July 16, 2016

Memo to CUPW: It’s 2016! Labour lessons from a defunct 19th century soap factory

David MenziesMission Specialist
 

Until seven years ago, that plot of land in downtown Toronto where the Gardiner Expressway connects to the Don Valley Parkway was the sweetest-smelling piece of real estate in the city.

There was a soap-making factory there in a building dating back to 1890 and for a long time, the air surrounding the edifice smelled like fresh summer linen, but not anymore.

In 2008, the 160 workers went on a prolonged strike after a change of ownership had them worried their pensions and seniority would change despite being paid a very reasonable $26/hour.

In 2009 the company declared bankruptcy.

I thought of the now-defunct soap factory as the Canadian Union of Postal Workers consider a strike.

In the ’70s and ’80s, the union regularly held us hostage, winning higher salaries, more lucrative benefits and pensions. But in the past two decades e-mail has taken over and snail-mail’s been kicked to the curb.

All I get in my mailbox every day is junk. I suspect most Canadians won’t care if a postal strike comes.

Memo to CUPW: It’s 2016. You’re like those Toronto soap factory workers...

Comments
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commented 2016-07-16 23:40:24 -0400
I care if a postal strike comes, and so do countless small businesses who do business that depends on the daily mail. E-mail hasn’t “taken over” quite as much as you think.
commented 2016-07-16 22:29:07 -0400
I wonder, since they are all on the edge of losing their jobs, and are virtually unemployable in actual careers, if they will convert to Conservative supporters after the albatross finally goes belly up?

As we’ve learned from our American friends, if you are rendered obsolete by economic or societal changes, the solution is to put on a stupid hat, yell “Make America Great Again” a whole lot, and maybe go beat up some lefties if they try to get too complicated with their fancy book numbers and whatnot.
commented 2016-07-16 21:23:59 -0400
Don’t forget the defunct Union brewery in Edmonton that closed doors for the same reason as the Toronto unionized soap factory. Sadly, both are private sector and had the option to close. The postal “service” is public and Baby Doc wants their votes…no option to shut down.
commented 2016-07-16 20:18:55 -0400
oh no no more crap flyers, its all they deliver anymore, I usually just stuff them back into the box and make them deal with them.
commented 2016-07-16 19:03:59 -0400
CUPW is neo-Marxist and anti-Israel. Like the CBC, Canada Post should be delegated totally to the private sector to either float or sink.
commented 2016-07-16 18:16:22 -0400
WANDA ORION: “would cost $12 by Canada Post and $5 by a major courier company.” Who is this $5 courier company? Would love to know………….
commented 2016-07-16 16:58:21 -0400
I wonder how Cliff Claven is doing. Maybe CUPW should call in Cliff for some advice.
commented 2016-07-16 16:24:59 -0400
They should be offered a new contract at 10% less than they made before. Take it or leave it. Canadians simply can’t continue to support 50,000 archaic and unnecessary jobs.
commented 2016-07-16 14:22:29 -0400
I recall that soap factory strike. I think it was a Lever Brothers plant. It went on for well over a year and every time I drove by there I felt sort of badly for the picketers because it seemed like everyone except knew how this was going to end, except for them. Whenever a strike in a private sector business goes beyond a couple of months – the end is near. How it was that they were persuaded by their union leaders to stay out and stay out and stay out when the writing was on the wall, was beyond me. That this plant was likely to close, strike or no strike, should have been obvious to anybody. Rather than earning $26 per hour for a year and a half (or however long the strike lasted) and having some savings to fall back on when the closure happened, they drained their savings and had nothing left. The union leaders were seemingly oblivious to changes that occurred about 20 years earlier.

Similarly the union leaders at Canada Post seem oblivious to changes that are already upon us. The other day I found that a small package I needed to send to a neighbouring city would cost $12 by Canada Post and $5 by a major courier company. It wasn’t a tough call to make. And, as far as I know, the courier company’s employees are paid a decent wage, they have benefit plan and a pension plan. Of course, it’s not quite up to the Canada Post gold standard but it’s not bad.

The reasons for the union leaders’ bad calls are many. Some are just not that smart. Some still think the revolution is coming.
commented 2016-07-16 13:49:38 -0400
My mother was a postie, she did very well and had a great pension. It’s gotta crash some day.
commented 2016-07-16 13:06:10 -0400
Dave: ownership change and different fiscal difficulty filings are devices used routinely by unscrupulous owners to get out of paying benefits to long term employees – they have their loyalty returned with a 20 cents on the dollar settlement on their pension claims – seen it many times, if you haven’t perhaps you have no acquaintances in the manufacturing industry. But that is the private sector.

CUPW is a public sector marxist-lead union that holds an essential public service for ransom to their outrageous entitlement demands – never confuse these commie bolos with the organized skilled laborer who swims in the shark infested waters of private sector industry.
commented 2016-07-16 12:10:40 -0400
Says this video has been blocked on copy right grounds. WTF