September 21 saw 200 unionists and other supporters rally to say “yes to door to door mail delivery” and “no to cuts at Canada Post.” Socialist.ca spoke with a number of those in attendance.
Yasin Kaya, Recording Secretary for CUPE 3903 at York University said the main reason he attended was to oppose Tory attacks to public sector unions. To win, he said labour “has to win over workers who aren’t organized and the unemployed.”
Ron Walker, UNIFOR 222 in Oshawa (auto plant) said he was there to show solidarity with CUPW and “to protest the Tory government tearing apart our social fabric.” To win, “workers have to unite and use demonstrations and civil disobedience.”
One CUPW worker said “the public needs the door to door service, otherwise how will they get their mail in the winter?”
There were several speakers, introduced by the MC who called out to Harper to “keep your bloody hands off the postal workers.”
National President of CUPW, Denis Lemelin, emphasized that the Toronto rally was one of several that continue to take place across the country, in an effort to save all public services. “Harper wants to give the post office to the private sector so we need to be in the streets… An election is coming. We deserve a good society so we need to be involved with the election, to save public services.”
CLC Vice-President Marie Clark-Walker, who is also with the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists also opposed Harper, saying “You have tried to silence science, the media, activists and marginalized groups. You are not going to take away my door to door service.”
CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn made an excellent point when he stated “The post office is a public service. I don’t care if it’s profitable or not.” Excellent point. We don’t make a special note of whether hospitals and schools are profitable.
The focus on the upcoming federal election was echoed by several speakers including OFL President Sid Ryan, Past President of UAW, Buzz Hargrove and OPSEU Vice President Miles Magner. The speakers emphasized the victory in Ontario of defeating Tim Hudak and “right to work” laws, which was a result of united action by labour. This victory should serve as a starting point for a similar defeat of Harper and his agenda.
But the focus on the election is beginning to look like an obsession and a substitute for giving confidence to and mobilizing rank and file union members. Workers need to take the most defiant action they can, in the streets and especially in their workplaces. And the rest of us can join them in lobbying our MPs and urging our neighbours to put up window or lawn signs and sign petitions of support.
We can win this fight because the public is with us on this one, even in Tory ridings. So visit your closest CUPW office to pick up support materials. Let’s stop Harper now.
For more information visit savecanadapost.ca