Just after 8pm tonight- 57 hours after it began the House of Commons passed legislation that will send Postal workers back to work as soon as Monday. The parties will go to binding arbitration and be asked to present their ‘best offers’ to an arbitrator, and that arbitrator will decide the final contract.
The N.D.P. caused the filibuster. They objected to the legislation; specifically the raise being lower than negotiated, and to the fact it was “best offer” presentation to the arbitrator. They saw a negotiated settlement as being the only option for an outcome. And so they stalled- and every last MP got their chance to speak. In one way it was democracy in action; a party of ideals, and principles standing up for them; a rare occurrence when policies can be boiled down to an easy to remember catchphrase. In another it was insanity- saying the same thing over, and over again.
It was the binding arbitration that caused all the debate; the N.D.P. saw it as undermining the negotiating process; they were content to let the strike continue for a while and give it a chance. The government saw the possible costs to the economy- according to Minister Raitt between $9-31 million/ week, and that was enough to force action on the government’s part.
The N.D.P. has always been the party of organized labour, advocating for union, and workers’ right. Unions need to evolve; most sectors have half-decent working conditions, and fair wages. As the workforce ages, why not shift focus to longer-term pensions and health benefits instead of the wage increase. No matter the rules and legislation there will be unfairness in the labour world, so unions will always be needed. They just need to shift their focus.