06.28.2011 05:51 AM

In today’s Sun: postal strike winners, losers

“Brian Topp says the NDP won by being “muscular” and standing up to the Tories. In reality, the Dippers lost – big time. Shortly after the May 2 election, the New Dems were in a hurry to convince the rest of us they were moving towards the centre. They talked about ditching socialism, and reaching out to unhappy Liberal voters.

But then along came the postal labour dispute. With their obstructionism in the House of Commons, the NDP lurched left, and gave us every reason to believe they still favour union power over people power. The New Democrats may remain popular in Quebec – but I guarantee their one-sided filibuster tactics did them no favours in the rest of Canada.”


  1. Rick T. says:

    The only thing they accomplished was costing the Canadian Tax Payers a hugh amount of taxes. Thank you, you Socialists Bastards for again showing us your ture intentions.

  2. Steve V says:

    “Brian Topp says the NDP won by being ?muscular? and standing up to the Tories. In reality, the Dippers lost ? big time. Shortly after the May 2 election, the New Dems were in a hurry to convince the rest of us they were moving towards the centre. They talked about ditching socialism, and reaching out to unhappy Liberal voters.

    But then along came the postal labour dispute. With their obstructionism in the House of Commons, the NDP lurched left, and gave us every reason to believe they still favour union power over people power. The New Democrats may remain popular in Quebec ? but I guarantee their one-sided filibuster tactics did them no favours in the rest of Canada.”

    A lot of people are saying the Libs lost, the NDP won big with their grandstanding tactics. Couldn’t agree more, the NDP solidified themselves as in the pocket of labour, even taking direct advice from the union. Given public sentiment, how this helps the NDP expand beyond their base completely escapes me. In fact, it comes on the heels of a internal debate over being so closely tied to unions, so their own people recognize a potential handicap. I don’t disagree with the NDP position, but it wasn’t a popular one and they most certainly didn’t win any points, nor were the Libs the big losers. The Cons win because the public wants their mail, the Libs didn’t get cornered either way, the NDP went way left and took the fringe position.

    • bigcitylib says:

      Libs still lost, or maybe didn’t even show up. Specifics of the cause aside, I’d like to see a bit of passion out of the oppo parties. Bob Rae looked/sounded like he needed a nap.

  3. Pete says:

    One columnist says the Libs mailed it in on the postal strike. I think staying low key on an issue that favored the government will actually help the party.

    Jack can never let up on his support for organized labor. It will possibly continue to get him votes in Quebec although I even dount they were in favor of his actions. The ROC will definitely notice his continued left leaning approach and that should eventually help the Libs.

  4. Mike says:

    I’m a union member, get that out there right away, and I can’t see how the actions of the government were fair.
    They “own” Canada Post. They participate in bargaining, through their control of Canada Post, and there is labour action in an attempt to get a better deal. The workers are locked out, to me a key point since they are not on strike, the government steps in and imposes a contract less than the original offer.
    Shouldn’t everyone have stood up against this?

    • Pedro says:

      Mike, has there ever been back-to-work legislation in the past that set a wage rate below the management offer? Does the current legislation set the wage rate or does it provide for binding arbitration? Does the legislation instruct the arbitrator to set a lower wage rate? Is the lower wage rate an interim rate until the arbitrator rules? I’m really not sure since I can’t find this information in the media reports.
      A full and truthful reporting of the actual terms set out in the legislation is what I am looking for.
      What actually happens after the arbitrator makes their ruling?

      • Pedro: “Mike, has there ever been back-to-work legislation in the past that set a wage rate below the management offer?”

        Yes. Around 1989 or so the TBS offer to PSAC and PIPS was 0-3-3 and that offer was rejected and a strike was the result. The Mulroney gov’ts back-to-work legislation set the wage at 0-0-0. They followed that up three years later with another 0-0-0. and then the Liberals extended it again to 0-0. Plenty of precedent there.

      • Mike says:

        My understanding of the legislation is imposed arbitration- arbitrator must pick between the two final offers. But the legislation also declared the management final offer which was less than their previous offer. I did some research after my original post. Perhaps the arbitrator will side with the workers.

        • DL says:

          “Perhaps the arbitrator will side with the workers.”

          The chances of that are ZERO. You can be sure that Raitt will appoint an arbitrator who is some failed Tory candidate and instruct that person to find in favour of management in exchange for a seat in the Senate.

    • JH says:

      Libs did the same thing in ’97’ according to press reports and NDP at that time supported them in passing the legislation. Go figure.

