Weekend Video: 1987 CUPW strike

In October 1987, postal workers inside the sorting plants struck against Canada Post. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) strike also kicked off only a few short months after Canada Post letter carriers, then represented by the Letter Carriers Union (LCUC), were on strike against rollbacks and fought management-hired scabs. The LCUC would merge with CUPW in 1989.

The 1987 CUPW strike was against Canada Post privatization efforts. Management was selling off and closing down post offices and outsourcing operations to non-union retailers, like Rexall, Shopper’s Drug Mart, and convenience store chains. Postal workers were also fighting automation and job losses. This was around the same time when Canada Post began eliminating home mail delivery in new housing developments.

The following video captures news coverage of the strike in Vancouver. While picket lines in Vancouver held strong against attempts to bring in scabs, picket line violence in other cities and towns flared as scabs tried to break the strike.

The strike ended with Mulroney passing back-to-work legislation which introduced, for the first time, extremely authoritarian financial penalties for the union and individual union members against wildcat strike action. The Canadian government decided it was better to threaten the financial stability of unions than throw union leaders in jail for not cracking down on illegal strikes – as had happened with CUPW president JC Parrot in 1979.

Postal workers are once again facing an attack by Canada Post. The clock is already ticking towards a strike or lockout.

Vancouver Media Coverage of the 1987 CUPW Strike from ajh on Vimeo.

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