Take a look at this video if you dare.
It was posted by the union PSAC, the Public Service Alliance of Canada which at one time made real noise and made governments tremble. I couldn’t bear to watch it in its entirety. With all of the changes negatively impacting the average Canadian worker and the average household of the past 10 years or so, I have a diminishing tolerance level for listening to someone recite why they chose the path of acquiescence and failure.
I sincerely hope that if cupw enters into negotiations with canada post in the future, ever again, it does not carry on with the same approach and gutlessness that led to accepting a host of serious cutbacks which are now part of the current collective agreement. I could not continue watching this after 7 minutes. Just too painful listening to someone complain about what canada post wanted, and why the speaker figured we should accept mediocrity and just lose sacred, cherished benefits. Corporations, business tycoons, and right-wing governments have always, for hundreds of years, wanted cutbacks. They always want a piece of your flesh. They always have demands & will tell you anything to get them from you. To lessen your resolve in working towards even keeping what you have. That has never changed.
What has changed is that unions in this country have become too weak. They won’t fight. They won’t call the employer’s bluff. They listen to the threats and doom and gloom, and have failed to stop the armies. It’s not just here at canada post, it’s air canada. It’s a lot of places. Air Canada pilots and others have let themselves down, by letting the boss get away with contracting out and letting aircraft get serviced in foreign countries by cheap, exploited labour.
It’s as if some sort of virus has knocked the stuffing out of a lot of people in Canada. Someone said to me that they have a very difficult time envisioning people fighting back right now, as those preceding them did just a short time ago. It wasn’t that long ago when they, along with many others, walked picket lines in more than one strike. Even strikes involving scab, replacement workers. Back then, they all had the same feeling of dread, they were on the edge. They all shared the belief that they were in the fight of their lives.
They endured a barrage of criticism in the media. At first, passersby in the street ridiculed them. The employer hired goons to stir up dissent and cause trouble. One even punched out a union local president. But in the end it was all worth it. They may have lost wages, but they defended their turf and kept prized benefits. They stood up for what was right, and showed everyone, including our employer, and themselves, that not only could they fight back, they would darned well do so if required. I’m not sure I’d place a wager that people would do the same today. And make no mistake, the workers of this country all face the same challenges.
The whole point of being in a union, ostensibly, is strength in numbers. Using the power of the collective to get what we want. Who gives a hoot who says what, and what the boss says or threatens. You create a union to put an end to this nonsense – at least for the life of a contract, so that worker and employer can co-exist together, and serve customers and move product. The good stuff we still have was never handed to us on a silver platter. This union fought, and fought bloody hard to get the things it did.
And in order to survive, the union and you and me, and everybody else, will have to fight back. It’s simple. Fight back, or die. Fighting back means negotiating. You can only negotiate if the other side believes you will do what you say , that your words really do mean something. The litany of losses and deterioration in working conditions and benefits and pay, the sickness that is afflicting the average worker and the average family in this country, year after unrelenting year, is proof positive that giving in just does not work.
Ultimately, the workers of this country, including the workers in the union, will eventually realize that there is no alternative but to act, to go on strike, and endure whatever happens. That there is no other choice. When they finally “get it”, they will realize their power and be victorious.
They will say to themselves that they are sick and tired of what’s happened, of what is happening. They will be sick and tired of what their jobs and the prospects of their families have come down to. They will make the final decision to take destiny into their hands and do whatever is necessary until they achieve a fair, decent, and just contract that takes them back on the road towards regaining major lost ground.
When that kind of raw anger, pure outrage, and rising willpower is combined with a strong, loud, and solid leadership, great things happen. As has been shown many times over in the short history of this nation. When people understand their backs are against the wall, and giving in only puts them on their knees, they will see the choice very clearly. Accept the cutbacks, do as your employer asks. Or, say no. Fight back.
Fight back knowing that if negotiations do not not conclude successfully with a fair, just, and decent contract that you can take home to your family, you will not hesitate to walk. Not even for a second. And once you go down that road, you will feel vindicated, for at last you are taking action to follow your heart and soul.. If it takes 2 weeks or 2 months of lost wages while pounding the pavement, that’s what it takes to win. You hope it never comes down to that, but you know the price of acquiescence, of chickening out.
You will see that it’s either you, or them. Defeat, or victory. The choice is yours. Fight back, regardless of threats and anything they might tell you. And you will be victorious. Because you will already be a winner. That is how things get done in this country. By winners.