Canada Post struggling to catch up on deliveries

Workers add extra hour to shifts in order to fix 40 million letter backlog

Canada Post is still trying to get some 40 million pieces of mail that were held up by a labour dispute out the door. The company has offered overtime shifts to its employees in order to clear the backlog. Canada Post spokeswoman Anick Losier told reporters on Wednesday that 70 per cent of letter carriers have agreed to add an extra hour to their shifts. The labour dispute—roving strikes that morphed into a full-blow lockout—lasted 12 days before back-to-work legislation forced union members to return to their job.

Ottawa Citizen




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Canada Post struggling to catch up on deliveries

  1. If what’s been landing in my mailbox is any indication, bulk mail (flyers & other junk) has been given top priority. Stuff I’m actually expecting has been nowhere to be seen.

    I also know of at least one instance where something sent to us with the correct address was returned to the sender as “undeliverable”; makes me wonder just how seriously those posties are taking their responsibilities after the Harper slapdown.

    • That kind of stuff happened before, as well.

      I too, have been wondering where the mail is. I have gotten less this seek than any other week this year (in which the mail was being delivered).

      I have heard rumors that they are doing a ‘slow work protest’ of some sort. That is only a rumor, of course.

      Time will tell what this brings us.

  2. I expected tons of mail after the lockout, but it has been the reverse. Where is it all sitting?

    • I think they are using it for pillows…………

      • funny :)

  3. Holy christ with the comments people. That’s right, beat on the employees for the backlog and make insinuations about how horrible they are as people.

    In case you idiots didn’t notice, it was the managment that locked the doors and caused this backlog.

    Now lo and behold they need the workers to dig out of the hole for them created by slapping the workers in the face in the first place.

    All this after being legislated back to work despite not being on strike and being thrown a lower than negotiated pay raise.

    Yeah, it’s the workers that are the problem. (eye roll)

    Keep telling yourself that. I’m sure that somehow, magically it’ll make for a better place for all workers in this country right?

    • Have you been following this thing at all?

      It is the union that is the problem.

      • I’d love to hear how you come to that conclusion.

        • If I must:

          “And yet, notwithstanding a 17 per cent plunge in
          volume per address in the last five years, it still carries 11 billion pieces
          of mail a year. Some customers in particular—small businesses, charities, rural
          and elderly correspondents—remain dependent on “snail mail.” For them a strike
          is an inconvenience, and even if some take the opportunity to make the switch
          to electronic transmission—never to return—for many others the post office is
          their only choice.

           

          Which is to say, no choice: the monopoly Canada Post
          enjoys on the delivery of letter mail is not by virtue of its sterling service,
          but by statute. Sections 14, 15 and 50 of the Canada Post Act make it an
          offence for anyone else to carry a letter for less than three times the
          prevailing postage rate. You can go to jail for it.

           

          Once upon a time, that meant a great deal. As Canada Post
          had a monopoly on its customers, so the postal workers’ union had a monopoly on
          Canada Post. Empowered with the right to strike in 1967, CUPW set out to
          extract as much of the monopoly “rents” (what economists call “loot”) as it
          could for its members. Over the next two decades, the union went on strike 10
          times, and was rewarded with an array of wages and benefits of which other
          workers could only dream.

           

          Rather than confront the union head-on, post office
          management adopted a series of cunning business plans. At first, they lost
          buckets of money, as much as $1 billion in a single year, and passed the costs
          on to taxpayers. Then, when that was no longer politically acceptable, they
          passed it on to their customers, in the form of higher prices and less service.
          Weekend delivery is but a fond memory, of course, but over much of the country
          households no longer receive any delivery: instead, they are required to pick
          up and deliver the mail the last mile, or miles, themselves.”

          “By any objective measure, a job at the post office
          is well-rewarded, despite the weather. Research by the Canadian Federation of
          Independent Business in 2008 found postal workers enjoyed a 17 per cent wage premium
          over comparable private sector jobs. The current offer from Canada Post would
          raise wages by 7.4 per cent, on a cumulative basis, over the next four years.
          Union officials are demanding 11.55 per cent—a massive increase for workers who
          are already demonstrably overcompensated.

           

          As with most sinecures, however, the real advantage to
          working at Canada Post is in the benefits. Postal workers currently accumulate
          sick days at the rate of 15 per year, with no maximum. The extent of this
          bottomless bank of sick days is illustrated by a recent Canadian Union of
          Postal Workers (CUPW) bulletin that offered up the apocryphal example of
          “Narinda,” who has “402 days of sick leave credit.” Canada Post is sensibly
          proposing to buy out this improbable inventory; Narinda would receive $3,000
          cash for her hoard of sick days.

           

          Then there is the matter of paid vacation. Current
          full-time Canada Post employees are eligible for up to seven weeks of holiday,
          a prospect far beyond imagination for most in the workaday world. And the
          pension plan has an unfunded liability of $3.2 billion.”