  5. catherine says:

    If anyone was a winner I think it was the Conservatives. The NDP’s tactics brought a bit more attention to an issue that the majority of the public either don’t think is that important or think the postal workers are reasonably compensated and treated relative to many others. I suspect the CPC is quite pleased with the NDP’s tactics on this. Polarization is good for Harper because he benefits from any polarization too and still captures a hefty segment of the “steady government” crowd that will elude the NDP for the forseeable future.

    • Cath says:

      good points although I also believe that the public is losing patience with union PR these days that didn’t bode well for old tactics or complaints that might have captured the attention and sympathy of Canadians once upon a time. At the end of the day no job is forever and there are no guarantees for anything anymore.

      Real winners in all of this are the champions of choice because now that alternatives are available through new technology etc. the paying and buying public, and small business have a choice on how they manage their affairs and their correspondence. mm

  6. George in Richmond BC (the other Geoge) says:

    It was a plus for the Cons, a minus for the Dippers and a neutral for the Liberals.

    This, however, is not the big issue with Canadians. Nor will it be over the next four years. The real issue is the economy. This is where the Liberals can claim their turf as the Cons have shown historical mis-management and the Dippers have shown to lack acumen at best, and cluelessness at worst.

    The tea-leaves are pointing to a worsening of the economy in Canada and the world in general. The Liberal Party can leverage and mock the Cons favourite phrase that Steven Harper is a trained economist. As the economy continues to founder, the Liberals should run ads (using Harper’s “framing” technique) that tag Harper. Basically: “Steven Harper is SUPPOSED to be a trained economist”. “I thought PM Harper was a trained economist?” The Liberal Party then indicates that “Once again, just like we had to do after the mess that Mulroney left, the Liberal Party has to fix the financial mess”

    The Dippers can make no claim like that and the issues of four years from now are not going to be union busting, nor are they going to be anything to do with CO2 emissions. They are going to be those of jobs, pensions, and healthcare.

    So, I say fine on the NDP. Go ahead and tag yourself with the unions (and I am not anti-union myself), however, it won’t get you any more votes than you already got.

    I say fine on the Liberals for keeping the powder dry. It is early in the game.

    • Pedro says:

      Unless all of what you predict doesn’t happen.
      Good luck anyways.
      Dry powder was important a hundred years ago.
      I say fine if Liberals want to be in charge of dry powder.
      That way you’re not in charge of important stuff.

  7. Mike says:

    How do you link the actions of the government with public opinion evidence for deregulation and liberation from unions? I might as easily say it provides evidence Harper is starting to act in contempt of the public. Are you assuming your opinion is shared by some vast silent majority represented by the guys at the coffee shop you frequent?
    In what sort of employ are you Mr. Tulk? Do you have benefits? A pension? A 40 hour work week? Those are all gains the union movement made.

    • JStanton says:

      … evidently gord lives in a hallucinatory world, populated by himself, his clones, and Mr. Harper, where working families continually conspire to rob national corporations of their profits, forcing management to somehow survive on mere seven-figure bonuses.

      But gord, along with his super hero Mr. Fifties, is going to liberate shop floors and workplaces across the land, by banishing collective bargaining, and by shipping jobs offshore.

      Yay Canada, where jobs are scarce and people have to work for next-to-nothing or starve, thereby ensuring the wealthy can more conveniently exploit everyone else!


      • JStanton says:

        … you have no facts to bring to the argument gord, just opinions based on something heard from someone else, long discredited.

        Show me published articles in refereed journals that prove non-unionized workers in North Carolina are the best paid and most productive. You can’t gord, because it’s just a story told by embittered people who can’t bear the thought that others, through collective bargaining, are protected from the unilateral and arbitrary machinations of corporate sociopaths.

        Everyone is “opposed to Big govt, Big Business and Big labour “, gord, except the Mr. Harper and his acolytes. The bigger problem though, is that they are against working families, and that is unforgivable.


    • Africon says:

      In 1830 Richard Oastler met John Wood, a worsted manufacturer from Bradford who agonised over the need to employ children in his factory. Already an abolitionist, Oastler, after a lengthy meeting with Wood, decided to join the struggle for factory legislation, and wrote a letter on the subject of “Yorkshire Slavery” to the Leeds Mercury newspaper.

      “It is the pride of Britain that a slave cannot exist on her soil. … Let truth speak out, appalling as the statement may appear. The fact is true. Thousands of our fellow-creatures and fellow-subjects, both male and female, the miserable inhabitants of a Yorkshire town, (Yorkshire now represented in Parliament by the giant of anti-slavery principles) are this very moment existing in a state of slavery, more horrid than are the victims of that hellish system ‘colonial’ slavery.” “[1]

      From this time forward, Oastler dedicated himself to the battle of what was now known as the 10-Hour Movement, and to campaigning for Poor Law reform.

