I was 16 and became close to a pen pal (if you are over 50, remember those?) living on the Prairies. We wrote often and after mailing my letter to her I would start looking in my mailbox for her reply. Then the unthinkable to a teenager happened. Our correspondence came to a halt. We didn’t fight and neither of us had stopped writing.
But the Canadian postal service had stopped. No mail delivery because the union and its workers were on strike.
I had never heard of or experienced strikes before. But I learned fast that strikes between employees and management aren’t just between them. There is a third party, an innocent pary maybe you could call them victims – they are called “general public”.
It was my rude welcome to the club. From then on I never was in favour of strikes as a means to settle labour disputes – no matter which side was at fault (and I learned that most of the time there was fault on both sides.)
But not on the third party’s – general public – side.
Yes, I once worked for a government agency and belonged to a union. We weren’t allowed to go on strike because we were considered essential services. But we all got very good raises in pay at contract negotiation time.
Now the federal government has finally passed legislation ordering these postal strikers back to work. And their union leader Mike Palecek has the nerve to stick his face in front of a camera and complain that it is not right. Excuse me, but just obey the law. Your strike may have been legal up to now, but now it is time to sort and deliver the mail backlog.
And maybe Mr. Palecek should turn his attention to the real worker problem – not a strike, but a company closure. I’m referring to General Motors closing all of its Oshawa, Ontario, Canada plant by the end of 2019. It will put over 2500 out of work, just from General Motors alone. It will also affect where they took their business – shops, restaurants.
And all these are people. It breaks my heart when something like this happens. This is not disgruntled greedy workers striking for more money and perhaps what they want in working condition improvements. This situation is no pay, no job. Some of these GM workers have moved their families several times to follow where GM put them, where the jobs were. Now they have nothing, thanks to a parent company decision.
And finding out about this in the Christmas season makes it worse. Even Scrooge will be crying into his Christmas tree.
So Mr. Palecek – quit complaining, do your job, and let arbitration sort it out. You will have enough to do to sort out the mail – despite online shopping (or maybe because of it) there is still lots of mail waiting to be processed.
And when you do this, you might also like to pay attention to the GM workers situation. And count your blessings.
Only Child Writes