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Officially a filibuster
June 23, 2011 11:00 PM   Subscribe

While outside Parliament it is 2:00 AM EST, Friday June 24, inside it will remain the "Thursday June 23 Chamberverse" until the Canadian House of Commons rises. Canada's new Official Opposition, the New Democratic party is currently filibustering the Conservative majority government over Bill C-6 - An act to provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services brought forward to force postal workers at Canada Post, an arms-length Crown Corporation back to work.
Length of speeches, pursuant to Standing Order 43:

The Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Minister moving the motion and the Member replying immediately after the Minister — unlimited time and speeches are subject to a 10-minute question and comment period.

All other Members — 20 minutes maximum and speeches are subject to a 10-minute question and comment period.

Closure — notice given Tuesday, June 21, 2011, pursuant to Standing Order 57.
posted by HLD (85 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm gonna go with Fuck Yeah NDP on this one.

One of the big sticking points, from what I've seen, is that the Bill actually sets the wages lower than the last offer made by management. So now there's pretty much no incentive for them to go to the negotiating table.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:20 PM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


If only Harry Reid spoke Canadian.
posted by orthogonality at 11:22 PM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


btw, here is a link to the official Bill C-6, no need to use Scribd or a secret copy that might not be up-to-date.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:23 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ugh. I really need this strike to end -- I have something important being held hostage right now in the mail system, because I sent it anticipating a minor delay rather than a full-on lockout (with no warning...but still you better believe I am kicking myself for not using a courier). And yet I recognize that the back to work legislation is totally stomping on the union and it makes me feel pretty sick. But what the fuck do I think now? I know I'm not the only one who needs the mail to get moving again. How can I support the workers and support ending the strike? I guess I can't. I feel immensely frustrated by the whole thing.
posted by PercussivePaul at 11:32 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


As much as I dislike the general state of unions these days, I have to say that I think it's a dangerous mistake to set the precedent of legislating unions back to work as a matter of course. So, yeah, go NDP. It was the first time in my life that I voted NDP in any election and I'm pretty happy with that choice.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:34 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good for the NDP!

I really need this strike to end. Goddammit.
posted by auto-correct at 11:37 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


PS - love her or hate her Kady O'Malley covers all things Parliamentary in meth-addict fashion on her Twitter feed. She has a good running commentary going right now.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:41 PM on June 23, 2011


Yeah, Richters made the big mistake of shipping a bunch of live plants (including mine) on Monday. RIP little buddies. You're not the first to die to preserve the hard-earned right to collectively bargain, nor will you be the last.
posted by mek at 11:47 PM on June 23, 2011 [12 favorites]


Nice write-up in the Globe
posted by PercussivePaul at 11:50 PM on June 23, 2011


This is fascinating! Thanks so much for the link. I was pretty impressed with Jinny Sims from Newton-North Delta, BC. Watching this debate spurred me to write to my MP.

As to supporting the workers, from what I've been able to gather at this point, the workers would be happy to go back to work if Canada Post would end the lockout and promise to negotiate in good faith. While I would imagine some pressure tactics such as rolling strike days might still occur, I think that the end of the lockout would at least allow the mail to continue moving, no?
posted by juliebug at 11:52 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well fuck me, I didn't expect this. Good on you, Jack Layton and the NDP.

The weird thing was I was actually somewhat sympathetic to the case Canada Post management was making up until they locked workers out after 12 days of minimally disruptive striking. And until the government decided strikes were unacceptable in general. I'm beginning to regret voting Green this time out, even though it wouldn't have knocked Hedy Fry out anyway.
posted by Hoopo at 11:55 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am also impressed with Jinny Sims, and I'm not an NDP fan. I wasn't particularly sympathetic with the postal workers, mainly because I'm not a big fan of unions due to personal experience, and I honestly am pretty ignorant about the issues, but I don't agree with the lockout (and hey, at least with the rolling strikes, we were still getting mail service!).

Thanks for posting this. I'm really enjoying watching the live debate and am happy that at least our MPs are earning their salaries (finally lol).
posted by 1000monkeys at 11:59 PM on June 23, 2011


So I'm currently pulling an all-nighter [I'm in NB, it's 0410] to draft a report from a colloquium on some aboriginal issues; I promised it to my supervisor for tomorrow morning, but I've been slacking this week.

Instead I'm watching the debate. Loving David Christopher right now. This will end poorly, both for myself and most likely for the CUPW, but goddamn I'm currently happy.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:11 AM on June 24, 2011


Huh. Reading the Act, it looks like the arbitrator appointed by the Minister:
a) Can't be challenged in the courts, either personally or their decision;
b) Can't choose an outcome between the Union and Management's final offers [per point of contention, I think], but is required to choose one of them.