      This all took place long before the Trade Union Movement appeared and was led by men of conscience from all walks of life.
      Believe it or not there are good men as well as cruds that own businesses or work for someone.
      Problem with today’s UK, based labor movement ( unlike the German model ) is that they do not appear to see any value in helping a business become more productive, profitable or to grow.
      CUPW’s recent action did nothing to help Canada Post to do any of the above and have simply caused a huge and permanent loss of customers.
      So much for looking out for the “workers”.

    • E. Lindsay says:

      Closed Shops have no place in a free country. Especially for teachers.

    • JStanton says:

      … no it’s not, and nor is there “very broad support for it”. You just make shit up gord.

      All that this sorry state of affairs shows is that Mr. Fifties knows what buttons to keep pushing, so that his acolytes keep a slow burn of hate going for any other workers that may have acheived a more stable employment environment.

      It’s the oldest trick in the book gord – (which you would know if you read anything outside of your comfort zone) – keep working people fighting amongst themselves, lest they join with a common cause.


      • Philip says:

        Gord is against ad homin attacks, unless they are the one’s that he makes against President Obama, PET and/or Ignatieff. It is the usual Conservative double standard, nothing really new at all.
        The amount of hate directed at unions by Conservatives is really impressive. And another example of their famous double standard.
        Businessmen may join local associations, to co-operate and pursue common goals. Oil/gas producers have an organization which looks after their interests. Corporations join with others in their industries to form associations, hire lobbists and advance agendas. But let some poor fucker in dirty jeans and work boots get together with his fellow workers and have the unmitigated gall to form an association and look after their own interests, the world ends. Conservatives are absolutely fine when the suit and tie mob get together but hate working class unions worse than sin. Yet another example of their famous double standard.

      • Philip says:

        I would be a lot more convinced of your commitment to democracy, Gord, if it was so darned inconsistent.

        For a workplace to organize, there has to be a vote, by secret ballot on whether or not the workers actually do want to organize. Votes by secret ballot are pretty democratic, last time I checked, say on May 2nd. If a workplace wants to de-certify their union, for any reason, again a vote is held through secret ballot about whether or to to proceed. As for people being “forced” to join an existing union when they are new hires, well if they didn’t want to join a union shop why did the apply at one? New hires are informed up front at the interview and most if not all would know prior to applying for the position in the first place. At that point it becomes a personal decision whether or not they want to work there. The freedom to make personal life choices is still a conservative value right? Or has that disappeared too?

        Gord , is there ever going to be a time when you don’t place the word “black” in front of the words: “President Obama”?

      • Philip says:

        Actually, a worker may refuse to pay union dues in a unionized workplace. He/she simply writes a letter stating a refusal to pay union dues. A copy is sent to the union and a copy to the payroll department. The fees are then donated to a charity of the worker’s choice, for which they receive a portion of that money back at tax time. The trade off is that the worker is no longer entitled to union representation or the grievance procedure, which would be the point of whole exercise. They are able to vote on contracts, serve on health and safety committees, etc.

        Here is where we are so far. A workplace may choose to organize via a secret ballot, just like an election. A workplace may choose to de-certify from the union, through another secret ballot. A person can also simply choose not to apply for a job in a union workplace, which is all about personal “liberty”. If at any time a worker chooses not to support a union, through payment of dues, they are free to do so and receive a portion of that money back.

        If you don’t want to pay union dues, then don’t apply for work at a union shop. That way you can take comfort in the courage of your personal convictions. I’m still not sure exactly how this is undemocratic or unfair. Joining a unionized workplace and then pissing and moaning about how unfair it all is strikes me as particularly ungracious.

        I’m not against a third party in a workplace, whether it be a union in some cases, or the federal and provincial governments in every case. I don’t think an employer should have unfettered 100% control in setting hours of work, workplace safety standards and governing relations between themselves and their workforce. Sounds like common sense to me.

      • Mandos says:

        As is a health care monopsony—but it’s really clear that our well-being is tied to placing limits (either by price controls as in European two-tier systems or by single-payer) on that kind of “liberty”.

        Which is exactly the ground on which this matter should be discussed: our moral priorities and how we choose to define liberty. Excessive concentrations of wealth, and therefore power, are firmly anti-liberty. Closed shops are a small price to pay for that, because those of us not in the Club—including you—need to be defended by collective measures against the power of those in the club of extreme wealth.

