Canada Post’s lockout is a sham

Canada Post protestersBy David Bush

A 72 hour lockout notice has been issued by Canada Post.

Here is what is really happening. Canada Post is refusing to bargain. They have only tabled one offer during negotiations and routinely issued misleading statements that the union is asking for $1 billion in demands. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) is trying to negotiate for pay equity for the Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers, which is a heavily female dominated occupation. They also have been trying to resist massive rollbacks to their rights and benefits, especially for new hires.

Canada Post’s management wanted this to end up in a strike or lockout (though they preferred the former).

Why you ask? Quite simply they want to sabotage the review of Canada Post set up by the new Liberal government. The review, launched this past May, is looking at the cuts to Canada Post and the prospect of home mail delivery. During the election the Liberals signalled they would restore door-to-door mail delivery, however, the fine print of their platform only promised a review. It is clear the Liberals are using the review to diffuse anger over the cuts without committing to do anything about it. Nonetheless management at the Crown Corporation sees the review as a threat.

The Crown Corporation in making the case for cutting services have routinely pointed to a decline in letter volume and the loss of profits. This is usually based on numbers from 2011 – the year of the strike/lockout. That year and 2013 are the only years in its modern history Canada Post has failed to turn a profit. With any sustained work stoppage Canada Post is likely to lose money and even long-term business.

Management will point to this lockout and say the Crown Corporation is unsustainable, unprofitable and the dramatic changes it was trying to bring in were the correct ones. This will be the drum they beat in the media and dutiful columnists and journalists will run with it.

There is no love lost between the Liberals and Deepak Chopra (and his upper management team at Canada Post) as they tried unsuccessfully to remove Chopra this past fall.

This is not because of a fundamental political difference between the Liberals and Chopra, but rather that he is seen as a creature of Harper. He is a Conservative partisan who was appointed to another term as President and CEO of Canada Post before his current term even expired, by a Conservative party that was on its way out the door.

Upper management of Canada Post, many of whom have links to private postal companies like Pitney Bowes, are in the business of destroying Canada Post in its current form. They are not rational actors in these negotiations. Their best bet to keep their jobs in the current climate is to drive the corporation into the ground and saying they were right to cut services all along.

The Liberals could solve this problem immediately by permanently halting the cuts at Canada Post and reversing the cuts to door-to-door. They could also promise to not raid the pension fund and pay back the money that was raided in the 90s and the 2000s in order to balance the budget.

But the Liberals are not going to do this of their own free will. They are letting this all happen with stoney indifference.

CUPW and its allies must hold firm. We must draw on the networks of solidarity built up from the last strike/lockout and the fight to save door-to-door. We need to have strong picket lines, but also do community outreach. We must also direct our fire at the Liberals, call on them to step in and force the hand of management or fire them.

For more information about the issues at Canada Post please read: Seven Myths about Canada Post

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12 thoughts on “Canada Post’s lockout is a sham

  1. Sandra Lightfoot

    Reply

    I started to work at Canada Post in 1981 (since retired) and worked as a CR, a letter carrier and RSMC so feel somewhat
    versed in the wiles of Canada Post. From as long as I can remember they have been crying that the “volumes are down”.
    I would assume the volumes would have totally disappeared by now if one were to believe all the rhetoric that has been spewed. In 2011 they professed to have lost money but neglected to tell everyone that after 30 years they were finally
    ordered by the courts to pay a “pay equity” battle they had been waging. Had they paid it in a timely fashion instead of battling in the courts for 30 years the costs would have been minimal in comparison. Needless to say I believe very little of
    what is distributed by Canada Post . The usual tactic is to take a smattering of the truth and flower the details.

  2. Like Sandra (above) I have had many jobs at the post office, internal and external, started in 1980 and retired. I can only add that I wish the media would study all details like David Bush (Canada Post lock out is a sham) seemed to do prior to spurring the crap that comes from the mouths of Chopra and his VPs. The Liberal really need to fire these guys who are destroying the Post Office before it is too late.

