Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Frozen North

USPS suspends mail delivery to Canada as Canada Post strike continues.

The U.S. Postal Service stopped taking mail bound for Canada as a strike by Canada Post workers moved into its second week with no signs that it would end anytime soon, reported the Journal of Commerce.

Talks between Canada Post and the postal union broke off over the weekend and the national post office said it would lock out workers who had been staging the rolling strikes this month. That made it more likely the government would seek legislation forcing the Canadian Union of Postal Workers back to work and halting the job actions.

The USPS’s decision to suspend deliveries to Canada signals a strike that started in limited urban locations was crippling broader service around the country.

The USPS has been holding mail bound for Canada but halted that “due to the expectation by Canada Post officials that the strike … will last until at least sometime next week,” the U.S. agency said.

For the larger world of postal delivery, the strike and lockout highlight the pain that sharply diminished mail volume has brought to postal operations in an era of e-commerce and Internet communications.

The 48,000-member Canadian union has been fighting Canada’s bid for work and cost concessions, cutbacks Canada Post says reflect the same changing mail delivery landscape that has led the USPS to eliminate tens of thousands of jobs and cut billions in annual costs.

FedEx, UPS and other major courier deliveries to rural areas also could be affected because, in certain cases, Canada Post carries these documents and parcels for the last few kilometers of their journey. With the Canadian economy continuing strong, and Canadian customers an important source of revenue for U.S. firms, disruptions in Canadian deliveries have implications for shippers “south of the border” as well.

Kirk Shearer
800-989-0054 x103

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