Barring an unexpected last-minute settlement, Canada Post management will have moved to lock-out members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and trigger a nation-wide mail service shutdown by Friday, July 8.
As a result, some Agriculture Union members may encounter a CUPW picket line in the course of their work duties. While crossing a legal picket line is unacceptable to most union members, there are legitimate concerns regarding management reprisals for standing up for our principles.
With this in mind, our bargaining agent, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, is currently in talks with CUPW to arrange a protocol to permit its members to cross the picket line to report to work or carry out their duties.
Robyn Benson, PSAC National President, has in the meantime issued the following guidelines to be followed by our members:
I know many of you have expressed your desire to stand in solidarity with CUPW members in any potential strike or lock-out at Canada Post. We also want to ensure that PSAC members do not face discipline for failure to be at work. We are currently working with CUPW to arrive at a protocol for picket lines where PSAC members are working. In the meantime, I am suggesting the following course of action.
When a CUPW picket line is in place around a workplace where members of PSAC work, it is understood that PSAC members will not be prevented from reporting to work. CUPW picket captains/coordinators may be asked to determine the entrance which will be used by PSAC members to report to work. PSAC members may be expected to show their union cards or employee identification to CUPW picket personnel appointed to coordinate access by PSAC members.
It is further understood that PSAC members working in places picketed by CUPW are strongly encouraged to express their solidarity with CUPW by joining CUPW picket lines before or after their work hours and in other ways to be determined by the PSAC and CUPW local leadership.
PSAC members who enter workplaces where a picket line is located are required to assess the situation and determine whether it is appropriate for them to exercise their right to refuse dangerous work, and therefore, contact their supervisor and union representative rather than cross the picket line.
If you have any doubt about crossing a picket line to get to work, you should contact your supervisor and insist on an escort.
In the past, PSAC and CUPW have always supported each other in order to apply as much pressure on the employer for a fair deal. We expect that all PSAC members will continue to show our solidarity in this current situation.