  8. DL says:

    First of all, the headline is false. This was not a strike, it was a LOCK-OUT.
    Second of all, there are millions of Canadians who are either members of unions or who have household members who are members of unions. The conventional wisdom is that the public will always side with management/rightwing governments against unions. If that is the case why do you think that union bashing governors in states like Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey etc… are in free fall and facing recall campaigns? – and that’s in the US where unions represent a far smaller proportion of the population than in Canada and where the political culture is wayyy more rightwing than here. In fact the lesson from the US is that when Democrats stop being mealy-mouthed and vacillating and actually stand up for working people – they GAIN popularity and it also helps amplify and communicate the case for why labour rights need to be protected.
    In the end, mail will start being delivered again today – about one day (if at all) later than if there had been no filibuster at all. People who are anti-union fanatics were never going to vote NDP in the first place. But this is a great way for the NDP show its own base that they are being represented and that will pay dividends. To give you an example, I saw that Pierre-Luc Dussault the 19 year old elected in Sherbrooke had a group of 70 postal workers come to his constituency office to than him for taking part in the filibuster. Dussault probably had half a dozen people working on his campaign and before May 2 you could probably have counted the number of NDP members in Sherbrooke on one hand. I’m sure he took down the names and contact info of those 70-off grateful postal workers and they will be encouraged to join the NDP in Sherbrooke and form the nucleus of his re-election campaign there in 2015 – and this pattern will be repeated in many other ridings.

    • The Doctor says:

      If you think that the NDP is going to cruise into 24 Sussex on a wave of pro-union sentiment, you are delusional.

    • Mandos says:

      And so surprise that wage and income disparities are now enormous and growing.

      • Mandos says:

        The social power of the very wealthy to control our fates has grown massively, and the conditions that required them to provide for the rest of us—you included, you are not a member of the Club if you feel the desire to post here—are gradually slipping away. The social welfare state was only created despite their true and explicit desires, and then only because they feared Communism. With the erosion of the left through the purchasing of politicians, campaigns, media, we are going to start seeing this dissipate. And with the deliberate inattention to growing environmental crises, it’s going to be really apparent who is protecting what.

        Wealth is relative. A futuristic poverty is still poverty. No matter how rich in material consumption they are, the poorest in relative terms are still subject to violence and disease of one form or another. They are vulnerable to the more powerful, who wield the sceptre of life and death upon them. Equality matters.

      • MCBellecourt says:

        How does one explain the growing number of homeless people, many of whom are WORKING??? Or do Cons only feel good when more of their fellow citizens are living in misery?

        Greed trumps all, don’t it? Why is it that wherever a Con government and their supporters there is a wave of destruction and hopelessness in their wake? What the hell is wrong with people that they can’t bear the thought of everyone having their besic needs met in a rich country like this?

        Explain that, Gord!

      • Mandos says:

        I already did: the ability to buy media, education, politicians. Florida State basically sold their econ dept to the Kochs. Those people will know even more the economists already do the side on which their bread is buttered. Stephen Harper himself is a product of that very wingnut welfare system, a living exemplar of Randroid-coloured astroturf.

        There is nothing unsustainable in defined-benefit pensions, commitments to the old, and so on. It merely requires a commitment by the fortunate among the current working generation (and it is mostly fortune/providence) to support the previous working generation, who may have become disabled etc running society when the current generation were children. What has happened is that the commitment has been eroded, and the financial system was one of the instruments used to erode it.

      • Mandos says:

        It’s my turn: I would like a cite as to the quality of life for the homeless. They are still subject to violence, abuse, danger (incl. from police) which are always the worst parts of homelessness.

      • Mandos says:

        You are shockingly ignorant about the vulnerabilities that many people face even if they own a cell phone. Even if they lived twice as long as their medieval counterparts their life expectancy is shorter compared to yours and mine, which would have likewise been shorter then too. The disparity is an injustice; wealth is relative.

  9. dave says:

    At the 3rd reading a spokesperson from each party stood up to say something. For the Libs, David McGuinty stood up and pushed the Lib position that the Conservatives were one extreme and the NDP the other extreme, with the Libs being the reasonable middle of the road party.
    However, McGuinty said that the language from the NDP was what a person would hear in a union hall. He meant ‘union hall language’ as a pejorative. It summarized, for me, the attitude, not only of Conservatives, but a whole whack of Liberals as well, toward working people.
    They want the working people to be there doing what they are told, taking what they are given, and staying relatively invisible.

    • The Doctor says:

      Earth to Dave: the overwhelming majority of “working people” in Canada aren’t union members. And lots of them would never want to be. Just sayin’.

