Let's not make a deal - Macleans.ca

Let’s not make a deal


Before and during last week’s filibuster, it seems there was nearly a deal.

Last Friday, talks involving a federal mediator appear to have brought Canada Post and the union close to a settlement. The union wanted final offer selection replaced by mediation-arbitration which attempts to find middle ground in contract disputes.

Comartin and Godin met with Raitt. There was agreement that if the company and the union could agree on this, the back-to-work legislation would be withdrawn. By Friday evening, both Canada Post and the union had a tentative settlement that outlined agreement on some key issues such as wage rate, according to a source. Other outstanding issues would be sent to arbitration.

But after midnight came word that Raitt’s office had apparently turned down the deal, a source said. As the filibuster continued in the Commons, Harper crossed the aisle to speak with NDP Leader Jack Layton. During their conversation, Layton questioned whether there had been “political interference.” Harper denied it.

Postal workers are now preparing to challenge the back-to-work legislation in court.


Let’s not make a deal

  1. “During their conversation, Layton questioned whether there had been “political interference.” 

    Layton wondered if there was political interference? Whole process is political, post office is crown corp., not a private company like NDP seem to pretend it is. 

    And NDP has significant link to public unions, which are paid for by taxpayers who work in private sector. 

    It is public sector fat cats who are forcing government to impose small raises on workers because there is only so much money that Government can take from private economy.

    In 2002-2003, the average salary of workers in the core public service was $53,000, increasing to $73,400 when factoring in benefits.

    “For me to make that amount of money, I would have to work twice as much time,” tradesman Tim Cogswell told CTV News.

    But civil servant Shannon Steele said she earns her pay. “Of course I get more benefits and stuff, but I think I deserve them,” she said. “I do a lot of work, and it’s stressful.”

    Geddes: The NDP’s union-made caucus: The real power structure in the party comes from organized labour


    • How are public sector unions paid for by the taxpayers who work in the private sector?

      • Is this trick question or have you not heard of taxes? 

        • Canada Post makes a profit.

          • Crown Corp. Canada Post makes a profit – hahahahahahahaha – so lets give them a raise even tho Government is bankrupt and is spending billions of $$$ that our children and grand children will have to pay for. 

            The ratio of household debt — mortgages and consumer loans — to disposable income hit 147.2% in the first quarter, up from 146.2% in the last three months of 2010. Meantime, Canadians are now deeper in household debt than their American neighbours — a dubious distinction, indeed.


            Parliament’s budget watchdog says that federal deficits over the next five years could be about $35-billion higher than the projections from Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s last budget, introduced in March.


            In February, the Frontier Centre for Public Policy released a study showing average wages for federal public administration workers increased faster than the average wage for any other major category of worker, growing 59 percent between 1998 and 2009 according to Statistics Canada. By comparison, average wages across the economy increased only 30 percent.

            The aforementioned CD Howe report notes that total compensation per civilian employee in the federal government reached $94, 000 in 2009/2010, nearly double the average of $47,500 in the private economy.

          • None of which changes the fact that Canada Post funds its operations from it’s own revenues, not funds from taxpayers.

            Taxpayers are only funding Canada Post to the extent that they buy stamps, and to the extent that all of the companies who pay them to deliver fliers etc. are technically taxpayers.  By that definition every private company in the country is “funded by the taxpayers”.

            The Government of Canada may arguably be bankrupt but Canada Post has posted a profit in each of the last 16 straight years I believe.  (http://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/aboutus/corporate/annualreport.jsf)

          • “None of which changes the fact that Canada Post funds its operations from it’s own revenues, not funds from taxpayers.”

            Cocktail hour has started early for both of us I think.

            Money is fungible, government does not produce wealth, it spends it.

            Crown Corp Post Office only ‘makes’ money because it is monopoly and people have to pay for services whether they want to or not. 

            Post Office would quickly go bankrupt if it was privatized and forced to compete in proper market.

          • “Crown Corp Post Office only ‘makes’ money because it is monopoly and people have to pay for services whether they want to or not.”

            Funny, I haven’t bought a stamp in years. But I have sent a few things via Fedex.

            Can I freshen your drink?