           

          “Canada Post’s sensible strategy is to establish a
          more reasonable pay and benefits system for workers in this declining
          industry—but only for new hires. Other than replacing the absurd sick-day bank
          (which Canada Post has offered to refer to binding arbitration), full-time
          postal workers would keep all their existing wages and benefits, whether
          appropriate or not. New employees would have a lower starting wage, receive six
          weeks of vacation instead of seven, and subscribe to a different pension
          plan.”

          And this is from the CBC:

           

          “No matter how forcefully the federal government may
          legislate 48,000 postal employees back to work, chances are more than 12,000 of
          them will either book off sick, or show up for “light duties” that don’t
          include delivering a single piece of mail.

           

          This would be not an act of mass-defiance towards
          parliament — it is actually business as usual at Canada Post.

           

          Statistics show that on an average day at the post
          office, over five per cent of the entire operating workforce will call in sick,
          while roughly another 20 per cent will be classified injured or otherwise
          partially disabled and assigned to limited duties.”

           

          Actually, it would be easier for you to read the whole
          article.

           

           

          http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/06/17/weston-canada-post-sick-leave.html

           

          Basically, they have been creating this monster for many years. The benefits are too rich, yet the union wants to keep them. This is all because it is a crown corporation, and the union has been bleeding it for years. The reckoning has come. I know that the taxpayers don’t want to be on the hook for 3.2 million in unfunded pension benefits.

          • This is your proof for “the union is the problem?”

            Good thing my expectations were low.

            The union has had ZERO control over most of the issues cited above.

            They didn’t legislate the formation of Canada Post or the laws regarding mail carriage in Canada; didn’t lead or have any control over the extremely expensive restructuring that has gone on; and have little say over what things will look like in the future.

            Your complaint seems little more than annoyance that the union managed to negotiate good deals despite working in an environment they didn’t create and have no power over versus a management body that did and does.

            It’s not unlike feeling sorry for Goliath after David cracked him in the head.

            I’ll never understand how people can ignore the absolute power of the government in its creation of crown corporations and give them a pass on the deal negotiated, yet complain about the unions that face them, whose only real power is the collective principle.

            Just the fact that the government could legislate locked-out workers back to work with an arbitrary pay raise makes the point.

            Stop picking on the little guy.

          • You are so right, Phil.  The union executive has to take responsibility for only one thing….that is to act in the best interest of the members of the union.  What that involves, however, is a realistic evaluation of the “economic and political climate”, when making demands.  This union executive knew that the postal workers were asking too much in this global economy and that other unions were asking less.  This union executive also knew that there was a precedent for legislating the post office back to work at lower than previously offered pay raises, yet they still hunkered down.  You want people to feel sorry for “the little guy” but the little guys union executive was greedy.  Nurses in Alberta took a pay freeze the first year of their new contract.  That shows a willingness to compromise.  Where was the compromise here?

          • Is it safe to say that you didn’t read the whole post, and the linked article?

            Yes, the union didn’t create the crown corporation. Yes, they didn’t legislate themselves the ability to unionize. To say that they have ZERO control over the issues I posted, however,  is patently false.

            They have used every power at their disposal to extract all that they could from the company, regardless as to what effect that would have on the health of the company. The deals would have been ‘good’ if they had been fair to the company and the employee – they weren’t. The union could care less. CP will never go broke because it is a crown corporation, and they pension deficit will probably be paid by us, unless the company can make a deal that: a) decreases the pension liability in the future, and b) decreases the benefits of current employes to fund it.

            Your David an Goliath story is what is cracked.

            I will admit that the gov’t and CP allowed this to happen, but the issue is the benefits. I don’t think that CP and the gov’t were pushing the union to strike, 10 times, for more benefits. That was the unions goal, and they got it.

            You will notice that the last two times this happened, the gov’t ordered them back to work, with a reasonable raise. This is because it is now apparent to most people, and the gov’t's of late, that the numbers don’t work. It is not apparent to the union, as of yet. They see that CP has a profit, and to them, that means there is still more blood to get from the stone. :)

  4. @healthcareinsider:disqus @modster99:disqus 

    What I think you’re both missing though is that the power to say yes or no lies with managment and the government. If they think the union is being unreasonable its entirely within their power to say no, whereas the union can only hope to convince them through work stoppage (which I might point out wasn’t used in any meaningful sense in this case)

    The central point of power is the management and the government, and in this case they used that power with roughshod efficiency.

    Theoretically I may agree with the idea of reasonable accomodation between two parties, but that’s not how our system is set up. What we have is a two sided combatitive system in which the only power the workers really have to push back IS collective bargaining, whereas the management supported by the government can legislate anything they damn well please and have done so in many cases.

    So what impetus does the union have to take a reasonable position when its clear that management will not take an equally reasonable position? None whatsoever.

    I say put the emphasis on those with the real power. They’re the ones who can effect the real change, not the unions.

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