Those are pretty surprising. Looks like the Minister could just choose a very biased arbitrator, who just chooses to go with final offers and doesn't compromise.

Anyone know much labour law? Is that common, that the final arbitrator has to choose one of the options?
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:19 AM on June 24, 2011


The Conservative government versus the post office, I'm not sure who to hate more. It's like watching jackals fight vultures, who were already fighting a bunch of scorpions, with the NDP as well meaning naturalists butting in to try and settle things. "Now, now, you can all feed upon the public carcass. Just take turns."
posted by Kevin Street at 12:22 AM on June 24, 2011


They can do that? They can do that to time? We need them to set that building back to 2000 C.E. and they need to send a message. This might be our one chance to get the world back on track.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:28 AM on June 24, 2011


"Now, now, you can all feed upon the public carcass. Just take turns."

Canada Post has turned a profit for over a decade and a half, even through the recession. The postal workers aren't the fucking parasites here -- they're not even the reason we can't get mail. Christ.
posted by mobunited at 12:30 AM on June 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


This one is difficult, because my disability cheque is caught up in the strike, and I have no idea how to get it out of the strike at all, and I'm really really broke. I hope something happens.
posted by PinkMoose at 12:32 AM on June 24, 2011


Canada Post has turned a profit for over a decade and a half, even through the recession. The postal workers aren't the fucking parasites here -- they're not even the reason we can't get mail. Christ.

Bu-bu-bu-bu-bu there's UNIONS involved here. Evil fatcat UNIONS that make sure that lazy fat cat UNION workers get their fatcat paychecks and can afford some finer things. There HAS to be some form of evil fatcat foul play at work here.
posted by Talez at 12:38 AM on June 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'd fire every single one of them, both the management at Canada Post and the workers, because they've all contributed to making the corporation the enormous parasite it is today. Burn it down and build again.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:45 AM on June 24, 2011


So you are in favour of fully nationalizing the post service and running it as a not-for-profit? Sounds like socialism to me. Here's your NDP membership form.
posted by mek at 12:49 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd fire every single one of them, both the management at Canada Post and the workers, because they've all contributed to making the corporation the enormous parasite it is today. Burn it down and build again.

Definitely don't bother reading the responses to your last comment before commenting again. Because that would require you to actually have a critical thought. Do you even have the slightest idea what's going on with Canada Post? [RHETORICAL]
posted by auto-correct at 12:57 AM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I work at Canada Post as a "Temp" (almost three years now) and I have been glued to CPAC for 7 hours. This is like my Stanley Cup! Jack Layton's speech was inspiring and epic and every single NDP MP has spoken passionately and at great length. I need to get up in 4 hours to picket but I might not make it!
posted by smartypantz at 1:25 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've watched the feed for over two hours straight and this is still fascinating! I've written to no less than four MPs, including my own, to express my opinion (to my MP) and to congratulate some of these speakers (Jinny Sims, Marie-Claude Morin in particular) on their passion and their enthusiasm for the country. This is amazing stuff and I can't stop watching!
posted by juliebug at 1:37 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The young NDP MPs are doing a fantastic job debating. I'm so proud of my generation?
posted by smartypantz at 1:49 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


All right, I'm officially a fan of Sitsabaiesan who's speaking now (NDP - Scarborough). Although I do strongly oppose the 8-day workday, whatever she says.

Super-excited to see the video clips playing on the major networks today. These MPs deserve the exposure.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:53 AM on June 24, 2011


Completely agree with you, smartypantz. The young NDPs are doing great!

Lemurrhea, I agree with you, too. Rathika Sitsabaiesan did a great job.
posted by juliebug at 2:10 AM on June 24, 2011


Not sure how many of you are small business owners, but this strike really fuckin' sucks for us. All the corporations we owe money to still expect payment on-time and have the set-up to accept payments electronically. On the other side of the coin, many of my receivables aren't getting paid, which makes cash flow tighter. Our very recent work around has been to set-up customers with our Insurance Courier account number and have them use that. Because of the industry, we can't take credit card payments, and even if we could, those involve transaction fees between 2% and 4% (not a problem for larger companies). The Insurance Courier driver was about two hours late for his daily pick-up yesterday and told me it's because business is booming. I feel for the workers on strike, I really do, BUT they work in a dying industry. With all kinds of alternatives out there and others being developed, they aren't in a very good position. Now that I've switched over several of my customers to Insurance Courier, I highly doubt we'll go back to using the postal system in any meaningful way. Insurance Courier's "Everyday" service for envelopes under 30 grams is extremely reasonable and delivery times are better than the post.
posted by gman at 3:53 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lockout. Not a strike. Don't buy into the government's misinformation.