    • Rinse and repeat.  And repeat.  And repeat…

  2. So this is how reporting works:

    Article with lots of innuendo and ‘looks like’, ‘came close’, ‘apparent agreement’, ‘obviously’, ‘thought a deal had been reached’, ’emails predicted success’, ‘lot’s of speculation’, ‘some people thought. . .(unnamed official says)’, ‘appear to have brought . . . close to a settlement’, ‘tentative settlement that outlined agreement on some key issues’.
    This article is followed by a post that cherry picks items from it, cementing the ‘idea’ that a firm deal was made, and the CPC shot it down. What pathetic journalism.

    Give us something real and with substance, not a bunch or ‘looks like’, ‘we think’, ‘might have been’, etc. The only thing I get from reading the full article is the picture of an NDP party that had no idea what was going on. It seems like they weren’t in the same field, or they are out of touch with reality. If anything, this ‘story’ is the NDP’s attempt to deflect the blame of the filibuster.

    And like a trout with a big mouth, Aaron bought it hook, line, and sinker.

    • “And like a trout with a big mouth, Aaron bought it hook, line, and sinker”

      You think so? Aaron’s entire contribution here consisted of:

      “Before and during last week’s filibuster, it seems there was nearly a deal.” (note the “seems”)… “Postal workers are now preparing to challenge the back-to-work legislation in court.”

      And what you call “cherry picking” is a normal practice of quoting the nut graf.

      What exactly should Aaron have done differently?

      • Actually, Aaron’s biggest addition is the headline. “Let’s Not Make a Deal”. Many people read only the headline, and then glance at the piece. Aaron was very much making it look as if someone didn’t want a deal.

        You are right that quoting from other articles is standard practice. Aaron even left the hyperlink to the article. The point is the article stunk, and Aaron pushed it’s ‘stinkiness’ along.

        What Aaron should have done, exactly, is to verify how much truth is in the article, and if there is none, not pass it’s allegations along. You know, real reporting type stuff.

        And his greatest contribution consisted of putting it on the Maclean’s website. More exposure.

        • Readers are quite capable of assessing what you consider the truth on their own. 

          • That is absolutely true, but you can’t say that the media plays no part in forming public opinion.

        • Look, I agree that articles leaning on anonymously-sourced quotes don’t represent a particularly high standard of journalism and I’d rather they not happen. But they do, all the time, to the advantage and detriment of all parties.

          It’s silly to kvetch at Wherry for acknowledging that this article went to print. It’s even sillier to demand that he personally vet the article’s background before taking the extreme step of linking to it on a blog.

          But you know what’s really absurd? That YOU would complain about journalistic standards when just a few days ago you said (based on an article quoting a single anonymous source on something that happened 15 years ago):

          “Layton did it, got away with it, and now we can move on. To argue that nothing happened is pretty much avoiding the facts.”

          I guess your standards for journalistic integrity depend on who’s embarrassed, eh?

          • That’s different though.  That’s an example of a single anonymous source claiming something that modster99 WANTS to believe is true.

            See?  It’s completely different!

          • Actually, the story isn’t, as @TJCook:disqus seems to suggest, based entirely on anonymous sources. Layton and his wife confirm the story. To say that it is entirely based on anonymous sources is not true.

            TJ seems to forget me mentioning that I would have the same opinion, about any politician, who was found in the same situation. I could care less who was embarrassed. Sleaze is sleaze.

          • I’m sure we’re all familiar enough with the Layton story.

            The point, obviously, is that your standards are inconsistent. Today, you say nothing about the content of the story but complain about its anonymous sourcing.

            Yesterday, you had no problem with an anonymous source spreading innuendo about a 15-year-old event. Just days before an election, to a rightwing newspaper, no less.

            Not only that, you jumped to an unqualified conclusion (“Layton did it”) that’s not backed up by evidence.

  3. The Unionists have been trying to pin this whole work stoppage on CP and the government the whole time, even though they initiated it from day one. Once they realized what a mistake their strike was, they started playing the blame game. This is just more of that.

    • Canada Post locked its workers out. The union was conducting “rotating strikes” which slowed down delivery… delivery might take one or two extra days. The lock out stopped delivery completely. There was minimal pain before the lockout.

      If there is an ounce of truth to this article, which modster points out is hard to find, then the back to work legislation likely delayed the negotiation process. There could be no deal reached with the back to work legislation written so that the union loses completely.

      I can’t get rid of the feeling that the back-to-work legislation was only necessary due to MPs wanting to get to an early summer vacation.

