Why did Canada Post go on strike?
On October 22nd Canada post began a series of “rotating” strikes after year-long negotiations failed between the crown corporation and the Canadian Union of postal workers (CUPW).
The two parties were unable to reach an agreement regarding new contract demands which resulted in union workers deciding to take matters into their own hands. As a means to lower the effects to consumers, each strike was meant to last 24 hours per city, placing the various strike locations on rotation.
Although the CUPW specifies a lengthy list of grievances, their top button issue concerns the discrepancy in pay between urban and rural postal workers. For rural carriers it’s the size of their route that determines their pay whereas urban carriers are paid by the hour, resulting in a higher payday for those working in the city centers.
The CUPW also points out that not only is this unjust regarding pay equity between workers but that this raises issues over the wage gap between men and women; as urban carriers are predominantly male and most rural carriers are female.
The postal service being the essential service that it is meant that the government was able to pass legislation forcing carriers back to work and after a month of rotating strikes across the country the Trudeau government did just that.
On November 22nd the government introduced legislation forcing Canada Post employees to get back to work which was passed six days later in the Senate and was quickly given royal assent. Canada Post workers returned to work the following day; however, the effects of the month-long rotating strikes are likely to be felt long after.
What’s the status on deliveries that were delayed because of the strikes?
It’s been two weeks since mail carriers began to return to their routes, however as the holiday season hastily approaches, Canada Post is still warning that packages may not make it on time.
As the effects of the rotating strikes linger on so too does their ability to slow down the system. Many parcels are still waiting to be delivered and on Friday afternoon service’s spokesperson, Jon Hamilton, said: “We are facing a backlog of about six million parcels as of today.”
Hamilton goes on to explain that the combination of the strikes mixed with the demand of the holiday season means that Canada Post will not be able to guarantee their normal delivery times.
However, there is some hope in sight as Hamilton explained that in order to get as many items through the system as possible Canada Post have brought on “about 4,000 extra staff across the country and about 2,000 extra vehicles.”
In terms of foreign deliveries, the situation is far bleaker. After briefly halting all incoming deliveries from foreign postal services, Canada Post is experiencing a large backlog of packages. Although the embargo has been lifted, Hamilton still cautions that overseas packages will most likely take longer than usual to arrive, as the rotating strikes have made the system far more unpredictable.
What can Canada Post customers expect?
For the average consumer one can expect many delays, frustration and certainly no guarantees from Canada Post this holiday season, luckily, however, there are alternatives to ensure that there will be presents under the tree come Christmas morn.
As the only thing one can truly expect from Canada Post for the foreseeable future is lengthy waits, many shipping services have now stepped forward to combat the issue.
eShipper, based in Toronto, uses a range of available carries including Purolator, DHL and UPS to search rates and find customers the best deal available when it comes to delivering their packages across the globe. As providing customers with a competitive alternative to Canada Post is part of the companies’ business model it is an excellent option for those who wish to ensure their holiday gifts get delivered on time.
A similar alternative that not only serves consumers but small business owners as well is ShipTime, Inc. The company aims to allow small business owners with limited volume to “tap into our collective buying power to get cost-effective rates for all kinds of shipping” says Allan Pratt, president and CEO of the Oakville-based company.
For entrepreneurs looking to save some money, Chit Chats offers another solution by driving your deliveries across the border and placing them in the USPS mail stream. However, in order to comply with border regulations, your small business must be valued at under 800$ USD in order to ship duty-free.
As the rotating regional strikes have managed to seriously slow down the flow of package deliveries across Canada, many have been left frustrated and anxious about whether or not their holiday gifts will come in time for Christmas.
Whereas before customers dreams were filled with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads they are now lying awake wondering whether or not all they’ll have to put under the tree this year will be lumps of coal.
Although Canada Post is dealing with the backlog of packages as best they can and alternative options to shipping do exist, with Christmas day fast approaching the usual reading of A Visit from St. Nicholas might soon be replaced by a viewing of The Nightmare Before Christmas.