Well there was the rolling strike, but I assume that wasn't crippling you as bad?
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:00 AM on June 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Just remember, the carriers and workers were working to rule, NOT striking. Management locked them out and now the Cons are trying to legislate them back to work when they are perfectly willing to work. All the comments about 'what are they doing? They work in a dying industry!'...their strategy suggests they realize that. Once again, this isn't a strike. Management stopped the mail.

Think about that for two seconds and you reliaze this isn't back to work legislation. It's a stalking horse for the government taking away the workers ability to negotiate their own wages.

A government that claims to believe in the free market is setting the wages of workers in a private company through legislation. This is targeting their enemies, pure and simple.

Good for the NDP. Proud to have voted for them.
posted by dry white toast at 4:10 AM on June 24, 2011 [18 favorites]


Now that I've switched over several of my customers to Insurance Courier, I highly doubt we'll go back to using the postal system in any meaningful way. Insurance Courier's "Everyday" service for envelopes under 30 grams is extremely reasonable and delivery times are better than the post.

I can almost guarantee that you'll sing a different song if and when only private companies deliver the mail. Private companies always seem to find a way to consolidate and find ways and reasons to raise prices. Right now they are operating in a system with government mail as a drag and a foil. See our phone industry.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:24 AM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Lemurrhea: Lockout. Not a strike. Don't buy into the government's misinformation.

Well there was the rolling strike, but I assume that wasn't crippling you as bad?


No, you're totally right, I misspoke. The rotating strike was a pain in the ass, but it was liveable. All the same, this stoppage of service has left a very bad taste in a lot of small business owners' collective mouth; we've now sought out alternatives that we wouldn't have considered using if there'd been no disruption. As time passes, my (perhaps misguided) anger toward the postal system as a whole will grow and these alternatives will become my norm.

My sympathy toward the workers is lessened when I think back to my two carriers prior to the current one. Both of them only worked every other day. That meant some weeks they worked two days a week and other weeks they worked 3 days a week. On their off days, the mail would be delivered by various (often the same) other carriers. I didn't have to ask the second regular why this was happening because the first carrier proudly told me that he can easily deliver his entire route in four hours, and so what they do is spend eight hours delivering both their own route and their buddy's. Yeah, they were working like mother fuckers to finish two routes in a day, but they were also only working half an average work week.
posted by gman at 4:29 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


My sympathy toward the workers is lessened when I

...when I realize how much fucking money they make compared to most other workers in the country.
posted by Fizz at 5:22 AM on June 24, 2011


It's all Mouseland.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:27 AM on June 24, 2011


Benny Andajetz: I can almost guarantee that you'll sing a different song if and when only private companies deliver the mail. Private companies always seem to find a way to consolidate and find ways and reasons to raise prices. Right now they are operating in a system with government mail as a drag and a foil. See our phone industry.

Dude, I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment, but even if the lockout were to end tomorrow, there's no way I'm going to ask customers to stop using my Insurance Courier account now that they're used to the ease, speed of delivery (gives them more time between invoicing and required payment date), and reliability. Not to mention the fact that they don't mind that sending cheques to me is now on my dime. All I'm getting at is there is more to this issue than "Yay NDP!", and it's this sort of stance which makes it hard for those lefties of us in the business community to vote NDP.
posted by gman at 5:42 AM on June 24, 2011


If you are envious of how much unionized employees make, the solution is not to make sure they make less.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:42 AM on June 24, 2011 [17 favorites]


gman, I can't get riled up about your postie doing all his/her work done in a couple of days by cramming in two routes in one. I just can't. This is the flip side of the "speedup" issue. If the work is assigned reasonably evenly, then some workers will do it fast and some will take more time. If there's no personal benefit to working fast, then why bother to improve your skills -- you'll just get even more work dumped on you. Excellence and skill should be rewarded -- in this case, by more time off the job.

Delivering mail seems like a pretty good job, except for the variable precipitation, variable temperatures, variable loads, dogs, locked doors and gates..... I'd love to walk around town all day.

