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Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Canada Post strike on 06/18/2011 21:32:32 MDT Print View

Just throwing it out there for people who don't get our news. A pretty much complete shutdown of the Canadian postal system. So glad I pushed my GDT Thru hike back to August. This would have caused me to pack it in probably.

I wished we had a service similar to the US postal system. Instead of our terrible slow, plauged with delays and stupid charges public unionized catastrophe we have up her. I would love to start at $18 and hour with full health care benefits with 17 sick days a year, and have up to 7weeks of paid vacation a year. It would essentially be "Urban backpacking". I really hope the government forces them back to work ASAP

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Canada Post strike on 06/18/2011 23:44:58 MDT Print View

Be careful what you wish for; you might just get it.

Here in "the southern-most Province", we have an alledgedly bloated and grossly mismanaged, close to bankrupt, unionized, federally funded beaurocracy that holds a legal monopoly on First Class Mail (good for them or UPS and FedEx would have put them out of business years ago, like they're doing with parcel shipments), which is overcharged in order to subsidize the bulk mailing (think "advertising") needs of the business community.

Where's the Pony Express when you need it?

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Canada Post on 06/23/2011 21:54:56 MDT Print View

I, for one, am really fed up with Canada Post. Don't even get me started on how I feel about the strike and lockout.

Dave Jenkins
(Jinx667)

Locale: SoCal
Hmmm on 06/23/2011 22:21:02 MDT Print View

I was wondering where the package I had coming from Canada was, until I saw this on the news the other day. I agree the postal service here would be out of business long ago if not for junk mail and first class mail.

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: Hmmm on 06/25/2011 17:36:49 MDT Print View

man our system is so messed up. The NDP is in the parlement debating the fact to debate, in order to stall so they can come up with an agreement. Yet they haven't had a negotiation since Wednesday. looks like no mail till next week, and layoffs in the next 12 months from the drop in mail volume.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: USPS on 06/25/2011 18:38:32 MDT Print View

Gleenings -

"USPS acknowledged that its budget shortfall for FY 2010 would be $8 billion, and warned that it will be broke by the end of next year.

The historic losses occurred despite more than $9 billion in cost cuts in the past two years, including the elimination of about 105,000 full-time jobs, “more than any other organization, anywhere,” (USPS Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett)."

"Since 2007 the USPS has been unable to cover its annual budget, 80 percent of which goes to salaries and benefits. In contrast, 43 percent of FedEx’s budget and 61 percent of United Parcel Service’s pay go to employee-related expenses. Perhaps it’s not surprising that the postal service’s two primary rivals are more nimble. According to SJ Consulting Group, the USPS has more than a 15 percent share of the American express and ground-shipping market. FedEx has 32 percent, UPS 53 percent.

"The USPS has historically placed the interests of its unions first. That hasn’t changed. In March it reached a four-and-a-half-year agreement with the 250,000-member American Postal Workers Union, which represents mail clerks, drivers, mechanics, and custodians. The pact extends the no-layoff provision and provides a 3.5 percent raise for APWU members over the period of the contract, along with seven upcapped cost-of-living increases."

I've all thought being a letter carrier was a good deal.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: USPS on 06/25/2011 19:28:39 MDT Print View

It seems like a good thing to pay a larger percentage to the workers.

Why is it a bad thing to pay your employees more?

I'm guessing a problem with USPS is that with computers there's less mail. Over time it will get worse.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: USPS on 06/25/2011 19:30:37 MDT Print View

Didn't unions exist to combat workplace exploitation? I believe unions still have their place (and always will). However, I don't think government or quasi-government entities are exactly exploiting American citizens! Unions are NOT the only reason why we have government waste and inefficiency -- but I say kick unions out of all government and quasi-government entities and we may just get to enjoy both increase efficiency and cost savings!

But if we do the above, it's only fair that we reform government and quasi-government management as well.

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: Re: USPS on 06/25/2011 19:41:20 MDT Print View

These postal unions really just are a great benefits package for a few. $45000+ a year to walk for 5 hours a day and get paid for 8+ overtime and almost 2 months paid vacation a year. Its subsidized by our tax dollars when it loses money and they still want raises every year and increased employment opportunities when its clear its an industry that is in decline.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: USPS on 06/25/2011 19:48:13 MDT Print View

"I've all thought being a letter carrier was a good deal."

Postal pay scale (for those full-time, regular workers covered by American Postal Workers Union, as of Sept. 2009):

3 BB 33,793
AA 34,810
A 35,827
B 36,844
C 37,861
D 38,878
E 39,895
F 40,912
G 41,929
H 42,946
I 43,963
J 44,980
K 45,997
L 47,014
M 48,031
N 49,048
O 50,191
RC 51,208

It's not chump change, but letter carriers aren't getting rich off this salary.

