The Canadian postal workers used to gleefully hold the Canadian public hostage with their chronic strikes that would cripple the nation. They often would strike (or threaten to) shortly before Christmas when people wanted to send their gifts and such. We were dependent on mail and strikes were often settled quickly and in favor of the workers in order to end the damage being done.
It has now been over 10 years since the last general strike by Canada Post workers. This must be a new record since the postal service was unionized and there is no indication that we will see a strike any time soon. The reason for this is that when the postal workers last went on strike in 1997 the world had changed on them. Email, private couriers and fax machines had made the nation far less dependent on the postal service. Instead of driving the nation into fear and discomfort as they usually had done when going on strike, what the postal union garnered in the 1997 strike was rage and loathing. The public was annoyed by their strike, but with modern technology the outcome of the strike was not the expected shutdown of business and finance as past strikes had been.
With this sudden and complete loss of public support, the Liberal government pounced and drafted back to work legislation. What was great with this is that the postal workers were now forced to settle for an offer that was even less than the last one from Canada Post that they had rejected. The humbled postal workers grumbled back to work fresh with the knowledge that the public was no longer nearly as reliant on their unskilled and over-compensated efforts as they used to be. The postal union has not dared to strike since.
While strikes are off the table for the union as the postal service is now so easily replacable and the public really does not feel that glorified flyer delivery people deserve any further raises, this has not stopped the union from trying to exert force and power upon Canadians.
While unions are supposedly there for the representation of workers, they are increasingly poking into the world of global politics. The latest stunt has been for the president of their union to call for a boycott of goods from Israel and to threaten to block mail to and from Israel! The threat came from a letter sent in response to a Jonathan Kay article in the National Post. The response from CUPW president Denis Lemelin is below:
Re: Jonathan Kay asks: Now that CUPW is boycotting Israel, will Canada Post deliver mail to the Israeli embassy? April 28.
If Jonathan Kay admits “I’m no labour expert”, why does he direct questions about the internal workings of CUPW to everyone except the union itself? If he had bothered to ask us, we would have supplied a pretty simple answer: Unlike the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinian mail, CUPW has no plans to block mail to and from Israel as of yet. Our concern is that the policies of the Government of Israel are unjust and violate international law; therefore we will be encouraging our members to boycott Israeli made products. We are taking this position because over 170 Palestinian political parties, unions and other organizations have called for a global campaign similar to the one applied to South Africa in their apartheid era. These measures will continue until the Israeli government recognizes the right of Palestinian people to self-determination, puts an end to military assaults, hydrocide and other acts of violence that take the lives of innocent people, and until Israel fully complies with international law, including a raft of UN resolutions. It’s time to push for a fair and just settlement so that both Palestinians and Israelis can live in peace.
National President, CUPW
As of yet????!!! Who the hell do you think you are??? It is not the place for postal workers or their union to decide which nations they will or will not deliver mail to or from. It never will be their place.
To Canadian postal workers I say this; Your skills are on par with that of children who deliver flyers after school and on weekends for minimum wage. You can and will be easily replaced if you push things too far. If ever you take it upon yourselves to start selectively delivering our mail based on political stands of your union, you can rest assured that privatization of your employer will be very soon to follow. You lost the last time you listened to your union leadership and went on strike, you will lose again if you follow the path that your current president is following. You have it pretty good right now. I stongly suggest that you either take your union leadership to task on this one or replace them. You are government employees and are obligated to deliver that mail. Stick to your mandate.