An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
WE’RE APPROACHING the Christmas season and the posties are into rotating strikes as they go after a new agreement with Canada Post. It’s the old story of holding the public hostage during the season when everybody wants to mail parcels to friends and family in other places.
There was movement in negotiations on the weekend, but not in the right direction. Canada Post made an offer; CUPW rejected it without even sending it to its members; the federal government is looking at all possibilities for ending the stalemate.
Those options would include appointing a mediator or simply legislating an end to the dispute.
There’s a better way of addressing the points of disagreement on the bargaining table. One of the biggest issues, if not the biggest, is a demand from the union that rural carriers and urban carriers get equity.
Currently, urban letter carriers are paid by the hour, which results in a higher wage than that of rural carriers, who get paid based on the size of their routes.
Meanwhile, of course, Canada Post costs billions to operate.
There’s a clear long-term solution to the current labour dispute, and Canada Post’s financial problems, but it would take political guts to do it and the Trudeau government clearly doesn’t have it.
In addition to the double standard on wages between rural and urban carriers, there’s a double standard in delivery. Rural residents receive delivery in community group mailboxes rather than at their door steps as most urban residents do.
The previous Conservative government began extending community mailboxes into urban areas but the Liberals called a stop to that for political reasons. Pushing the re-start button on community boxes in cities would solve most of the issues around wages, routes, injuries and overtime.
But unless Canadians start thinking outside the box and get behind community mailboxes, giving courage to the current batch of politicians, it won’t happen.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.