Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Intensified Work, Intensified Struggle: Solidarity Unionism and The Edmonton Postal Workers' Fight Against Forced Overtime

Document type Thesis
Author Thorn, Scott M.
Degree M.A., Labour Studies
Publisher McMaster University; Hamilton, Ont.
Date 2013
Pages vi, 139 pages


In February 2011, a wave of creative direct action swept across postal depots in the city of Edmonton which saw rank-and-file workers organizing outside of the channels of formal-legal unionism. Fighting against management’s imposition of compulsory overtime as a staffing measure, Letter Carriers and other “outside” postal workers relied on solidarity and resistance at the point of production in a successful campaign to put an end to this practice. The relevance of this particular struggle to the Canadian labour movement is twofold. First, the intensified workloads of Edmonton postal workers reflect a wider shift in the nature of employment relationships away from the existence of employer support as part of the rise of neoliberal capitalism. Second, the choice of workers to organize at a distance from the historically militant Canadian Union of Postal Workers reveals both the predicament facing labour of a highly restrictive formal labour relations system as well as an alternative path of resistance. For Edmonton postal workers, this path was forged in large part as a result of the influence of IWW dual-carder organizers and, more specifically, their introduction of a mode of union praxis known as solidarity unionism.