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Interview with former CUPW national president Jean-Claude Parrot

Former national prez negotiated first public sector maternity leave, defied back to work legislation

by Miles Howe and Praxis Media

Jean Claude Parrot montage [photo: cupw.ca]
Jean Claude Parrot montage [photo: cupw.ca]

K'JIPUKTUK (HALIFAX) - With deep cuts slated for the Canadian postal service, the Halifax Media Co-op caught up with Jean-Claude Parrot, former national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

Parrot famously spent two months in jail in 1980 for defying back to work legislation. He also negotiated the first paid maternity leave in the public sector.

"There was a time when we didn't even have the right to negotiate," says Parrot, putting the current struggle in perspective. "We didn't have the right to strike. So we had to go out on strike to get that.

"What we're seeing now is a prime minister...who came from being the spokesperson for a multi-national, when he was the spokesperson for the National Citizens' Coalition...And he was against everything that we were achieving at the time. He was against women's expectations [in the workplace]. He was against part-time workers' expectations. He never objected to workers being exploited in the rest of the world [so long as] that money came into the pockets of the people he was representing.

"Today, having him there, he's obviously trying to kill everything that's been done properly. Never mind the laws that exist."

Please enjoy the following interview with Jean-Claude Parrot.

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