CUPW 1981: Mother's Rights, Union Rights

Year Published:  1983  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX2721

Abstract:  This film is about the 1981 strike of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, with its central focus being the key issue of maternity benefits. The film crew interviews women on the picket line in Vancouver who stress the need for contracts that include full maternity leave benefits. Women should not be penalized for having children, they say, yet that is what the Unemployment insurance Commission does in paying only part-benefits. Women interviewed also talk about how economic changes exert other kinds of pressure: for example, some women state that they would prefer to stay home and take care of their children without having to return to work, but don't have that option because one income is insufficient to support the family. The need for fathers to have time off when a child is born is also stressed.

The film looks at these issues in the overall context of the strike and of work at the post office. We learn that fully 53 per cent of all on-the-job injuries in the civil service occur in the post office. CUPW feels that improved, safter working conditions would benefit the workers and improve mail service. Unlike many unions CUPW feels it is important to fight fo the rights of part-time workers to avoid creating divisions between different secitons of the work force.

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