Thursday, July 19, 2012

Postal workers' union research says economic impact of strike & lockout was overblown

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has published a research paper that says the June 2011 strike and lock-out did not have the catastrophic negative effect on the economy that was claimed by critics and the government at the time. It says that the cost to Canada Post was only about $58 million. The paper was presented this spring to an international conference; the Rutgers University Conference on Postal and Delivery Economics in Brighton, United Kingdom. A release on the CUPW website says:
'Last June, the Harper government argued it had to legislate CUPW members back-to-work to protect the economy,' said CUPW National President Denis Lemelin.  'But our paper reveals that the impact of the postal disruption on the economy was negligible, as measured by bankruptcy and employment data.'
"Not only that, the labour disruption only cost Canada Post about $58 million, not 'hundreds of millions' as claimed by Canada Post President Deepak Chopra,' said Lemelin.
The paper also shows that while some businesses were negatively affected, there is no evidence the rotating strikes threatened their viability. It shows charities, non-profit organizations, seniors groups, and rural and remote organizations experienced some temporary negative impacts.
'The paper demonstrates that postal back-to-work legislation, which was passed one year ago today, was not enacted for economic reasons, ' said Lemelin. 'It was enacted because our government has it out for workers.'
The whole research paper can be downloaded here as a pdf.
A large number of businesses and organizations across the country, including not-for-profits, seniors groups and charities, were surveyed as part of the research. Among the business organizations polled were the Canadian Marketing Association, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the National Association of Major Mail Users and Magazines Canada. The study paraphrased president Mark Jamison's June 15 2011 letter to Labour Minister Lisa Raitt emphasizing the importance of postal delivery to Canadian-content magazines. The CUPW researchers requested an estimate of the number of workforce reductions that may have occurred as a result of the disruption, but says it did not receive a response.

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