Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Rotten Post

It's been a little while since I have been able to sit down, research, and post anything other than, "So, prostitution, eh?" but I am a little rusty so I figured I'd pick an easy one to knock out.

The Canada post strike.
A lot of people are annoyed, there's a lot of literature flying around about whether they are selfish or not, how this affects businesses, and what should be done about it. The main problem, as reported by the striking workers, is that the company is turning a profit, but is extracting the cost of recent upgrades from worker's pensions, which is not only stupid, but should be illegal. However, considering the nature of CP's pensions, the likelihood that the pension shortfall will need to be supported by the taxpayer is very high - the sheer size restricts risky investment, and so it is reduced to lower-paying safer alternatives.

The other major argument concerns safety. Some of the new procedures that are being enacted, tested in Winnipeg, have reportedly shown to increase injuries by 50%. The physical demands from the job, far from the sardonic allegations of "walking injuries", can including slips, falls, strains, breaks, and just general wear from time and  work. New hazards are being presented by the company's expectation that the workers will walk and read, to save time, and the workers themselves are, of course, hurrying to finish early. which adds more hazard.

The chief complaints against Canada post revolve around the speed issue - people compare mail and e-mail unfavorably, and grip that delivery takes too long. Despite claims, overall mail delivery is not dropping, only letter mail, while deliveries are increasing, as well as the number of addresses being shipped to, placing more speed restraints on the workers.

Considered as a whole world problem I think the best solution is obvious: either charge more for or eliminate fliers and junk mail. Tying in the environmental concerns, the preponderance of wasted paper, the time, effort and aggravation that come from this odious plague, if we eliminated this scourge the Canada Post would be free to shift it's focus to the 'higher priority' addressed mail, speed up delivery times, possibly even working on the weekends (hey, if armored cars do it, so can they) and reduce injuries through weight issues. This would put Canada post on par with the more streamlined private services, and raise them to a more competitive position. If they really feel they cannot eliminate that source of revenue, they can either raise the prices high enough that only a few companies want to wholesale advertise anymore, or simply 'sublet' the whole business to a lower-skill, lower-wage paper-boy sort of company. Pensions would be less important and it would be another avenue for people just entering the workforce.

Canada post is not going away any time soon, but with some tweaks it could become genuinely competititve.

The title is a quote from Nicholas Culpeper "For God's sake build not your faith upon Tradition, 'tis as rotten as a rotten Post."

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