      • Africon says:

        I love that phrase “working people”.
        Yup, that’s the first thing that comes to mind when driving by unionized city “workers” all standing around a hole by the side of the road, yakking.

        The day when Unions favor “merit or results, based” pay is the day they will start to gain my respect.

        Management types and non-unionized employees… well they don’t really know what hard work is, do they ?

        • The Doctor says:

          Well, they’re not really workers. Just ask them.

        • dave says:

          Doctor and Africon

          Thanks for making my case about the disdain with which you view working people.

          • The Doctor says:

            So dave, who are “working people”? Everyone who has a job, or just those who belong to a union?

            Personally, I think every labour dispute should be analyzed on its own merits and in its own particular context. Some people, on the other hand, seem to think that in every labour dispute one MUST side with the union, regardless of the merits of their position. those people, in my view, are mindless partisan buttheads. Others think you MUST side with management, regardless of the merits of their position. Those people, in my view, are also mindless partisan buttheads.

            Anyway dave, what I dislike about your post is the implication that if one critically takes issue with any union’s position in any labour dispute, one is ipso facto “against the workers”. That is so riddled with logical holes, I’m not even going to bother going into them all.

          • Africon says:

            Read my Post again Dave, I disdain laziness and entitlement.
            A hard worker at at any job should have the right to work without being forced to pay Union Bosses to line their own pockets or push their pet political agendas.

      • dave says:

        Hey I notice that yr most recent reply to me has no ‘reply,’ both on your and on Africom’s most recent…I wanted to say that what I meant to imply was that McGuinty finds that what is said in a union hall, or a union meeting, is pretty grubby stuff, and not worthy of public discourse…and that he is reflecting what a lot of Conservatives and Liberals think of organized labour.
        Now that Africom has mentioned all the working people who are not organized, I speculate, that Conservatives and Liberals have even less regard for them.

        But, with no ‘reply’ button, I will never be able to offer up a reply.

    • E. Lindsay says:

      Or finding a spine and working in a free market job. Perhaps forming his/her own company.

      • dave says:

        Something I always found interesting the oil patch is how much of the work is done by independent ‘contractors.’
        Often it is a husband and wife team who are ‘the company.’ What this does is allows the major oil and gas corporations to use a contractor for a short stint only. That way, the corporation does not hire on that many workers in the field. The independents then absorb all the overhead,- and the corporation does not have a labour force to dela with. It’s great when, as for the past couple of decades, things have been going ok in the oil and gas patch.
        I understand that in some parts of Europe (Netherlands, Germany,…and coming to UK) the postal service is largely private, and it works somewhat similarly. Independent workers in their own dwellings receive, sort and distribute the mail, flyers and packages. From what I have read, the independents don’t know each other, so they don’t organize at all, and they receive minimal compensation.
        In retirement, I do that kind of contract piecework myself here in my humble cot.
        I suspect that this formula is being used by more and more larger corporations…it seems to me to be the basics of outsourcing jobs offshore.

        My old fashioned view is that the aim of capitalism(aka free enterprise – with its deity, Unseen Hand) is to convert common wealth into private wealth, and to accumulate that wealth into fewer and fewer hands, – this as well,offshore.
        A great success of the capitalist propaganda has been to make ‘social’ anything a dirty idea, and to sell the turning of public wealth into private pockets as a new idea.
        Any people not a part of the great capitalist experiment are regarded as a lower caste.

        As for spine, thanks for that: I will repeat, it is good to have Conservatives and Liberals being up front in their disdain for anyone doing the low caste jobs, – and being up front about what their own contribution is.

        Now, if only we can figure out a way to get them to vote for Liberals, without , you know, becoming like them.

  10. DL says:

    “The tea-leaves are pointing to a worsening of the economy in Canada and the world in general. The Liberal Party can leverage and mock the Cons favourite phrase that Steven Harper is a trained economist.”

    Yes, I can see it now, Liberal leader BOB RAE will lead the attack since he has soooo much credibility on the economy – and he is so perfectly suited to fighting a two front war. He can also point to the NDP and say “The NDP doesn’t know how to manage the economy…look what they did in Ontario!”…on second thought…

    • George in Richmond BC (the other Geoge) says:

      Ahem. Bob Rae is an interim leader.

      It is early in the game and that is why it is important to elect a leader of the Liberal Party who has either economic chops or who can put together a team with serious economic chops.

      What I am getting at is hanging the Canadian economy around Harper’s neck like the proverbial albatross. The NDP can go on and on about protecting Canadians. That is what they are good at. Cleaning up the mess that the Cons leave behind is what the Liberals are good at.

