Justice and Dignity for All

Introduction By Evert Hoogers, retired postal worker and former CUPW National Union Representative. This gripping labour documentary takes 34 minutes to provide an inspiring account of 40 years of struggle by rural and suburban mail couriers in successfully winning the right to unionize, joining the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and finally gaining pay … Watch video »

Introduction

By Evert Hoogers, retired postal worker and former CUPW National Union Representative.

This gripping labour documentary takes 34 minutes to provide an inspiring account of 40 years of struggle by rural and suburban mail couriers in successfully winning the right to unionize, joining the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and finally gaining pay equity with their long-unionized urban counterparts. Comprised of at least 70 per cent women workers, the stories of these rural activist/organizers emerge from the background of many years of resistance by an employer that cynically used federal legislation declaring them “independent contractors” – and thus a “competitive advantage” – that denied them the right to unionize and earn a living wage. Filmmaker Michael Ostroff captures their emotion, determination, sense of purpose and joy as their insistence this race to the bottom could not continue ended in victory.

This documentary is very much the story of these courageous women. It also pulls back the curtain on the savvy strategic decisions these activists made in close collaboration with the CUPW leadership to recruit an often fearful – for good reason – group of rural workers to participate in the fight for union recognition. The documentary also references some internal friction arising from the resolute support of CUPW leaders, reflecting concerns within a segment of the traditional membership that achieving advances for rural postal workers would result in losses of potential gains in existing union agreements.

Most significantly, “Justice and Dignity for All” effectively recounts a labour victory in an environment where such achievements have proven to be rare. The analysis underscoring this film invites trade unionists and socialists to consider how the labour movement can use this labour victory in the very closely related organizing efforts in the world of the gig economy.


Stories From the Struggle for Pay Equity

For decades the sisters and brothers who delivered the mail in rural and suburban Canada were forced to work without any benefits — just like gig-workers today. No sick leave; no maternity leave; no holiday pay. They made less than minimum wage. The vast majority of them were women. Federal legislation made it illegal to form a union. Then CUPW entered the fight.

Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) is proud to share its latest documentary on the resolute persistence of these workers to organize, achieve rights and benefits, and to become an integral part of the union itself. This is the inspiring story of the sisters who struggled to gain the most significant pay equity settlement in Canadian history. In “Justice and Dignity for All,” you’ll relive that struggle, as these activists tell the story, in their own words, of the victories, defeats and setbacks and the persistence that comes from knowing your cause is just.