By Toni MacAfee, CUPW Atlantic region education and organization officer
The campaign to “Save Canada Post” has been ramping up over the last couple of months with more CUPW members, allies, unions and Canadians joining in on the fight. In any one community, we are seeing more lawn signs and window signs pop up this spring, like flowers to the sun. We are also seeing the list of municipalities opposing the destructive plans of Canada Post growing throughout the country. Currently there are over 50 municipalities on record with resolutions opposing Canada Post’s “5 Point Plan.”
In one place in particular, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, we are seeing a community, other unions and the CUPW local, standing together to fight against Canada Post and our federal government. From the beginning of this campaign, the Antigonish local has been out in full force and leading the charge on the fight back. This is not to say that other locals in the Atlantic region are not doing the same, they definitely are doing incredible work, but Antigonish is showing us all what solidarity really looks like with full participation from all the members in their local and a growing network of allies.
On May 10, a day of action was called by the CUPW National Office. The action was called, “Walk with your Letter Carrier.” Locals in the Atlantic did various actions on that day in their communities. The Antigonish local took up the call to action and organized a march they called “Walk with us, Walk for you.” Their message was that all postal workers want to help you, the public, fight for your public post office. It was also important for them to change the name of the event as the case in Antigonish is the local leadership in fact has no letter carriers on their executive; the president is sister Kristen MacEachern who is a rural and suburban mail carrier as is their vice-president sister Cheryl Sears, and their secretary treasurer is an inside worker, sister Arlene Delorey Cass. The local and membership recognize that this fight is about more than losing door-to-door delivery and affects all members within the CUPW. A key part of their campaign also ensures opportunities and space are provided for the public to be involved which is vital to a winning strategy.
Their campaign has been one of collective action, with input and action coming from all members of their local. The local leadership understands and recognize that in order to be successful in any campaign, you must have members who feel respected and heard. This solidarity however did not just happen overnight, this has been built over the years through local education, work floor actions and member to member communication. The Antigonish local understands the saying “collective action gets satisfaction,” as is evident from this news clip about workers standing together to fix an ongoing health and safety issue: http://www.thecasket.ca/archives/28885.
We can learn a lot from the members and executive in the Antigonish local on how to mobilize not only a local but a community. When a local can organize an action as they did on May 10, with only 2 members not in attendance, there is no denying they are on to something good!
We look forward to see what the local comes up with next for their “Save Canada Post” campaign. I would suggest, look out Conservative MP Peter Mackay, the CUPW Antigonish local is in town! Keep up the great work, sisters and brothers.