  11. DB Smith says:

    The NDP goes to bat for what can be considered as the most dispised Union in Canada and if one takes the CUPW leader at his word did so at the direction of the union and if the reports are true the strike / lockout has driven hundreds of thousands of customers to go online, (ING Direct, a bank that conducts its business by Internet or phone, had 350,000 customers switch to online banking in the past two weeks. At Shaw Communications Inc., a telecommunications company, about 70,000 people signed up for online billing in June) and Mr. Topp believes that the NDP won.

  12. Pat Heron says:

    Gosh, I hope this column isn’t the first sign that Warren is being turned by the bad guys at The Sun! Yes, Lisa Raitt handled the media very well. She is a nice change from Baird and the Bad Boys, but one could still feel Steve Harper’s breath at her back when she tabled the back to work legislation too early in the game. As well, Canada Post management must have felt pressure from above when they locked the posties out only a couple days into their work interruption. Canada Post’s action seemed to indicate that the posties were gaining public opinion support in the early days by carefully NOT interrupting the flow of mail significantly. They were making their point. As to which party won — the Dippers did primarily because they ensured that the debate/filibuster exposed all sides of the argument, something rare these days. If they keep that up, it’ll be good for Parliament, which will be good for Canada. By the way, I’m not a Dipper. Indeed, I’m a big Warren fan, hence the worry!

  13. Patrick Hamilton says:

    You and many in your party wont be happy until we’re all chained to the workbench,…..
    I have never seen a party that on so many issues, wants to take this country backwards…..Whats next on the agenda after youve crippled the unions, Mr Tulk?….

    • Africon says:

      You can always move to Greece, Patrick, I hear it’s a workers paradise. Big Pensions, early retirement, plenty of paid vacation and sick days, low or no taxes.
      By your reasoning the Socialist Government there has been taking that country “Forwards”.

      Or you could just go start your own Company and presumably become a filthy rich Capitalist – it’s really easy, I hear.

    • Mandos says:

      Yes: there is employer intimidation, divide-and-rule tactics, etc. There’s a large playbook for these things, huge consulting and legal firms devoted to preventing unionization, decertification, and so on.

  14. Siobhan says:

    Although I agree that this might have not been the best move for the NDP strategically, I think it’s unfair to say that this is going to be the end of them, after all – there’s another 4 years until the next election and I feel that Harpo will do no shortage of things to piss off the public. And think of all the things that’s he’s done wrong (G20, fake lakes, that contempt thing) in recent memory; yet enough people seemed to forget about that enough to give him a “majority”, so I don’t think the postal strike is enough to break Jack Layton; but perhaps he needs a better spin man/woman.

  15. HonestB says:

    While I doubt it convinced anyone who’s not an NDP supporter to side with them, I don’t see how it hurt them. People who are fundamentally anti-union aren’t actually possible NDP voters no matter how far they drift to the centre. And no one paying attention is silly enough to believe that the Tories were doing anything like standing up for taxpayers.

  16. Jeff Wells says:

    “- they still favour union power over people power.”

    Who are these people, and what power do they want, that the NDP was frustrating? The power to be not inconvenienced by a labour dispute? Well, they really ought to talk to Canada Post about that, for locking out the workers. The power to be under-informed about their own interests? The media’s doing a superb job on that, conveying the message that a few days without mail is more egregious than the demolition of working peoples’ expectations and the good faith of their government.

    The NDP spent political capital on this, and good on them for it. They stood on principle and showed Canadians what an Official Opposition could look like. I bet many who disagree on the principle find it a refreshing change.

    • JStanton says:

      … and that’s the way it should be. The Union IS the workers. In your world gord, everyone conspires against each other in a race to the lowest pay packet. Unionization prevents this return to a “state of nature”, and that’s why our society has prospered.

      Problem is that Conservatives can’t see past the most simple opportunity to profit. Stable, long term employment leads to long term stable economies. But Conservatives don’t go to business school, or do research. They just cut costs in whatever way is easiest, so that they can blow any corporate gains this quarter on bonusus to buy more toys for themselves.


      • dave says:

        I figure that one of the main causes of organizing a union in a work place is mismanagement, injustice, carelessness about the people working in that work place. You have decent management, especially management that has the confidence to work with the shop floor as partners, then unionization is unlikely.
        Also, on the floor, or in the field, when we work with others over time, we build up a loyalty to them. Often this loyalty is underestimated.
        Smart management makes use of it.
        (A stark, more public example of this loyalty can be seen with soldiers in the field, or in team sports)

        Mismanagement is really inefficient. To stop unionization, or any kind of organization, the management has to use intimidation, high turnover, spying, costly security, and more costly legal and political fees to cover for the mismanagement.