I'm not with the union or Canada Post, I don't think there's a winner or loser to back here, the situation just sucks. But I do believe in rewarding talent and skill in a positive fashion.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:47 AM on June 24, 2011


.... and I have product sitting in a warehouse that was supposed to get to a customer for his husband's birthday and no one is really happy about that. So I hope this winds down soon.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:49 AM on June 24, 2011


If you are envious of how much unionized employees make, the solution is not to make sure they make less.
posted by stinkycheese


It is if they are making significantly more than what a non-unionized worker would take to do the job. I'm all for unions to a point, and that point is when they start trying to stop other people from working. "How dare this other guy offer to do my job for less money! Break his knees!"

Also, "stopping the other guy from earning more" seems to be the solution when we are talking about the richest x% in the US.
posted by gjc at 5:49 AM on June 24, 2011


gjc: "It is if they are making significantly more than what a non-unionized worker would take to do the job."

So, you're promoting the race to the bottom?

gjc: "Also, "stopping the other guy from earning more" seems to be the solution when we are talking about the richest x% in the US."

No, it's "make sure that guy pays his fair share".
posted by notsnot at 6:04 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, "stopping the other guy from earning more" seems to be the solution when we are talking about the richest x% in the US.

Am I misunderstanding or are you really comparing big corporations and multi-millionaires avoiding U.S. taxes with Canadian postal workers whose (I presume still middle-class) salaries you're jealous of?
posted by aught at 6:18 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


30 years ago, postal workers went on strike for 41 days, demanding that women should not suffer financial hardship because they are the ones in society who bear children. CUPW was the first national union to win maternity leave rights -- setting a standard across the country which ended up with a national maternity/parental leave program through Employment Insurance.

Maternity Leave: Brought to you by striking postal workers. Support postal workers.
posted by Jairus at 6:25 AM on June 24, 2011 [23 favorites]


seanmpuckett: If the work is assigned reasonably evenly, then some workers will do it fast and some will take more time. If there's no personal benefit to working fast, then why bother to improve your skills -- you'll just get even more work dumped on you. Excellence and skill should be rewarded -- in this case, by more time off the job.

But that's the thing; they were fucking up large in order to pull off these half work weeks. Every single day, almost without fail, we were receiving mail for other addresses and others were receiving our mail before it was redirected. Our company was courteous enough to hand back the wrongly delivered mail to our postman, but I know for a fact that this didn't always occur because very reliable customers' cheques often never made it to us the first time. This was a huge pain in the ass that took up a lot of our employee's time - calling, waiting, asking the customer to put a stop payment, and then re-sending. The mail carrier was responsible for sorting and when they wanna get shit done quickly in order to take paid days off, they fuck it up. We've now had a new daily carrier since February and only one piece of mail that wasn't ours.
posted by gman at 6:32 AM on June 24, 2011


But that's not what you said gman. You said you don't like the fact they only work half a week, not even any anecdata about them being incompetent.

You know who I can't stand, Small Business Owners. Bunch of whiny-ass bitches every one of them. "What about small businesses, what about the little man". Shit, if you were any good this wouldn't be a problem, it's only because you're incompetently living invoice to invoice that you can't manage a little speed-bump. Ever though about investing, you know saving for a rainy day. Perhaps you can try working harder.

Yes it's sarcasmy trolling type cheap points scoring, but shit, when the government and large corporations use the same fucking playbook every fucking time and STILL people parrot the same fucking support, well sorry but in 10 years you will have a completely privatised postal service and it will cost you a fortune and it will be shit. Like EVERY fucking time before.
posted by fullerine at 6:56 AM on June 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


On the whole I have been more on the union's side, though I doubt some of their arguments -- in particular, the one where the new sorting machines are slower (well, sure, because it's easy to do something slowly when it's new and you don't like the change) -- and the lockout was a brilliant move, because the rotating strikes were inconvenient but not killer, and the lockout is much worse. And the government wouldn't, say, legislate back to rotating strikes, and won't let an arbitrator choose what they think is the best solution and has suggested pay that is lower than Canada Post recommended? But then people talking about hundreds of days of saved sick leave seems nuts. (Why there cannot be a compromise between being able to carry over all your sick leave and being able to carry over none also confused me.)

I do wish, though, that there were more things that could be done when your mail carrier was a lazy jerk. My mail box is on the second floor, like many in Montreal, and people on the second floor would get mail 2-3 times a week instead of daily because the carrier didn't want to climb the stairs that much. But complaints did nothing.

Somehow I don't see daily mail being a long-term reality. (Which is, really, okay with me. I get all my stuff mailed to work, anyways, because there's always someone there to sign.)
posted by jeather at 7:29 AM on June 24, 2011


Now that I've switched over several of my customers to Insurance Courier, I highly doubt we'll go back to using the postal system in any meaningful way.

