author: jacob nelson | staff writer
The Canada Post strike was a very hot topic throughout the holiday season. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) started rotating strikes this winter, as a result of their concerns around pay inequality between urban and rural workers, banning overtime work in excess of 40 hours per week, and for Canada Post to address the issues involving workplace injuries. In short, a rotating strike in this case would mean that every city across the country goes on strike for exactly 24 hours, and each would rotate accordingly.
However, this strike did not just affect Canada Post or its workers, but affected the country as a whole. This caused Canada Post to send out a notification stating that they could not guarantee any delivery times over the holidays, due to the inability to work at full capacity.
Now, most of the time, I don’t directly feel much of the effect revolving around strikes. Even when I was in school and the teachers were going on strike, it didn’t seem to significantly slow anything in my life. But this strike had a much different effect.
Over the years, I have become more and more accustomed to ordering almost anything and everything online. Not only because the prices are usually lower, but because it’s always available when needed. I don’t have to find time to go to Walmart to purchase anything anymore. I can simply order with a couple taps on my phone screen.
So it’s quite obvious how this particular strike has affected me. Normally, I don’t feel any urgency when buying items online. After all, I’m buying them from a warehouse that’s usually thousands of kilometers away. So to expect them within one to two days is unrealistic.
But when shopping for Christmas specifically, I am one of those people that must have everything bought and ordered right away so I’m ready for the 25th. And this year, that just wasn’t possible. Although I put my order for my gifts in before December had started, the strike had delayed the delivery significantly. I was now waiting for my gifts until January 3rd, and was left with sort of an empty Christmas.
However, this is so far from something I would think is right to complain about. First off, I have the luxury of not only purchasing Christmas gifts, but also being able to spend time with friends and family over the holidays. A lot of people are without that luxury over Christmas. So it hurts when situations like this arise, and I have to see people posting back and forth about whether they agree with the strike or not.
It even lead to the government introducing a new bill, C-89, more commonly referred to as the “Back-to-Work” bill. A bill that would require workers to return to their duties in a situation where they are considered a necessity to the population. It would also appoint a mediator to help both the union and Canada Post come to an agreement.
But what people fail to recognize is that situations like these are not simply done due to one act of stubbornness by either party. These decisions to strike can be made after years of unfair treatment to either the company or its workers.
It’s not like workers for Canada Post woke up one day and said, “Hey, I want money. We should strike.” It is a seriously complicated matter between the workers and management as to how much money any of the workers actually deserve.
Some conditions that the union is reporting are conditions that take a long time to develop. Injuries on the job aren’t always sudden. Lifting heavy boxes day in and day out, for example, results in serious wear and tear on your body.
I, for one, love the idea of having a company such as Canada Post that indirectly regulates the prices of shipping costs across Canada by offering affordable rates. It keeps private companies like FedEx in check when decided how much they want to charge us. But I also understand that programs such as Amazon Prime are creating much more efficient methods of shipping cross-country.
It’s sad to see workers’ labour movements come to a resolution due to government legislation. In my opinion, it is cowardly for the Canadian government to create a bill disallowing strikes just because that can’t come to an agreement with the union. I’m willing to put myself in their shoes and realize that money can’t be everywhere it’s needed, but I think passing a bill to hide from negotiating is a shameful move.
I have personal experience with injuries on the job, particularly ones that take years to develop. From shoulders to knees to discs, I’ve experienced a lot. I believe that postal workers truly do put themselves through a lot of physical pain in order to deliver our everyday wants.
I will continue to support hardworking employees throughout the country. To say I don’t support any form of capitalism because I want the workers to receive all the benefits would be incorrect; I support fair trade between anyone willing to put in hard work and effort. I believe that more players being involved holds everyone else to that much more of a standard. That competition and innovation ultimately leads to greater service received by all of us.
I want to say thank you to all Canada Post workers across the country that provide service to us. Your work truly is underappreciated and I hope that even though you have been forced back to work by the government, you are still able to receive the acknowledgement you deserve.