The union of Canada Post employees suffers a first setback in its attempt to invalidate the compulsory vaccination of its members. Thousands of letter carriers have been suspended without pay since last Friday.
An arbitrator on Tuesday rejected the request for an injunction formulated by the Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) supposed to cancel this federal order. Mediator Kevin Burkett believes that the damage caused by the unpaid suspension of employees is not “irreparable”.
The defeat is mixed on the union side, notes Nancy Beauchamp, CUPW director for Metropolitan Montreal. The abandonment of the injunction will speed up the timeline for the national grievance hearing which must decide the issue for good. “If ever we win on the bottom, people who are on the unpaid will be able to recover their money,” she underlines.
The number of employees in positions suspended without pay since Friday, November 26 remains confidential. Ms. Beauchamp indicates that their proportion reflects the vaccination rate in the population. “Thousands” of letter carriers and postal workers are therefore on forced leave during the busiest time of the year for parcel delivery.
Arbitrator Burkett relied on two recent decisions to dismiss the injunction. The union of employees of the Toronto transport network has been refused an injunction against compulsory vaccination, as has the Quebec firm PMG Technologies, a subcontractor of Transport Canada.
“Our mandatory vaccination practice is the latest step in our commitment to protect our staff and the communities we serve,” commented Canada Post spokesperson Philipe Legault.
Everything indicates that the hearing on the national grievance must be heard after the holidays.