People really need to focus on this. When it comes to fights between management and unions in an industry that relies on customers, I feel like NOBODY wins in a lockout/strike situation. Especially a prolonged one. I really wonder if the CP management understands that while they may save money in the short term via a better deal with the union, the amount of lost customer goodwill will end up costing them quite a bit of money in the long run.

My wife's company is switching benefits providers, and she needs to get her receipts in to the old benefit provider before the end of June, so we can get our money back on all those benefits claims. Unfortunately, the provider only lists a PO box as a delivery address, so we're not sure they'll get the receipts even if we courier them. Are PO boxes still accessible during the lockout?
posted by antifuse at 7:31 AM on June 24, 2011


fullerine: But that's not what you said gman. You said you don't like the fact they only work half a week, not even any anecdata about them being incompetent.

You know who I can't stand, Small Business Owners. Bunch of whiny-ass bitches every one of them. "What about small businesses, what about the little man". Shit, if you were any good this wouldn't be a problem, it's only because you're incompetently living invoice to invoice that you can't manage a little speed-bump. Ever though about investing, you know saving for a rainy day. Perhaps you can try working harder.

Yes it's sarcasmy trolling type cheap points scoring, but shit, when the government and large corporations use the same fucking playbook every fucking time and STILL people parrot the same fucking support, well sorry but in 10 years you will have a completely privatised postal service and it will cost you a fortune and it will be shit. Like EVERY fucking time before.


That's quite honestly one of the more ridiculous comments I've read on this site, even if the latter part was said in jest.

I don't like that they work for only half a week, receiving a fat pay cheque while other people in this country are struggling AND I also didn't enjoy the fact they they were fucking up. Does that make sense to you?

As for your second paragraph, let me explain a few things to you. I provide my employees with commission rates and salaries well above the industry standard. I give them health care benefits and lots of vacation time. I don't draw an exorbitantly high salary and throughout this protracted downturn, I've not laid off a single employee. You know what enables me to do this for them? Getting my fuckin' receivables collected in a timely manner. Not to mention, taking a 40% cut in my own pay, and ensuring we are efficient and steps ahead of our competition in terms of both customer service and products on offer. I'm gonna go ahead and assume you have no idea as to the mechanisms of the industry I'm in. At the end of every month I owe a very large amount of money to my underwriters; money I have to pay on time. Well, what happens when I'm not taking in the premium from my customers due to Canada Post's work stoppage?

As for my employees, they work hard and when they finish their assigned duties, they take on other tasks. You know why they do this? Because we treat them fairly and listen to their grievances. At my US company, even with a god awful economy, I still continue to pay for 50% of my employees health care - something that costs us a shit ton every month and I am in no way obliged to do. So you can take your comment and shove it up your ass.
posted by gman at 7:33 AM on June 24, 2011


I love this quote from the CBC link:

"The union strike activity had us in a death-spiral of uncertainty," Hamilton said. "We took action to try and move things forward, kickstart the process. Unfortunately we're not seeing that in return from the union."

You locked them out and now you're blaming them for not immediately coming to an agreement? Is that how that works?
posted by jacquilynne at 7:51 AM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


This all sounds like excellent training for the new Quebec NDPs. Those 20-year olds are going to be a force to reckon with five years from now.

Fuck yeah, NDP.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 7:56 AM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am sorry, but I never believe on politicians, they are just all so self centered and don't really care about no one else.
posted by salcha00 at 7:57 AM on June 24, 2011


I love how the Tories chanted "Union Jack" when Layton got up to speak, as though the word "union" is inherently derogative. In a better world, Layton would be calling himself Union Jack in campaign ads, but I suppose that would be strategically unwise because decades' worth of propaganda has convinced much of the working class that union membership aligns less with their interests than trusting in the benevolence of business owners.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:02 AM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


You locked them out and now you're blaming them for not immediately coming to an agreement? Is that how that works?

Yes, that's how that works.

They know the hoi polloi will see it as a strike and certainly the press for the most part will toe the line also. This is the Harper we were all warned about, gears, diodes, and everything.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 8:06 AM on June 24, 2011


The right wing has been incredible at branding positive words like Union, Socialism and Taxation as evil boogeymen, and scary words like Guns and War and Surveillance and Torture as the new messiahs.

Bastards...
posted by Theta States at 8:11 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


gman:

Good for you. Really. More employers should be like you.

