Pelechek said the draft law runs counter to the liberal government's declared support for organized labor, and union members will fight.
"All the options are on the table," he said.
MEPs will continue the debate this morning on the proposal to speed up the bill in the House of Commons. It is not yet clear when the actual bill can be debated, but the Senate is ready to sit over the weekend to consider any bill that can clear the House of Commons.
In 2011, the former conservative government adopted legislation for workers in Canada, which were later disputed on a constitutional basis.
Five years later, the Supreme Court of Ontario ruled in favor of postal workers, accepting that the legislation was unconstitutional because it violated the freedom of association and expression of workers guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
"Dramatically different" approach
Asked why liberal legislation would not violate these constitutional rights, Labor Minister Patti Haidou said on Thursday that the liberals have taken a "dramatically different" approach from conservative legislation. The former government did not allow a break in labor and took a preventive action that is damaging for the labor movement, she said.
"We have made every effort for a long time to help these parties reach a negotiated agreement," she said.
Canada's post is in the fifth week of rotating strikes by thousands of unionized workers, with no sign of breakthrough in contracting.
Haidou said that these strikes have a negative impact on small businesses, rural and remote people, and low-income Canadians relying on checks to pay their bills.
Pulecek from CUPW said the government had misinterpreted the interruption of the service as the strikes are routed and the substantial checks sent to the elderly and low-income Canadians are still being delivered.
"We have not closed the post, but now the government is trying to stop collective bargaining," he said.