Postal Workers Rank-and-File Committee (Canada) founding meeting calls for freedom of Ukrainian socialist Bogdan Syrotiuk

The Postal Workers Rank-and-File Committee (PWRFC) recently held its founding meeting. Organized independently of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) bureaucracy, the PWRFC aims to mobilize postal workers in a political struggle against the corporatist alliance between management, the union apparatus and the government.

The committee is fighting for Canada Post to be run as a fully funded public utility under workers’ control, not a profit-making concern, and calls for postal workers’ struggles to be unified internationally in opposition to capitalist austerity and for workers’ power. We encourage all postal workers and workers throughout the logistics sector to contact the PWRFC by filling out the form below this article.

The meeting discussed and adopted a founding statement for the committee, which the World Socialist Web Site has published here. In a key passage, the document declared:

In opposition to the conspirators in Canada Post management, the federal government and the CUPW bureaucracy, we reject the claim that Canada Post must be run as a profit-making corporate enterprise. We oppose the use of new technologies to step up exploitation. We demand that workers on the shop floor make decisions about the operation of the postal service, the implementation of new technologies, and our wages and benefits. The Postal Workers Rank-and-File Committee will fight for these objectives in a political struggle against the corporatist partnership between CUPW, corporate management and the Liberal government. We will do so in alliance with workers throughout the logistics sector, workers across Canada—public and private—who all have a stake in our struggle to defend public services and worker rights, and postal workers throughout the world.

Following the adoption of the statement, the meeting heard a report on the arrest of 25-year-old Ukrainian socialist Bogdan Syrotiuk by the far-right Zelensky regime. Syrotiuk was detained in April and accused of “treason” due to his implacable opposition to the imperialist-instigated war on Russia in Ukraine. The International Committee of the Fourth International, which publishes the WSWS, is conducting a global campaign for his release, which recently saw pickets outside Ukrainian embassies and consulates, and statements from workers, artists and intellectuals.

Bogdan Syrotiuk

After discussing the report, participants adopted the following resolution:

This meeting of postal workers declares its solidarity with the global day of action organized by the International Committee of the Fourth International June 13 to demand the Ukrainian government immediately release Comrade Bogdan Syrotiuk. A Ukrainian socialist, Syrotiuk has conducted a courageous struggle against the reactionary war the United States, Canada and the other NATO powers have instigated, and to unite Ukrainian and Russian workers against all the belligerent governments and states. We pledge to do everything in our power to make Bogdan’s case known to all postal workers and fight for his freedom as part of the struggle to build an international anti-war movement.

A postal worker from Quebec who voted in favour of the resolution described during the meeting how the subordination of Canada Post to the profit motive has produced poor working conditions at his plant in Montreal:

Air quality is a huge concern. Conveyor belts raining garbage on us and into the air. There is no interest in true improvements because that affects the “profits” that seem to drive our national postal system.

AI will be used to make routes more “efficient,” but it doesn’t take into account the overburdened letter carriers.

Dan, a postal worker from Ontario, commented after the meeting,

Canada Post management—backed up by the CUPW and the Liberal government—are  currently conducting contract “negotiations.” The crumbs of information we’re fed from union updates include savage attacks on our working conditions. These attacks include, but are not limited to: an AI and automation rollout that threatens overburdening postal workers who are already at their breaking point, “Amazon style” surveillance currently rolling out across the corporate fleet, and intensified exploitation of workers with a new job category—Permanent Flexible Employees. 

The Postal Workers’ RFC (Canada) represents the only progressive solution to deepening attacks on postal workers. By providing a democratic forum for workers to exchange ideas and experiences, the RFC is able to critically analyze impending concessions, put them in the correct context, and mount a counteroffensive to demand improvements to working conditions and pay.

The World Socialist Web Site, which publishes RFC updates, is the only media outlet whose coverage of workers’ struggles politically arms and encourages workers to embrace their class role. The working class is the only social force capable of ending capitalist exploitation, austerity and war.

Linked up with the International Workers Alliance of Rank-and-File Committees, the Postal Workers’ RFC (Canada) is able to match the international nature of the crown corporation with the strength of the international working class.

In this context, a significant demand must be made for the release of Bogdan Syrotiuk. He is a principled antiwar socialist who was rounded up by the Ukrainian SBU on trumped up charges of high treason. His only crime—writing articles for the WSWS encouraging workers on both sides of the Russian-Ukrainian war to show class solidarity and demand the end to NATO’s criminal imperialist war.

We strongly encourage all postal and logistics workers to support the building of the PWRFC by filling out the form below. Share your workplace experiences, views on the CUPW bureaucracy, and statements in support of Bogdan Syrotiuk’s freedom.