You have a story, and you know all the details. Postal workers have a story, too - but I bet you don't know the whole story. You say, on the one hand, that your employees work as well as they do because of their treatment and benefits - which are better than the norm. Is it really any different with other groups of workers?

Unions have fought for the contracts and they deserve those contracts to be honored and new ones negotiated in good faith.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:29 AM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Gman, it's fantastic your small business is so successful and can offer a decent wages and benefits. My experience in my 15 years of working experience before I got a job with Canada post was the opposite. Of many jobs I had in the private sector, small businesses and larger, none offered me an actual living wage (usually only $2-4 more than minimum wage), none even pretended there would be a pension and the thought of "benefits" was laughable. I applied for Canada Post exactly due to my disappointment with my options in the private sector.

Not everyone has the aptitude for commission based jobs, nor the ambition, skills and ability to start and run a small business. And before someone suggests I go back to school, I have my BFA and three diplomas, I've done my schooling and am currently a practicing artist. Unfortunately being an artist pays shit so here I am trying to make it in the public service.

These contract negotiations were one sided from the start. The Corporation has zero interest in actually changing their mind on their positions. The Union has offered many concessions but the line is drawn in the sand. The company knew the Gov't would do anything to support them and this legislation with it's weird specific provisions is basically a worse offer then Canada Post has already offered. Why would they even bother "negotiating" now? They won't and they haven't even been at the negotiating table all week for exactly this reason.

The NDP is doing a fantastic job of not "going down quietly", I applaud their support for all workers of Canada - this noise they are making is not for naught.
posted by smartypantz at 8:31 AM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


And for people who have specific examples of how their Letter Carrier is incompetent - give it a break. You may think you know the details of why and how things happen, but the system is hugely mismanaged and prone to errors. The company implements illogical systems and then employees make do to make the work actually work. For the person whose carrier only worked every other day or whatever - you don't know how they are actually scheduled - it is very likely that worker was a "temp" and only got called in on those days, it is also totally possible that he was abusing his position and it looks like he has moved on or got in trouble. People do get in trouble for "delay" of mail and can get suspended or fired for it. There are crappy slacker workers in every industry, but for the most part my coworkers are good, honest, hard working people who generally get shat on from management no matter what they do.
posted by smartypantz at 8:44 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


It also seems likely that polarizing public battles like this do nothing for either party (except maybe the Conservative Party), because the only winners here are going to be private courier services. If I were PM* I'd be trying to get Canada Post and the union to figure out a way they could work together to re-structure the company into one that can survive in the future. Daily mail delivery is a great thing, but they need the flexibility to adapt to changing realities, and it's probably possible to organize a business model where the union, customers and CP can all benefit.

*Recognizing that I'm one of the few Canadians who would probably be a worse PM than Stephen Harper.
posted by sneebler at 9:36 AM on June 24, 2011


sneebler, Canada Post has had a profit for the last 16 years. This isn't the USPS, things are going relatively well despite email, online billing and the rest. I don't work for them, but it doesn't seem like grand restructuring plans are required.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 9:43 AM on June 24, 2011


Canada Post's prices for parcel shipping are much cheaper then the private companies - some of those customers will come back. The Union has proposed to offer new services such as banking/financial services and the Corporation has been less than enthusiastic.
posted by smartypantz at 10:06 AM on June 24, 2011


One wonders how much of this is running the ship to ground, more or less, on the part of monied interests.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:29 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Most postal workers are good workers, friendly and pleasant. Some are not, and there appears to be no method of resolving complaints against them. Do I think that this is better than a postal service that is not unionized? Yes. But I also think that unions do not have to protect employees who are not doing their jobs, that it turns people against unions which they would otherwise support.
posted by jeather at 11:22 AM on June 24, 2011


Our previous postie was kind of lazy, he'd never actually bring the parcels out and would just leave tags. Since I'm home during the day it got kind of tiresome to see tags marked "NO ANS" and then have to go downtown to pick stuff up the next day. So we complained a couple times and those just went off into deep space (or maybe not, they never follow up but I'm sure someone reads them).

The current postie is pretty diligent, always knocks with the parcels (when I get a tag its when I am genuinely out), and she safe drops when she can because I've asked nicely, and is super friendly. And, uh, she's got some really amazing legs. So it is like any job, right? You get good workers and bad workers and some folks just marking time and some folks who give a crap, and it's really the employer's job to make sure there's an environment that discourages the former and encourages the latter.

