EDITORIAL: Not much sympathy for unionized postal workers

Postal workers can complain all they want about a tough contract stance from management.
They can rage about the federal government introducing back-to-work legislation.

Postal workers can complain all they want about a tough contract stance from management.

They can rage about the federal government introducing back-to-work legislation.

What they cannot do is reasonably expect much sympathy from many of their fellow Canadian workers.

Yes, the Harper government is no fan of unions, but public-sector (taxpayer-funded) government employees have enjoyed for many years higher wages and better benefits than similar workers in the private sector have.

The disparity between the two groups has grown in recent years as bumpy economic conditions, increased competition from lower-paid workers in other countries and heightened corporate desire for profits has eroded private-sector wages and benefits.

People working for private companies have endured wage freezes and/or rollbacks, layoffs and the erosion of benefits.

It’s worth noting that, while only 25 per cent of private-sector workers have workplace pension plans, 80 per cent of their public-sector counterparts do.

The galling thing for Canadians who do not belong to a government union is that their tax dollars are used to give public-sector union members higher wages and better benefits than they have.

The postal unions were one of the most aggressive decades ago in better economic times at carving out high wages and benefits.

These days, CUPW and other federal government unions can expect no sympathy from the public or the Conservatives for the next several years of its majority government.

The union can reasonably denounce the section of the proposed legislation that included less pay than Canada Post offered in negotiations with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

While the Harper government is at least taking such a bold step during a contract negotiation period — unlike the B.C. liberals several years ago — getting so directly involved in a contract dispute is heavy-handed.

Expect more of the same, though. The pushback has begun.

editor@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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