When shortly after midnight last Thursday Canada Post’s union (CUPW) announced they were on strike, I met the news with almost total disbelief. After the 1997 strike and the numerous short calls during negotiations after that, it seemed to me that it was getting less and less likely to justify a postal strike.
But nevertheless they did it!
The first thing that popped up in my mind upon hearing the news was the final scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian. If you remember, Brian (Graham Chapman’s character) was mistaken for a prophet and eventually crucified by the Romans. After he was abandoned by all of his friends and family, something exciting happened – the “crack suicide squad” approached the crucifixion place. All of them were armed to the teeth and they scared away the Roman soldiers.
But instead of freeing the crucified people, they all took out their swords and committed a collective suicide. It was a totally meaningless event done for a totally meaningless reason.
That’s what CUPW’s actions look like. They went on strike over some strange issues that the normal working people would neither understand, nor encounter in their working lives. Besides that, the workload of the postal workers is not going up; it’s even being reduced by the new forms of communication.
Yet postal workers are better paid than many highly educated and qualified professions. All they need to qualify for the job is reading ability at grade 3 level that would let them find the names of the streets and match the address written on the envelopes or packages. That’s hardly a work that deserves such a high pay. As of the sob story about delivering mail in February, there are many more occupations that suffer cold and are paid less.
Despite all that, they still manage to screw things – last year a credit card sent by my bank was delivered to a totally different address. The nice person who got the envelope was kind enough to bring it to my place. What if he wasn’t that nice?
The 1997 strike was horrible – it continued for 2 weeks in December and probably devastated many small businesses. I remember that I had to send my Christmas letters to Europe and other countries. The rates that UPS and the couriers asked for were exorbitant and I had no choice but to go to the USA to mail them. I had no car at the time so I had to take the bus to Buffalo.
Then I had to deal with the obnoxious weirdos that guard the US border (they had the same attitude long before 9/11 even during the “wonderful” Clinto times). Up to that point I thought that the Russian guards were the worst. One of those Nazi-like people flatly stated that he had the right to open all letters to look for money, said with the smirk of the powerful customs agent, who is much better than me, the insignificant ant. And he really started to rip the letters open, but changed his mind after the third one and let me go (there was no money in the letters).
Then I had to deal with the ghost town of Buffalo – it was a Sunday and everything was closed. While walking the streets, I encountered several black guys shaking and barely able to speak (I had no idea that the state was drug-induced) who asked me for cigarettes and I had to give them all my smokes to get rid of them.
I finally found stamps at the souvenir shop of the Hilton Hotel. I even had to have a lunch at their restaurant, because everything else was closed. On top of
everything, they only had Coors Beer, which I hate.
Every element of that experience piled up points of hate against Canada Post.
What a difference 14 years make! Now I don’t have to send letters and I don’t need to deal with sadistic border guards. One of my businesses still depends on physical shipping, but I can survive the interruption.
Yet the Canada Post union somehow failed to notice that they entered a new century. Or maybe they did – this is not a total walk-out, but as of now is conducted as a rotating strike, hitting new towns every day.
Still, it’s a sad end for a powerful union that used to make the country tremble from its power. They have long ago abandoned the real world and are trying to get involved in questionable initiatives.
CUPW is a major sponsor of the Canadian flotilla supposed to leave for Gaza in the end of this month. I wonder how they come to support that anti-Semitic venture, which is going to confront IDF directly. How is going the union to react if the hapless idiots on the boat get hurt in the confrontation? The Palestinian terrorists will be excited to have few Canadian fools sacrificed for their cause, but how are the leaders of CUPW going to sleep at night?
I guess they’ll sleep all right – all postal workers are forced to join the union and pay dues, which the leadership can use any way they please.
Isn’t it time to end that madness?
Let’s disband the Canada Post union – postal workers have no use for it, the only people who benefit are the bosses who can waste the dues on anti-Semitic ventures.
And let our next goal be the privatization of Canada Post to bring it truly to the business practices of the new century.
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