The USPS is broke for a pretty simple reason - delivering mail to every household for 42 cents per letter is unsustainable. They also have far too many post offices in remote places that will always lose money.

Of course, whenever they talk about closing those post offices or raising the cost of a first class stamp, the public howls. Of course Fedex and UPS do better. They don't deliver anything for 42 cents, for crying out loud!

Stephen B Elder Jr
(selder) - M

Locale: Front range CO
Re: Re: Re: USPS on 06/25/2011 23:34:53 MDT Print View

"The USPS has historically placed the interests of its unions first. That hasn’t changed. In March it reached a four-and-a-half-year agreement with the 250,000-member American Postal Workers Union, which represents mail clerks, drivers, mechanics, and custodians. The pact extends the no-layoff provision and provides a 3.5 percent raise for APWU members over the period of the contract, along with seven upcapped cost-of-living increases."

The USPS has historically RECOGNIZED the RIGHTS of its unions simply and only because by law it is required to. The relationship between USPS and the Unions which represent it's bargaining unit employees has ALWAYS been extrodinarily adversarial, a fact enshrined in the Postal Reorganization Act itself, which created the Postal Service and recognized the fact that the interests of the parties would rarely coincide. Note that 3.5% over 4.5 years is not a rapid escalation of wages, and it was coupled with increases in the employee share of health benefits which will eat up some of that big 0.78% a year raise. Anybody that is on COLA's right now knows that in spite of gas and grocery prices, your COLA is zero.

Reduced mail volumes due to increased use of the internet have been predictable and very poorly managed by the Postal Service. Dumb business decisions at the Headquarters level are not the fault of the bargaining unit employees or the contracts which they have achieved.

Reduced advertising (junk) mail volumes due to the recession have a significant effect in efficiency, which is highly dependant on volume...the more pieces your carrier leaves in your box the lower the cost per piece is, and bulk business mail volume is off enormously due to the recession. Not management's fault for not seeing the recession coming, not the Union's fault for getting too good a deal, just tough times.

Falling revenue has nothing to do with wages and benefits except that when income shrinks the company comes to the bargaining table with less to share and wage and benefit packages have to be reduced. The APWU contract included a two tiered wage structure...newly hired employees will never reach the pay rate of employees previously on the rolls.

The Postal Service receives no federal funding and has historically been a cash cow for the government. Congress is currently considering returning OVERPAYMENTS of as much as 80 BILLION dollars that USPS has made to fund it's retirement system...

USPS employees cannot strike. Part of Postal Reorganization Act. NO STRIKE. There abslolutely would have been strikes, but it's just not an option. Can't do it.
Instead there is mandatory binding arbitration of unresolved contract issues. Neither side really likes putting their fate in the hands of an administrative law judge. The ALJ renders an imposed agreement...neither side gets to say yes, they just get told what the rules will be. The above referenced No Layoff clause was imposed on the USPS by an arbitrator for example, something that they would probably never have agreed to. As frustrating for both sides as arbitration can be, though, it prevents strikes.

There are a number of reasons why Canadians are less satisfied with their mail service than Americans are, but strikes have got to be right at the top of the list. CanadaPost and the unions, but mostly the Canadian government, owe it to the postal customers of Canada to not let it come to this. The customers immediately suffer enormously, and the company and the employees suffer customer dissatisfaction, but the rules are set by the government through legislation. Canadians should really be mad at themselves for electing people who are too clueless to ensure the stability of a service as important as mail delivery.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Re: USPS on 06/25/2011 23:54:08 MDT Print View

Well said Steve

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: USPS on 06/25/2011 23:58:56 MDT Print View

they couldn't come up with an agreement for over 8 months. Our party in power wants to pass the legislation to put them back to work. the opposition party is needlessly holding it up in debate. So who are the clueless Canadians?

it was past last night so mail should resume on Monday or Tuesday. Public unions are for themselves, and will eventually bankrupt our countries. look at Europe and even our own countries and when expenses continue to rise when profits all for these government run companies at the expense of peoples pensions no one wins.

Stephen B Elder Jr
(selder) - M

Locale: Front range CO
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: USPS on 06/26/2011 01:00:59 MDT Print View

The clueless Canadians are the elected officials who do not write legislation to permanently PREVENT postal strikes in the first place. They are responsible to write legislation which ensures the economic stability of Canada, and postal strikes are disruptive of that stability. It just would take some COURAGE and DETERMINATION on their parts. You as a Canadian postal customer should not have to put up with strikes. As long as the law allows them they will take place. Binding arbitration really does work in public sector labor disputes.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: USPS on 06/26/2011 07:25:33 MDT Print View

"Public unions are for themselves, and will eventually bankrupt our countries. look at Europe..."

Unions aren't what's bankrupting countries.

