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Canada Post union to challenge back-to-work legislation in court

Canada Post workers in Montreal return to work after the government ordered them to end their rotating strike on Nov. 27. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) is set to launch a court challenge after workers were legislated back to work two weeks ago by the federal government.

The union says it will file a constitutional challenge with the Ontario Superior Court on Tuesday.

“You cannot legislate labour peace,” Mike Palecek, the national president of CUPW, said in a release.

“This law violates our right to free collective bargaining under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

CUPW said the back-to-work legislation is leading to roughly 250,000 hours of unpaid work for rural and suburban mail carriers, as well as thousands of hours of forced overtime for urban mail carriers.

Bill C-89 was passed into law on Nov. 27 following about five weeks of rotating strikes. The bill included provisions for the government to appoint a mediator to bring the two sides together.

On Monday, the federal government appointed Elizabeth MacPherson, a former chair of the Canada Industrial Relations Board, who will have 14 days to try to reach a negotiated contract between the Crown corporation and the union.

The two sides have not been at the bargaining table since the back-to-work bill was passed.

Meanwhile, Canada Post is dealing with two to three times more parcels than usual for this time of year. The backlog of six million packages is concentrated in major processing centres such as Toronto and Vancouver.