      • I think we’re all in agreement that there seems to be little truth in this article.

      • Firstly, the ‘rotating strikes’ caused minimal pain to the workers. Many customers were leaving, as they need a guaranteed way of getting their mail through. The partial strike was a way for the CUPW workers to hurt the company, while still getting the lion’s share of their wages (and benefits). Strike pay stinks (and that is if the Union has the money to pay it), so for the workers the rotating strike was great. They could have kept it going for months. Don’t believe for a second that they did it to be nice, or for the customers. If a full strike would have served their purposes better, they would have. The lockout was a response to this.

        I also don’t think that the legislation will have the union lose completely. The wage issue was a small one – it is the benefits that was the sticking point. With both sides trying to come up with a proposal that is as fair as possible, we will probably see them both come quite close to each other. They had to be forced, to make it happen, though.

        • I do find it passing strange that the union gets blamed for rotating strikes that slowed down delivery for some customers while management gets praise for responding to that action “appropriately” by completely stopping delivery for ALL customers.

          This whole labour dispute had ZERO effect on me personally until management locked out their workers.  And while the union may not have been doing rotating strikes because they wanted to keep the mail flowing, I’m CERTAIN that management didn’t lock the workers out to keep the mail flowing either.

          • Couple of things:

            First off, I never praised the company for the lock out, so I don’t know where that came from.
            Blame for this ordeal should be shared among both parties, but yes, the union owns the blame for the rotating strikes. (Although, with both party not budging, something was bound to happen).

            I would ask what you would have done, being CP, if the union did a partial strike that was painful to you, and your customers, but not so much to the union. The lock out, even without the legislation, would have sped up a settlement. Sadly, it would only have come after the CUPW’s went a while without pay.

            I was only replying to someone who tried to make it seem as if the union was doing things for the benefit of the customers – they weren’t.

  4. Harper didn’t have any choice on this one, as Canada can’t afford strikes right now. The economy is too fragile.

    It won’t buy him labour peace though.

  5. Declare them an ‘essential service’ because they are essential to … 
    1) The Fragile and Precious Economic Recovery (CPC tm)
    2) Small Business (CPC tm)
    3) Grandparents trying to send their grandchildren a birthday card (CPC tm)
    … send outstanding issues to ‘normal’ binding arbitration without government ‘conditions’.

    The question is NOT why are “THEY” making so much …

    The question is why have everyone else’s wages and benefits been so eroded?
    Why are corporate CEOs taking a increasing disproportionate amount for their urban legend ‘skills’?
    How can anyone earning just $10-20 an hour save enough for retirement – from a purely financial planning standpoint?
    And how do MPs and Cabinet Ministers justify their high ‘starting’ wage ‘scales’ and enduring defined benefit pensions? e.g. the Minister of Health
    When did most Canadians become so nasty and whiney?

    • It’s not “most Canadians” that have become so nasty and whiney, it’s just those in public sector unions. And why do they need to save for retirement when they have defined benefit pensions?

      • I think many defined benefit pensions provide 60% of pre-retirement income with little inflation protection. Extended health care support is fading away. Everyone needs to save regardless of their ‘plan’. CEOs don’t fiddle around with holding stock in their companies … they grab massive amounts of CASH. ‘No pension plans’ means you will have to pay today’s workers more … when they finally figure things out.

        … So set ALL public sector ‘essential service’ unions up for fair binding arbitration and let someone with experience in labour/management issues settle the dispute. Only Joe Comartin seemed know what he was talking about … Lisa Raitt didn’t get into details … Liberals were flailing.
        We are creating lots of ‘economic externalities’ without any idea of the impact they are going to have on today’s young people and children in the future workplace. No politician seems able to plan for the long term anymore. No one understands ‘a common good’ in any sense. 

      • Because contrary to the thickness of stupid lede writers, the pensions
        are not “gold-plated”.

      • If you can show me someone in 2011 with a DB pension plan who is not separately saving for their retirement I’ll show you someone who’s either going to A) work until they’re 80, or B) starve to death shortly after retiring.

      • Defined Benefit plans simply means the benefits during retirement are defined. This does not indicate any level of generosity to the plan. A retirement plan that promises $1 a year during retirement would be considered a defined benefit plan.

        People will often be better off with a defined contribution plan… but sometimes they will be screwed. Most people don’t want to risk poverty in old age on a flip of a coin…