It’s official: the Canadian Union of Postal Workers has given their strike notice. The rest of the country is left wondering how this will impact postal delivery, especially in light of the recent marijuana legalization—and the upcoming holiday season, when parcel deliveries increase drastically across the country.
Stronger Than Ever
With more and more Canadians shopping online for themselves and purchasing gifts for distant relatives, Canada Post employees are working harder than ever before. Last year the company saw an increase of 20% in deliveries during the Christmas season from the previous year.
While there have been whispers of an impending strike for some time, no one has really been certain when the strike would occur. However, strikers have proclaimed Monday, October 22 as the kickoff date unless agreements can be made before then.
Why is it Happening?
The union, which represents 50,000 employees of Canada Post nationwide, hopes to resolve issues with Urban Postal Operations and Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers that will improve job security for employees, enforce stricter health and safety measures, and eliminate forced overtime.
Should strike action move forward, Canadians should expect delays. As the largest package shipping company in the nation with somewhere in the region of one million parcel deliveries during the 2017 holiday season, the union recognizes the value and importance of Canada Post’s services. Strikes will occur in a rotation.
Impact on Canadians
There is high demand for legal cannabis and in Ontario, the most populous province, residents will rely solely on Canada Post to deliver their purchases from Ontario Cannabis Store, which promises deliveries within one to three days by Canada Post workers.
According to Meghan Whitfield, the Toronto chapter president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, changes should be expected. “As the rotating strike intensifies, it will change,” she says, referring to the guaranteed delivery times. It seems plausible that for other expedited parcel deliveries, wait times could be similarly impacted and many Canadians should expect to receive their packages a little later than promised.
Hope for the Future
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers wants the public to understand how meaningful the rotating strike is. They did not reach this decision lightly. They are concerned with the impact of forced overtime and lowered health and safety standards on their predominantly female employees who deliver mail in rural and suburban regions.
They are simply using their legal right to express dissatisfaction with their working conditions and “want Canada Post to know how serious [they] are,” says Halifax union president Mike Keefe, who works as a postal retail clerk in the Nova Scotia capital.