If it takes a union to do that, okay, but like any organism it can get bigger than it needs to be out of evolutionary pressures and selfish greed.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:14 PM on June 24, 2011


I would suggest that the complaints department is either understaffed or outsourced overseas. I know they cut a lot of the call center jobs last year or so. It's a massive bureaucratic company with something like 72,000 employees including all the administrative, managerial and technical staff. It's a broken company, I will fully admit that. Sometimes there are three "supervisors" for 20 workers, and they all seem to do a lot of just standing around. But for the most part, Posties are good hard working people and we deserve respect.
posted by smartypantz at 12:28 PM on June 24, 2011


smartypantz: But for the most part, Posties are good hard working people and we deserve respect.

You totally deserve respect, as do all workers, and human beings in general. What I'm not sure anyone deserves is the ability to eventually have seven weeks vacation or to bank 15 sick days per year without ever maxing out. I see some people talking about the fact that Canada Post is turning a profit, but they also have billions of dollars in unfunded pension liability. Yeah, you can keep fighting for benefits that far exceed most other workers in this country, but with new technologies, the industry will die out and if you don't make small cuts now, you can expect massive job losses in the not-so-distant future.

smartypantz: For the person whose carrier only worked every other day or whatever - you don't know how they are actually scheduled - it is very likely that worker was a "temp" and only got called in on those days, it is also totally possible that he was abusing his position and it looks like he has moved on or got in trouble.

Nope. ***** was a thirty year vet at the time and he still works the same route. Even though we've moved, I manage to run into him from time to time at this lunch place we both frequent. Don't get me wrong, I fuckin' love the guy and I love that he was open with me, BUT he was proud about his 2-3 day work week. He used to come in and chat for a few minutes on the days he did work, and yeah, he knew plenty of workers pulling the same shit.
posted by gman at 1:11 PM on June 24, 2011


Gman - clearly that's not right and I don't know how he is able to do that without getting in trouble from management. I'm not saying it's perfect.

As far as 7 weeks vacation after 28 years - it's only 3 weeks to start with an extra week every 7 years. I think that's pretty fair - basically earning an extra day a year. As far as banking sick days - many Postal workers retire with hundreds of hours that they never use and it is not paid out. I would wager that upwards of 60% of senior postal workers have some sort of ongoing medical issue due to the nature of the work. Most of the inside workers of high seniority used to be Letter Carriers and who have been hurt and can't go back out. Many of them have at least one brace on an arm or knee. So, as far as banking sick days - it's for things like on the job injuries as well as things like Cancer and whatnot. The current system has been in place since the 70's and although it does get abused, like sick time is abused in absolutely every single workplace that offers it, it is much better than the alternative that they are proposing. They propose cutting the days available in half, they are calling them "personal days" and they can be denied. If you have an illness over a week long you apply to a private insurer (Manulife) and you can have your medical claim rejected. They will overrule your Dr's opinion to try and bring you back to work before you are well. The stated goal is to reduce paying 50% of what they pay now. The new machines/systems that they are bringing in actually have increased injuries on the job in the places they have been implemented.

Our previous contract is a book 1.5 inches thick. There's a lot you just can't possibly comment on without a basic amount of information and research. It's never as simple as it seems. Don't believe the soundbites!
posted by smartypantz at 1:27 PM on June 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh and I'm still a temp - I don't get any sick days or benefits or vacations days. I've been working as a temp for almost 3 years. I work midnights in the plant and don't have a guaranteed schedule or number of hours, ever. Sometimes I get a 4 hour shift that starts at 1:30 am. There are others who still aren't hired after 5 years. The new proposal suggests new workers - ie new temps - will get 20% less pay. They won't get any of the perks until they are permanent , a long journey at the best of times.
posted by smartypantz at 1:39 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


What I'm not sure anyone deserves is the ability to eventually have seven weeks vacation or to bank 15 sick days per year without ever maxing out.

Then you are lost.
posted by mobunited at 1:49 PM on June 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


What a stunning display of ignorance, misinformation, and stupidity in this thread. Christ on a stick, some of you are cretinous.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:09 PM on June 24, 2011


Well, that certainly elevated the level of discourse.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 2:18 PM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]




It's finally on to the Committee of the Whole stage (when amendments can be brought forward).
posted by HLD at 2:15 PM on June 25, 2011


Ah, so this is the stage where amendments can be brought forward and rejected without even bothering to count the votes, since everyone knows each party will all vote the same way they did on the previous amendment, no matter the merits of each one. Democracy at work!
posted by sfenders at 4:20 PM on June 25, 2011


Well, that's that. I'll admit to watching Kady O'Malley's alarmingly comprehensive liveblogging the whole long Thursday and today, and now that it's finished I am not sure what to do with myself.

