Canadian Postal Workers Launch Boycott
(This article first appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)
Postal workers in the United States and Canada face many of the same struggles – including the threat of privatization.
Mirroring the Stop Staples campaign, one Canadian local president launched a boycott of Shoppers Drug Mart, the country’s largest pharmacy chain. Much like the Postal Service’s deal with Staples, Canada Post has partnered with the drug store for retail transactions, opening 73 franchises across the country.
Gordie MacDonald, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Breton Local 117, is asking residents of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, to withdraw their prescriptions from the drug giant.
“They need to be reminded that they are a drug store, not a post office,” he said.
The drug store is opening faux post offices adjacent to actual post offices, in some cases even sharing the same parking lot.
“This is not to help the public service at all, but rather to eliminate the post offices we have in our communities,” MacDonald explained. “We’re saying to extend our hours, hire more workers on for us.”
Besides this paralyzing partnership, Canada Post, like the USPS, has proposed other crippling cuts in service. Setbacks include elimination of door-to-door delivery service; dramatically increasing stamp prices, and shuttering post offices.
MacDonald stressed that the retail expansion of Canada Post takes away business from actual post offices and will eventually kill jobs.
Since a Shoppers Drug Mart postal outlet opened in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, business at the post office dropped 50 percent. Canada Post is planning to open two additional outlets on the island, as well.
“There’s the goodbye to the good jobs,” MacDonald said.
However, the union is hopeful that the boycott will be effective – keeping postal services in post offices.