Our postal service
By Jenn Watt
Published July 12, 2016
Recent strife between Canada Post and its workers has brought to light how necessary traditional mail still is to many in this community and across the country.
The potential of a lockout, strike or other work disruption had many scared to put anything in the mail as the Crown corporation and the union, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, battled it out in negotiations.
It has been hard to keep up with what’s happening. On Friday, we thought a 30-day cooling off period had been reached. Then news came that the two sides couldn’t agree on binding arbitration and were no longer willing to cool off. And finally we hear that Canada Post has rescinded its lockout threat and negotiations continue.
The back-and-forth was closely watched by many in Haliburton County who still rely on so-called snail mail for business and personal reasons.
Despite the digital revolution and our reliance on email over letter mail, Canada Post is still doing relatively well.
According to the Canadian Press, revenues are up at the corporation with parcel services compensating for declining letter mail.
“Parcel volume grew by 9.7 per cent, or 16 million pieces, compared with 2014. Meanwhile, the volume of what Canada Post calls transaction mail fell by 6.1 per cent, or 239 million pieces last year,” a CP story in The Globe and Mail reads.
The same article says “nearly two out of three parcels that Canadians order online are delivered by the post office.”
As is reported in this week’s story, “Potential postal disruption worries local businesses,” (pg. 4), several local businesses rely on the smooth delivery of mail, creating considerable angst as the union and corporation work out their differences.
Patient News, for example, sends about two million pieces of mail a month – 10 per cent of that is through Canada Post. Newspapers are affected as well. The Echo, Minden Times and County Life all use Canada Post as part of our distribution network.
But while the negotiations have brought to light just how necessary our postal service is, it has also made people nervous, causing some to seek out alternatives.
At the chamber of commerce, staff is offering to assist businesses to set up methods of online payment.
Likewise, the municipality is letting people know that bills can be paid by phone, online or using a courier service.
Which is why it’s important that Canada Post and CUPW continue with their negotiations with as much co-operation as is possible.
A work stoppage, or even threats of an imminent work stoppage, not only put business and personal mail in limbo, but it hurts the postal service itself.