Thursday, December 28, 2006

Repairing a Wrong and Getting Decent Courier Service

From time to time we hear horror stories about our free trade agreement with the US... Canada is forced to import toxic chemicals we previously banned because of a NAFTA ruling or some such thing.

But here's one I like, and apologies in advance that I can't remember all the details of this as I'm not sure where to find the historical info.

Some years ago (in the 80s?) Canadian postal workers went on strike to prevent competition from courier companies, and eventually the government gave in. Ever since then we have had crappy courier service in Canada, unlike the US, where courier delivery is fantastic - you can order plants, perishable food, furniture, whatever, and get it delivered the next day at low cost. The US postal service is also far better than Canada's in terms of reliability, cost, delivery speed, deliveries on Saturdays and holidays, and yes - packages. I have to think that the difference is due to the competition the US posties face from couriers.

The worst part is that we subsidize Canada Post's courier monopoly through the inflated prices of postage stamps. We get crappy service, and we pay more - all because the union wanted to guarantee a slightly larger membership.

So now UPS is trying to rectify the courier situation in Canada. Here's the Canadian postal union's response. This story seems to have been mostly picked up by the pro-union press, and they paint some pretty bleak pictures. (See here and here.) The other side of the story is here.

Here's a quote from an anti-UPS article: "CUPW are launching a postcard campaign against UPS with the slogan "Hands off my mail." The postcard encourages Canadians to tell UPS that public postal service is too important to be undermined by a courier company that puts profits before service." This is kinda funny, since UPS provides such amazing service and Canada Post is, well, not quite so exemplary.

In this case, it seems that the only power able to straighten out this twisted result of blackmail is NAFTA. We Canadians haven't had decent courier service in 20 years or more, and it seemed we would never have it again. I don't support union breaking, and I don't want NAFTA to mess with our health care or other internal matters, but in this one case I think we couldn't fix a terrible situation without outside pressure, and I say: Hooray. CUPW was wrong to screw up our mail and courier system for their own gain, and it's time to put an end to it.



Anonymous said...

Well put! I didn't know about this.

Andrea said...

Fellow blogger here and I must say I have not seem soooo many complaints again
the large courier service companies. I am so thankful that we have the smaller owned companies where we seem to get more personal service. Its such an outrage to see the big companies give bad service. Thankfully the company we use for all of our delivery services has never failed us.Awesome blog and I agree with the above well put!