  3. I’m a 37 yr Veteran of CPC. Been through many Strikes, Lockouts etc. I still want to know , how Chopra can give raises to his Staff, including Himself, when it’s reported that CPC is running at a Deficit. In fact, the lying Bastards at CPC, have shown a profit the last 21 of 22 yrs.33% Chopra gave Himself. 1/3 of his salary.

  4. why have these bottom feeders not been fired a long time ago?? This bonus bullsh** should be long cancelled & a cut in salary should also be implemented. Harper left us with a bag of s**t. As well these so called Principal positions should disappear. What a drain on the PO profits. Trudeau & the Liberals, clean up this garbage!!!!!

  5. Also, would like an investigation into the community mail boxes & find out if any of the elite in the PO are getting kickbacks….purchase of them,installation etc. Want my door to door back….will set my own exercise walks…

  6. What a sad state of affairs that we as postal workers have reached. We have gone from bad to worse in matter of days. This is all a political game and we as workers are pawns in the government and union hands just because they need just cause to fire this CEO fascist. They ample opportunities to do so when liberals came to power. They refuse to package him out because it would be too costly. So my question to the liberal govt. is what is most costly packaging him out or losing millions of dollars because canada post is being locked out. Shame on the government and the cupw for using us as a pawn for their political agenda. We are being deprived of our livelihood. This could have been resolved sooner and not use our collective agreement negotiations as the forum to do so.

  7. My only wish is that an article would be written about the facts. The union people say that management wants to take this and that, but what exactly is this and that? What are the proposed changes to new hires, current pensions and benefits. The union is trying to say that management is not bargaining fairly. That’s not true, they’re simply saying, we’ve seen your offer and we’re not taking it. That’s the truth. If postal workers want some sort of support from Joe taxpayer, help us see the light. From my own personal experience, the only actual mail I get are my insurance slips annually. Other than that, all my banking, bills, etc. is on-line. Sorry folks, we’re almost beyond paper entirely. I’m surprised my insurance companies, haven’t just sent me the file to print my own slips yet… next year, I’m sure!

    1. The facts are pretty easy to find if you bother looking. If you’re convinced paper is dead, you better learn how to use google.

      Postal workers aren’t asking for anything from the taxpayer. Canada Post doesn’t rely on any taxpayers money. In fact, over a billion in profits have been cycled into the public purse over the past couple decades.

    2. The fact is, Trevor, that while letter volumes are down, parcel deliveries are climbing every year. Any small business that sells online will be affected, as Canada Post is integrated right into eBay, PayPal, Amazon, and so on. As a small business owner myself, most of my invoices are paid by cheque through the mail, even though our goods are delivered electronically, so we will be affected. You also don’t take into account the thousands of Canadians that don’t own computers or have access to the internet. These are our most vulnerable citizens.
      As far as negotiations go, CP management has asked workers to take cuts in pensions, wages, overtime, and so on, at a time when Canada Post has been profitable for 21 of the last 22 years, and Chopra has given himself a 33% wage increase. They have aslo rejected out of hand every offer the workers have put forward. It is management that has issued the lockout notice, in spite of the union’s desire to keep bargaining.
      You should really get your facts straight before you put your foot in your mouth.

  8. Robert Bertrand

    Reply

    I’ve never worked in a place like it in the Vancouver priority post Dept. I’ was a casual at the time and a manager manhater almost went ballistic on me for.taking a smoke.break after sorting everything. Then I had another manager who drank a 26er of vodka every shift. He couldn’t remember my name, which is Bob after months of being on the job.

  9. It’s good if they go for lockout, it shows their true colours! Union needs to get the word out its not just about money, it’s about providing Canadians better door to door service! Get your story out newspaper add TV spots get the truth out about the neoliberalism of outsourcing and how it is destroying Canada!

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