COLUMN: Labour dispute a time for sacrifices

Here we go again with another public sector labour disruption.

Here we go again with another public sector labour disruption.

I don’t know about you but I’m getting a little weary of hearing the blame game, finger pointing and whining that these kinds of strikes/lockouts breed.

Please don’t assume that because I just said that, I am anti-union.

Labour unions have done a lot worldwide to improve working conditions, safety, and standardized services.

Without their contribution, we wouldn’t have many of the rights that union and non-union employees enjoy today.

That said, it can be argued that public sector union leadership has become a little tone deaf to a changing global business climate.

Take this latest negotiation with Canada Post.

It can’t be a secret to the union that business is down, and down a lot at the post office.

Like many large institutions, Canada Post failed to anticipate the emergence of technology and how it would affect their business.

By the time they figured out that people weren’t flocking to the mailboxes to mail letters or receiving bills online, it was too late.

Now they are scrambling to correct declining revenue and increased costs.

Is this the postal employees fault? Absolutely not. However, in order to preserve their jobs, it would make sense to be part of the solution.

Union leadership should advocate for their membership. That’s what is expected.

However, when the writing is on the wall, they should also make sure they don’t back their membership into a corner that results in the demise of their employment. It all comes down to a lack of trust.

Any business needs a partnership between employees and management and when that trust is compromised, the business suffers.

In order to right the ship at Canada Post, it will take a team effort from their employees and management. That might mean that sacrifices will have to be made.

Adjusting how a pension works for new employees seems like a reasonable sacrifice. Existing employees aren’t affected directly by these changes and if they are implemented, it may provide them with additional job security moving forward. So does modest wage increases….which most of the non-union employees in Canada aren’t entitled to.

When I visited the CUPW website for research purposes, there is a big bold line at the bottom of one of their press releases. It reads: “It’s Time for Canada Post to Show Us The Money!”

The obvious problem is that with declining use of Canada Post services, and rising fixed costs like utilities and fuel, there is not much more to go around.

Seems fairly obvious to me, in just hearing the reaction of average Canadians when they were advised of the pending job action.

Most have said they would barely notice.

Bills get paid online or through the banks.

Cheques get direct deposited and day to day correspondence can be done in many, many other ways.

It’s time for Canada Post and the CUPW to put their egos aside and work together to save their jobs.

Rob Murphy is the sales manager at the Summerland Review.