Canada Post Strike – Lockout – Customers the Real Winners?

by Timothy on June 28, 2011

Interesting Observation

Since the Canada Post Strike / Lockout started awhile ago, I’ve received emails from different service providers – cell phone company, credit card bills, etc – suggesting that I switch to online billing and payments.

Nice :)

I appreciate companies finding ways to be more efficient and profitable, while still delivering on their promise of service.

Swtiching Away from Canada Post

Most of my bills already are online, but it got me thinking of how many people still receive paper copies in the mail… and are switching over to online billing in light of the postal interruption.

…and how the vast majority will never switch back.

Efficiency in Action

It’s a classic case of efficiency and innovation taking over.  And I can already hear the unions screaming about job losses and such.

If you think that increased efficiency should be avoided to keep jobs, then please kindly return your computer to the store, your car to the dealership, and all of your clothing to the retailers that sold them to you.

Customers and Companies now Leaner

In the short term, yes it’s inconvenient to not have mail service.

In the long term, it’s pushing more and more online, into automated systems.

That makes us more productive, efficient, and profitable.  Both as consumers and business owners.

And that is a very good thing.

Again – if you disagree with that – go ahead and return your iPhone to the store.

Entitlement = Rubs Me the Wrong Way

The part of this situation that rubs me the wrong way is the attitude of entitlement that I’m hearing from *some* people on both sides of the labour debate.
Postal Workers aren’t entitled to jobs.
Canada Post isn’t entitled to market demand for what they do.
Both sides depend on customers choosing to spend money on them.

“Robbing” Jobs

Every industry imaginable has had the same dispute of technology and efficiency “robbing” people of jobs.

Yet the same people that make this complaint are complaining about it on Facebook using a computer, complaining over their iPhone to their friends… I’m sure you see the irony I’m pointing out here.

“Owning” Jobs

You don’t own your job.  So no one can rob you of it.

It’s a deal – an agreement – between you and your employer.

You show up and achieve specific objectives, and they pay you money for those results.

Ending the Agreement

If you decide that you don’t want to do that deal anymore – because you get a better offer elsewhere, you move to a different city, or any other reason – then you quit.

If the company decides that they don’t want to do the deal with you anymore – because of changing market forces, your skills are no longer relevant, or any other reason – then you get bought out, downsized, offered severance, whatever.

At no point, though, do you get “robbed” of your job.

That’s not possible – it wasn’t ever yours to be robbed of.

Is Canada Post right?  Is the Union Right?

I don’t know.  I’m not that well-informed on the bargaining process between the two sides.

Ultimately, this article isn’t about that anyways.

Decreasing Postal Demand

This article is about seeing how this situation is inspiring efficiency, profitability, productivity by using modern online tools.

Ultimately both sides are shooting themselves in the foot.

Thousands of people are switching to online billing.  This reduces overall need for postal “snail-mail”.

That means less revenue for Canada Post, and thus less postal workers needed to process and deliver the reduced mail volume.

While there will always be a need for a CEO, there may not be a need for all of the mailmen and women.  So it seems that those workers that are most front-line would be most likely to be “lost”.

And therefore it would seem that they would be most incentivized to find a solution…. and fast.  Keep that in mind ladies and gentlemen.

Best of Luck to Both Sides

I hope they can find a solution that both sides feel good about.

If they don’t… it’s looking like the government will step in and impose their own creation.

Ideal Outcome?

How’s that for an outcome?

During the interruption your industry has becoming less relevant, less in-demand… AND you get a government-created solution imposed on you.

Yikes.

Best of luck to all sides of the Canada Post situation.

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