Let me start with a real-life allegory for the current Canada Post situation.
My dad is a retired fire fighter, and this is one of his stories. My dad's crew gets a call, and arrive to find a residential driveway gloriously engulfed in flames. It was a gasoline fire, so a chemical suppressant had to be used. In discussions with the homeowner, the following series of events transpired. The homeowner had a motorcycle that had some tough grease stains on it. As a quick solvent, he was using gasoline in an open container with a rag to remove the grease. The container got knocked over and spilled the gasoline all over the driveway. Because gasoline destroys pavement, the home owner then lit the gasoline in an attempt to save his driveway. Needless to say, that did not work.
How does this relate to the Canada Post lockout? First you start with a imperfect solution, i.e. using gasoline to clean grease or having a monopoly service with unionized employees. Something bad then results. And then, another imperfect solution is imposed that makes things worse. In this case, the 'make things worse' is back to work legislation (H/T Adam).
Like many homeowners, the strike is affecting me in a notably unpleasant way. I am no longer receiving my bills in the mail. But, in a perverse use of the term 'logic', as the payee I am still responsible for paying those bills or I will be billed late fees. How I determine what I owe is never fully explained. Especially since calls and e-mails are going unanswered.
This is a topic of constant debate amongst the parents while picking up their kids at school. Suffice it to say, it is THE topic of debate. Sadly to say, all the blame is on the Canada Post employees (next most hated group after lawyers perhaps?) even though they were in fact locked-out by Canada Post. It isn't the fault of the Canada Post employees that I am not receiving my bills, in fact, we have a series of imperfect solutions all coalescing into a massive cock-up of stupid proportions. This situation may have started with the rotating strikes, but it does not end there, far from it.
First, as many have pointed out, why do we still have a government monopoly in charge of mail delivery?
Second, (and to my mind, the larger issue) why do we still receive bills THROUGH THE MAIL? E-mail with attachments has been around since ninety-nighty-fucking-two. But when I investigate e-billing, I either get a summary bill with just the total I owe, and/or I have to set up an authorized pre-payment where the money automatically comes out. Well I work for private industry, and I don't trust it. I want to receive a fully itemized bill that I will pay when I am ready. I pay all my bills electronically, but I cannot receive them electronically. For that, they have to come in the mail. That is frakked up beyond measure.
How or why companies, municipal departments and other agencies are all universally blindingly incompetent at this, I cannot fathom. The cost savings of e-mailing a PDF bill would be worth it alone. Add in the fact that I no longer have to shred them and it is win-win for everyone concerned.
If companies smartened up, this would further diminish the value of Canada Post and force more organizations to come up with multiple options less dependent on a single supplier. As individuals we are told to diversify our retirement portfolios to reduce risk, but for some unexplained reason, we are still dependent on Canada Post for a few crucial services.
I have never been a big union guy, and I will union bash with the best of them. But I will do it when I am sure it is richly deserved. In this instance, it ain't the union that is at fault. It is a series of antiquated processes that have to be rethought, and the solutions are quite simple when you spend half a minute considering it.