On Fri. Jan. 27, the Toronto Young New Democrats (TYND) organized a town-hall meeting titled “Save Canada Post”. The meeting was well attended with over 60 in attendance representing NDP youth, both rank-and-file and elected representatives from CUPW, and other activists from around the city.
The two featured speakers for the evening were Mike Palecek, a National Union Representative from CUPW and a supporter of Fightback magazine, and Daryl Ellis, the president of the Toronto Local of CUPW. During the course of the event many of the myths being put forward by the Harper government and Canada Post management were deconstructed and found to be outright lies. Canada Post’s CEO, Deepak Chopra has endeared himself to the Canadian public with comments such as walking to community mailboxes in the winter will help seniors be physically active. What may not be as known is his professional background. Before taking the job at Canada Post, Chopra had been the CEO at Pitney Bowes, a private mail processing company with a business model that aims to replace public mail processing. Furthermore, Chopra sits on the board of the C.D. Howe Institute, the right-wing think-tank that has put forward most of the cuts to Canada Post.
The speakers pointed out that the proposed cuts to Canada Post make no financial sense, especially considering how Canada Post has made a profit in each financial quarter over the past decade, except for one in 2011 (when workers were locked out by Canada Post management). However, the attack on public postal services makes complete political sense if the government is attempting to sell off the most lucrative parts of Canada Post to companies like FedEx, UPS, and DHL. More importantly, the cuts being proposed by the government and management are meant to send a message to both CUPW and the broader labour movement. Harper and the Tories are clearly hoping that the ending of door-to-door delivery weakens the postal workers’ union. CUPW has traditionally been one of the most militant unions in the movement and there is no doubt that an attack on it would demoralize other unions from fighting the government’s austerity measures.
However, the government may have miscalculated in their attack on public postal service. The announcement that door-to-door postal service would be cut has generated universal outrage. Walking out of the meeting, people left with a sense of renewed hope and optimism as to the possibility of overturning the fate of Canada Post by building a movement that brings together youth, students, workers, and the labour movement to organize the fightback with an eye towards the replacement of the austerity agenda with one that puts people first.