December 1, 2018 4:29 pm

Unions rally to support Kelowna postal workers legislated back to work

WATCH: (Aired Nov. 17) Dozens of Canada Post workers gathered outside the federal Liberal party's B.C. convention in Kelowna on Saturday. They were hoping for a word with party representatives. Jules Knox reports.

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Dozens of unionized workers in Kelowna turned up Saturday morning to support postal workers upset about back-to-work legislation.

A rally was held outside Parkinson Recreation Centre.

READ MORE: Members of several B.C. unions set up picket lines at Richmond Canada Post facility

Matthew Aitken, a spokesperson for Kelowna’s local postal workers’ union, said he wasn’t surprised by the government’s move to pass back-to-work legislation, but he was still disappointed by the decision.

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“It seemed like the corporation was just going to wait until the government pulled in and took our right to strike and legislated us back to work,” Aitken said.

“Canadians have fundamental rights and freedoms, and the Liberals took some of ours away in one bill over one weekend,” he added.

READ MORE: Canada Post experiencing ‘unprecedented backlogs,’ some parcels won’t arrive until January or March

Workers from other unions, including the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) and Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), showed up to support postal workers.

“We’re out here today supporting the Canadian Union of Postal Workers because Bill C-89 is really aggressive legislation against the charter rights of all Canadians and the working class,” Kelly Hutchison, a spokesperson for the BCGEU, said.

“If you don’t have the right to collectively bargain for your future, you’re at the mercy of your employer,” he added.

READ MORE: Delivery backlogs to continue as Canada Post union calls for ‘civil disobedience’

Back-to-work legislation was officially passed on Monday and came into effect Tuesday.

READ MORE: Canada Post back-to-work legislation passed, comes into effect on Tuesday

“For nearly a year, we have been supporting and encouraging both sides to reach a negotiated agreement. We provided conciliation officers, appointed mediators and offered voluntary arbitration. Despite all of this, limited progress was made, and we have exhausted our options,” Employment Minister Patty Hajdu said in a statement last week.

READ MORE: NDP MP suggests Canada Post ‘held back’ social assistance cheques

Canada Post said earlier this week in a statement that Canadians can continue to expect delivery delays for the next several weeks as the postal service faces “unprecedented backlogs.”

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