Hanging in with hope for settlement in the postal labour-management negotations
Magazine publishers large and small have every reason to feel nervous about the 11th hour negotiations between Canada Post Corporation and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). Next Wednesday (May 25) is the day on which either CPC will lock out its employees or CUPW will go on strike; either way, distribution of subscription copies and vital direct mail campaign materials will be disrupted for the first time since 1997.
Magazines Canada president Mark Jamison says
"Magazines Canada is communicating directly with federal officials expressing concern about the prospects of a postal interruption and encouraging the Government of Canada to assist the parties find solutions in the context of the fragile economic environment Canadians are grappling with."
Ultimately, it will do no good to issue jeremiads and, unfortunately, there are few options open to publishers, particularly small ones. Alternative delivery methods are not only complicated, but generally too expensive and the newsstand cannot replace home delivery. The proportion of magazines delivering to a significant proportion of their audience digitally is still small, though a disruption may encourage more publishers to press forward with digital offers to their readers.There is still time for a reasonable settlement (as there have been more than once in recent years) and the careful public demeanour of both sides gives some hope for such a deal, albeit likely right at the deadline. That's of little comfort to a publisher about to put his/her latest issue into the mail stream or poised to send out a vital direct mail subscription offer