NUPGE urges support for striking Teamsters: Send an email to Labour Minister - back-to-work legislation doesn't work!

Visit the www.labourrights.ca website to send Minister of Labour Lisa Raitt an email to tell her to stop interfering with collective bargaining!

photo of striking Teamster membersOttawa (24 May 2012) - After securing a 95 per cent mandate, the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), which represents some 4,800 workers at Canadian Pacific, are off the job after management at Canadian Pacific refused to remove several concessions from the bargaining table.

"Fatigue management, work rules and pension plans are at the core of the negotiations," says the Teamster. "Canadian Pacific is drastically and unfairly trying to cut its workers’ pensions while generously improving the retirement benefits of its managers. Further, as reported by the Globe and Mail, CP is also "seeking to reduce the payouts for future retirees, as well as scale back health, dental and prescription drug benefits for its new pensioners."

The union has been open about its commitment to negotiate a fair deal in order to end the strike but with federal back-to-work legislation already in the wings, it is unclear if this will happen.

On Tuesday, May 22, the night before the strike began, Minister Lisa Raitt indicated that she was optimistic a deal could be reached. When asked whether or not she was working on back-to-work legislation, she suggested she was letting negotiations take their natural course. Within 24 hours, she warnedboth sides to adopt one of three options - reach a deal, go volunarily to binding arbitration, or accept 120 days of further mediation - or face back-to-work legislation.

"This knee jerk reaction to labour disputes is typical of the Conservative government and this minister," says James Clancy, National President of the 340,000-member National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "Its repeated attempts to undermine the bargaining position of workers - from airlines, to postal service to rail service - through back-to-work legislation is a violation of workers' fundamental right to free collective bargaining."

"The Conservatives have no idea how to resolve conflict only know how to rachet it up," Clancy continued. "In threatening this back-to-work legislation, they have just given CP no real reason to sit at the table and negotiate fairly. It's a clear and growing sign that workers cannot trust this government to operate in good faith."

"The National Union stands in solidarity with the 4,800 striking Teamsters in their fight for a fair settlement, which includes a strong and decent pension plan. You are fighting not only for yourselves but for the retirement security of all workers."

More information:

Send an email to Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour

President’s Commentary: Harper government denying fundamental human rights

Legislating workers back to work creates bad labour relations: CFLR

NUPGE: Pensions and retirement security

All Together Now! campaign: Champions 4 Pensions

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE