Newly declassified records reveal former prime minister Brian Mulroney expressed his frustration to his cabinet, stating that unions had significant influence over the operation of the post office.According to Blacklock’s Reporter, in the 1987 strike, government ministers were concerned about possibly turning Jean-Claude Parrot, the president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) at the time, into a "martyr."“Everyone knew the post office had been run by the unions for a long time and the position could not be recovered overnight,” Mulroney told a confidential cabinet meeting on June 18, 1987. The prime minister “wanted to know in writing that day the government’s real bottom line, otherwise Canada Post’s middle management could be charting the government’s electoral future,” said Minutes.The cabinet was forced to address the situation when the Letter Carriers Union initiated rotating strikes in the summer of 1987 in protest against privatization.The prime minister commissioned daily public opinion surveys and was “cheered by polls showing 58% of Canadians approved the use of temporary workers,” said Minutes.Mulroney considered the postal strike a test of the cabinet’s leadership. “The prime minister noted this was the government’s first major labour challenge,” said Minutes. “The issue had the potential to put the government’s very real accomplishments on tax reform at Meech Lake and on the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency on the back burner.”A strike by the CUPW in September 1987 followed the Letter Carriers' strike. The cabinet ended the 17-day CUPW job action by introducing federal legislation.The minutes of an October 8, 1987, cabinet meeting, held on the same day the back-to-work legislation was introduced, revealed the cabinet was concerned about possibly turning CUPW President Parrot into a "martyr."“It was a good idea not to have jail terms recognizing that the other penalties in the Act were adequate,” then-Labour Minister Pierre Cadieux told cabinet. “It was important not to create any martyrs.”The legislation threatened picketers by imposing fines of $100,000 per day.“In response to a question as to what happened if somebody refused to pay a fine, it was pointed out they would not go to jail, but their assets would be seized,” said Minutes.Parrot was imprisoned for two months because he refused to comply with a back-to-work order issued in 1978.“It is nothing short of a national disgrace,” the Union of Postal Workers said at the time.Parrot, 86, retired from his last union position in 2021 when he served as the president of the National Organization of Retired Postal Workers.“I am sure there are many good, younger activists among the retirees who will be pleased to continue the work,” said Parrot.