Canadian Magazine Industry News
19 May 2011,     TORONTO
Big players join Magazines Canada in fight against postal strike
The head of a major magazine organization said other big players who rely on Canada Post are strengthening the battle against a looming postal strike that would halt delivery.

Canada Post has put its final offer on the table for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) with a strike possible as early as May 25. Most mail delivery, including subscription magazines, would halt in the event of a stoppage.

Mark Jamison, CEO of Magazines Canada, on May 18 said the group is "communicating with the parties that are most relevant to the discussion in government."

But Magazines Canada is not alone in the effort, he stressed. "Look at all the direct marketing packages; it has a potential to have a very major impact on the economy at large," he said. "We are a relatively small player in the Canada Post stream ... and that's not bad when you're in the stream with other large postal-dependent businesses that are saying the same thing to Canada Post and its employees that we are."

The National Association of Major Mail Users (NAMMU) issued a statement May 18 on the postal situation. "This is a disaster in the making for the corporation, its employees, and the mail industry who rely on Canada Post for efficient, affordable, reliable service," said Kathleen Rowe, NAMMU president.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has also weighed in, with an open letter from its president and CEO, Catherine Swift, to Deepak Chopra, president and CEO of Canada Post. "Our members are growing more and more concerned with the growing cost of public sector pensions in general and the sustainability of Canada Post's current plan," reads the letter, which also notes a proposed 4.6 per cent rate increase in January 2012. "This will only further impact (small and medium-sized enterprises) and push even more businesses to look for alternatives to the postal system."

Canada Post itself has outlined the possible impact in the event of a stoppage. "Our goal remains to reach a negotiated settlement," noted Jacques Cote, COO of Canada Post, on May 18. "Nobody will win if there's a strike. The company will lose customers and revenue, employees will lose their pay, and we will not be any closer to reaching a new collective agreement ... at the same time, our competitors will take business away from us that we may not get back."

Jamison didn't elaborate about options being discussed by members to get magazines to customers in the event of a strike, but he noted increasing newsstand presence is not a viable solution. "Newsstand is a matter of draws, and of course draws are determined by the consumer side.... what you're trying to do is satisfy a contract with a reader. So the newsstand is not really an alternative."

Jamison added, "all indications are that if (Canada Post and the union) can't achieve something in the next few days there will be an interruption.

"However it turns out, we hope it's a short-lived disruption, if it indeed happens, because they are still negotiating and we wish them well ... there's still some optimism in finding a way through this. Nobody's throwing up their hands."
— Jeff Hayward
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