Funnest fact I learned: when the Senate wants to sit past its bedtime, they have to pass a motion not to see the clock (that is its actual name!).
posted by bewilderbeast at 7:00 PM on June 26, 2011


I swear to god on my eyes, this:
"I still remember how to write letters, and I do write letters and put stamps on them,” said Randolph Ianniruberto of Alliston, Ont., who uses Canada Post to pay his bills and for correspondence.
reads just like the Onion.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:16 PM on June 26, 2011


I should have attributed that quote -- it's from bewilderbeast's linked article at the CBC.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:17 PM on June 26, 2011


"That was always the intent of the bill — to restore the mail service, to make sure that the economy will be held intact,” Labour Minister Lisa Raitt said.

I should think not locking them out would have been better. The rotating strikes weren't particularly painful.

It was the government corporation that decided to hurt small businesses. Raitt's comment is rather duplicitous in light of that.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:34 PM on June 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Postal service has resumed.
posted by Mitheral at 2:46 AM on June 29, 2011




I'm still very confused. How the hell are the cons trying to rationalize the requirement that they accept wages LOWER than Canada Post's last offer? Or are they even bothering any more? It seems like a total retaliatory thing "Well, you could've accepted higher wages, but now you are being punished by getting lower wages."
posted by antifuse at 12:45 PM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


PS: Canada Post workers? If you want, you can just deliver my regular mail... No need to deliver that backlog of flyers.
posted by antifuse at 12:46 PM on June 29, 2011


Make no mistake, the bill was entirely punitive.
posted by Theta States at 1:30 PM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


No need to deliver that backlog of flyers.

Ah, is that why I've still had no mail? They're delivering the waste paper first?

You can just ask them not to deliver any of that stuff if you don't want it, though it might improve the odds of the request being honoured if you first wait until things are back to normal at the post office. Worked for me, anyway.
posted by sfenders at 1:58 PM on June 29, 2011


I'm curious if anyone else is experiencing massive clusterfucks with their email since the return of service?

I live in a new two building condo complex, and whatever mail was delivered to our building was delivered entirely incorrectly and seemingly at random. And now it appears that most of our mail was actually delivered to the other building in the complex and was then brought over (by a tenant? It's not clear.) and dumped in a big pile in our lobby.

So the police ended up showing up and taking it away because it's a massive pile of everyone's mail out where anyone could steal it.

It's not clear whether this is a case of corporate pressure to clear the backlog forcing the rank-and-file to do their jobs incredibly poorly or the rank-and-file choosing to do their jobs incredibly poorly to prove a point, but I suspect the latter, because it seems like it would take actual effort to do your job this incompetently, and that even hurried lack of care would not result in the problems we're seeing where everything seems almost deliberately wrong.

Of course, even if it is a form of passive-aggressive protest (if you're going to legislate me back to work, fine! but you can't legislate me to work properly!), it might just be *our* mail carrier and not a general thing. Still, it's kind of making my previous sympathy for the union a lot less sympathetic -- deliberately giving everyone's private mail to other people isn't any kind of work-to-rule or legitimate protest, especially in the age of identity theft, and in a building where many of us are still moving in and thus receiving new copies of our ID cards in the mail.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:26 AM on July 1, 2011


jacquilynne, I'm in a 4-story apartment building, I've had no problems with the delivery of the mail - by Tuesday I had a pickup notice & actual mail, no issues.

I think it's probably either your mail carrier being a jerk, or possibly an actual cock-up due to your complex being new? These things do happen.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:11 AM on July 1, 2011


I'm pretty sure it's not a newness issue -- we were getting mail delivered quite successfully for a month or so before the strike, and the way it was screwed up -- lots of people getting bunches of other people's mail and no one getting any of their own doesn't really seem like a 'new building' issue. We did get occasional pieces of miss-sorted or sticky mail in the wrong boxes, but not *all* of it.

I thought it might have been an issue with a maybe new driver misreading the labeling on the boxes on his/her side, since I have no idea what they look like, and it's possible it might not be clear if the labels were above the boxes or below them or whatever, but it was things like someone with an apartment in the 1100s receiving mail for both people in the 700s and people in the 400s and those boxes are nowhere near each other. If it was just a 'every box is one off of what it should be' newbie error, you'd be getting mail for boxes near yours, not from across the mailroom on an entirely different wall.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:25 AM on July 1, 2011


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