        In the 1980’s I came across a couple of American surveys. Managers were asked to rate their own priorities, and those of the people on the shop floor.
        Then the people on the shop floor were asked to rate their priorities.

        The manager’s top three priorities were salary, promotions and more time off.
        The manager’s rated the shop floor workers as having the same priorities.
        But the shop floor people had decent treatment on the job, safety, and possibility of input as their priorities.

        In the 1960’s I worked on a shop floor where the management style was to get us to compete with each other.
        It worked, I knew any number of my fellow workers who cut corners, cheated, even destroyed stuff so as to ‘win’ the competition. (It is weird to me the number of people who think that competition is more efficient than is cooperation )

        By the way, in unions, I have received way more training, enjoyed far more input in my workplace, and, thru the union, had access to far better tools, than I ever did without a union, and without a strong union.
        As well, most unions are about as democratic as any other organization I have ever been a part of. I lost a heck of lot more arguments and votes in union meetings than I ever won, but, I got to hear others, and they got to hear me, and I figure we all were the better for it. (Actually, I think that democracy in the work place scares the bejabbers out of many owners and managers. They feel safer with hierarchy)

      • Mandos says:

        “Any instance where a union gets in is almost always due to the failings of the employer management – as long as the vote is private and properly held.”

        But failing to do what? Bad managers have all kinds of tricks to prevent union organizers from having access to the workers, to holding these votes, and so on. There’s whole lot of intimidation. Unionization is stymied because management has a lot of power to prevent it while keeping conditions poor.

        For that reason, public restraints must be placed on the owners of capital.

  17. TDotRome says:

    I don’t think the NDP lost. But, they didn’t win on the grounds they say they did…….like being “muscular”. Flexing gets you nowhere, especially when you have no muscle.

    They’re win was showing that they were willing to put up a fight, even when they know they are going to lose. They type of stuff will resonate with the postal workers…..union or not.

    The CPC impinged on the freedom of a group of people to do what they wanted. They’ve been demonized because they are a union, which seems to allow certain people to ignore the fact that they are still Canadian citizens. The NDP took a stand that garnered lots of publicity.

    They have four years to the next election, and they need to build a conscience. Show the country their morals. Even if they are having a sloppy start. (They are new after all.)

    Being wishy-washy turns them into the Liberals of the past few years. They’d be smart to stay away from that.

  18. Mandos says:

    RTW states are states of massive inequality and deteriorating public services. The destruction of the labour movement in the USA has led to massively increasing wealth inequality and the subsequent financialization of the economy and the instability that accrues therefrom.

    I hope that the Greek public forces financial institutions to take a massive haircut on Greek debt. It is going to happen somewhere, and so it may as well happen there. The centre cannot hold etc etc.

    • The Doctor says:

      “I hope that the Greek public forces financial institutions to take a massive haircut on Greek debt.”

      Be careful what you wish for, Mandos. That’s essentially a bankruptcy scenario. You seem to be assuming that “the Greek public” are better off under a de facto bankruptcy scenario than under the current proposed austerity measures and restructuring. I’m not sure that that assumption is true.

      • Mandos says:

        Unfortunately, the failure of the rentier class to take the requisite haircut has created a permanent imbalance that will only be solved by crushing democracy in these countries or by catastrophic collapse. The failures of 2008 onward should have instigated a restructuring of economic (ie, class) relations, particularly a reining in of the uppermost classes. Any measure that forces the Greek public to take the haircut without shaving the investor class is merely prolonging this situation and will lead to a vicious cycle until the wound is healed.

        • The Doctor says:

          “a permanent imbalance that will only be solved by crushing democracy in these countries or by catastrophic collapse.”

          Jesus, talk about a false dichotomy.

          You also fail to mention that there is a relatively, or comparatively, wealthy “class” that is taking a haircut, and that’s the German taxpayer, via the bailout package. Presumably that should give you a mild egalitarian woody.

          Anyway, I’d be fascinated to hear you give details of this “restructuring of economic (ie, class) relations” that you speak of.

          • Mandos says:

            The German citizen should never have been pitted against the Greek citizen through bailouts.

            The problem was created by an incredible series of paper financial relationships established that should never have been permitted to occur. These bets were based on faulty independence assumptions and in many cases through outright fraud. The Greek situation is closely connected to the American situation. Because the holders of some of these exotic financial instruments were never forced to swallow their losses out of fear of a liquidity crisis, the Greek government must be bailed out by the German government. (We are leaving out the failure of the European Union to include a fiscal union along with its monetary union.)