Take Germany - they have strong unions and are doing much better economically. One thing is that rather than lay off people, they stay on part time and unemployment makes up some of the difference - people have more to spend which helps economy.

Take Canada - they have strong unions and they're doing much better economically.
They have strong financial regulations which prevented real estate bubble and bank collapse which is what ruined the U.S. economy.

Sure, the pendulum can swing too far over in the direction of unions, but here in the U.S. the pendulum has swung way over to the big companies and ultra-rich.

The Canada postal strike damages public opinion about unions and government. Hopefully they'll get back to work and you'll just lose a few days of mail.

Grzegorz Przeorski
(grzechu) - MLife

Locale: Ontario
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: USPS on 06/26/2011 08:06:29 MDT Print View

I have to say that you are the clueless Canadian and one of many who repeat some old myths. Canada Post Corporation has been highly profitable in the last 16 years and therefore has not been taxpayers' burden. To the contrary; it is a cash cow for the goverment otherwise would have been privatized long time ago. The numbers you provided are also wrong. It also quite taxing; job related injuries (in Ontario) are 4 time higher than average. Besides as far as I know they always hiring. Why don't you apply?

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: CPC on 06/26/2011 08:41:15 MDT Print View

Grzegorz,
Does the CPC have a lock on all mail and parcels, or does it have to compete with private enterprise, like FedEx and UPS?

Is there a lesson here that is ignored by the US, or are constraints are vastly different?

It is very interesting that the CPC can be profitable while the USPS is so much the opposite.

peter vacco
(fluff@inreach.com) - M

Locale: no. california
doug's right .. again on 06/26/2011 08:43:31 MDT Print View

"The USPS is broke for a pretty simple reason - delivering mail to every household for 42 cents per letter is unsustainable. They also have far too many post offices in remote places that will always lose money."

yes. the entire system is somewhat subsidized ... like the rest of nearly everything in north america.
case in point for the canadians. if you look at freight rates to ship some places like Kugluktuk, or Cambridge Bay, and these are places peter ships big heavy boxes to, you will see that the canadian post service charges about what, a buck something a POUND.
at $2 a pound it would still be TOO CHEAP. i know this because i checked real for-profit companys rates, and they were over the top costly.
the subsidy is necessary to keep up the lavish lifestyles that the canadians dream appropriate for northern communities. it's just another cost of the way "they" have decided to run the north.

i might add that the actual real living people of Canada Post have NEVER let me down. they have been to a man (mostly women) polite, efficient, helpful, in short, perfect in every canadian way. i can not say enough good things about canada post people.

are post office people paid too much ? possibly a bit, but it's a job i would not apply for. nothing like the overpayments we see in other sections of the gov't (yes, i know the usps a private company, but it operates under gov't charter). worse is that the organization is forced be law to employ losers, shirkers, racists, and the other assorted scum that unions invariably drag in their wake. because of this, good managers are not attracted, nor will they stay. the managers that stay, occasionally get shot, and that might not be so bad ...

there will be no solution. because most people are too weak to live in a republic.

anybody notice amtrak had a big wreck, then their switching logic system took a dump, then they had to move trains by hand ? then they called an "expert" from the other side of the country to fix their equipment. it all reads like a good book.

peter v.

Grzegorz Przeorski
(grzechu) - MLife

Locale: Ontario
Re: Re: CPC on 06/26/2011 18:33:48 MDT Print View

So far Canada Post has exclusive rights to deliver letters which is not very profitable segment. In all the other branches of this business it has to compete with UPS, DHL and others.

. ..
(dgowler)
unions on 06/26/2011 22:37:06 MDT Print View

"worse is that the organization is forced be law to employ losers, shirkers, racists, and the other assorted scum that unions invariably drag in their wake. because of this, good managers are not attracted, nor will they stay. the managers that stay, occasionally get shot, and that might not be so bad ..."

A sweeping generalization, but one that is sadly very accurate. My father was a manager of the edmonton parcel plant for 24 years. At the first, best opportunity he received he high tailed it out of there for the private sector 8 months short of a very comfortable canada post pension. Call it what you will, but that speaks volumes to the rampant inefficiencies and absurd union dominance that often ties the hands of management trying to do their job. The union protected a number of employees years back who were slitting open all the $5 cheques from grandma and cards they suspected to contain cash and pocketing it.

Unions played their necessary part decades ago and have simply become obsolete. They protect the lazy and inept, in some cases even felons. In Canada, in the year 2011 they are nothing more than bloated self sustaining slush funds for union officials. I didnt vote for Harper but I'm not opposed to any movement towards reducing or diminishing union power. Union supporters are the "clueless canadians"

Or maybe I'm just really upset because everything I bought from the BPL used gear sale still hasnt arrived. Its really been cramping my gear habit.