            The social utility of banks is to set the correct level of currency liquidity in the economy. For providing this function, and to give them some skin in this game, the certain persons were permitted to profit or take losses from these transactions. These persons have evolved into an obnoxious rentier class centred in London and NY and other places and they were never punished. The correct response was to take away their toys. Ultimately, it turns out that the only way that this is going to happen is through a series of sovereign defaults—which are going to happen one way or another, because this rentier class has made no voluntary effort to change its behaviour.

          • Mandos says:

            As for the “false dichotomy,” the reforms are extremely unpopular in Greece. It’s not a stretch to say that PASOK was not elected to make these reforms. But they are making them anyway.

          • The Doctor says:

            Mandos, the problems in Greece have little if anything to do with speculation, or over-speculation, in financial derivatives. I agree that that played a significant role in the 2008 meltdown, though. But Greece’s current debt crisis is more prosaic and simple: their government spent and borrowed way more money than it raised through taxes and other revenue-raising mechanisms. A closely related issue is the extremely high rate of tax evasion which is engaged in by Greek citizens (this is well documented) and the corresponding huge size of black market economic activity in Greece.

          • Mandos says:

            But there was no reason for the system (however outside the norms of what the West largely considers to be acceptable) to have unravelled the way it did, so suddenly, nor for the situation to have been dragged out so. It was a system that worked until, for political reasons, Greece was forced to follow a low-inflation, growth-suppressing monetary policy by virtue of joining the Euro. But even with the Euro, even with the inefficacy of Greek tax collection, all of this could have been avoided.

    • Mandos says:

      Sure! US inequality by region available in a handy graphic from here. RTW laws available from here. Poverty map by region here. As these things go, not a bad level of correlation.

      Now here is the obvious causative link: RTW laws are a part of the race to the bottom and hurt places that attempt to maintain some level of social health, rather than self-cannibalism. The RTW states have been self-cannibalizing and keeping wages law by making it easier for employers to play class warfare games and the usual divide-and-conquer that only collective legal action can currently counteract. In doing so, they’ve sucked the life out of the finances of states with more economic humanity.

      • Mandos says:

        But states/countries that are already poor—-developing countries—-very often have high growth rates that don’t always translate into greater relative equality and relative collective health. You are grading US states on the same curve as countries that are still a lot poorer than the USA and have various economic systems. Soviet Russia had a huge burst in development too, and therefore we should adopt Communism; that is your logic. You are also neglecting one of the MAJOR reasons why the south was poorer: class structure due to the availability of cheap labour (slavery) enabled the ruling classes to avoid paying the non-slave public reasonable wages.

        Consider this table of state poverty rates over time here. The overall pattern is an increase in absolute poverty through the Bush administration. New York has registered a decline in poverty, but NC has registered an increase. Statistical signficance: hard to say without firing up OpenOffice Calc or R or something. But there is no evidence that RTW has a positive poverty-fighting effect, and the expansion of these laws have had coincided with an increase in the Gini coefficient.

        And THAT is a sign of the general economic vulnerability of the public, which is leads to no shortage of social malaises no matter how many iPhones people can afford.

  19. R says:

    We have to see it in different angle

    Nobody like strike even postal workers
    but how they can demand their some right back to them
    Do they have other option? I do not think so
    big never care about small or poor people that was law or system of capitalism
    gap between two levels of people made them scream or strike or made nuise or interuption to gain proift and this systems need to review to new modern way to do not let them cry for money but gave to them on time before they ask or force to strike

    All Canadian people share need to have post office back to work becaue we need them systme are too dependent to them still IN one hand people feel sorry for postal worker on other hand count the day thier mail back to them on time, so in postal businss is grow they may have right to get share of profit if government do not give their employee more profit then they must give some better service to people or cut price of their services in some occasion per year

    who ever won do they give damage for public who faces lost and damage because of this strikes

    If Canada post is kind of business for government and it is not free also ,
    If government gain profit do they give more profit to their employees every two years or close

    how about year that government lost Do people participate in gain and profit of government

    if government gain profit Can they add more service or reduce post stamps

    There is no loose or win here this is business and must be look at open minded

    big boss need to motive workers by pay them more money to create more job and better service otherwise private company can beat in competition with public government department

    Last this strike will give idea how to hanle other government department and prevent them to start strike and find better solution when small kid cry for milk from momy Don’t force kid that do not cry or do not complain just give dam milk to baby’s mouth

  20. Welby says:

    I totally disagree that Lisa Raitt is the winner in anything.

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