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Opponents suspect Canada Post's hand behind unionization drive

The opponents forget that it was the messengers that approached CUPW to improve the industry not the other way around.

Montreal Gazette, September 7, 2005

By Kazi Stastna

Not everybody sees the drive by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers to unionize local messengers as strictly a benevolent move to improve employee's job conditions.

Some in the industry view it as just an extension of  Canada Post Corp.'s incursion into the private-sector messenger business and an attempt by the union to gain greater leverage during labour disputes.

Whereas customers now can easily make the transition to messenger service during a postal strike, pressure for CUPW-affiliated messengers to show solidarity on the picket line with striking workers might result in greater disruption of services, argues Peter Hansen owner of QA/Transor courier firm.

Jacques Valiquette, CUPW's director for Montreal denies that is CUPW's intention.

The union already has about 15 units across the country that represent workers outside the post office, he noted, and they are wholly independent and not obliged to strike when postal workers do.

After Canada Post acquired 50 per cent of Montreal-based rush-delivery business Intelcom in May 2001, local messenger companies accused the crown corporation of using years of taxpayer-funded leverage to muscle away their clients by pressing its suppliers, like law firms and advertising companies to switch to its newly acquired local messenger service.

Led by QA, a longtime Intelcom competitor, companies formed an alliance across Canada to oppose the public-private partnership.

UPS, a US-based overnight courier company launched a similar challenge on the international stage, arguing Canada Post's acquisition of Purolator in 1993 constituted an unfair advantage.

Canada Post recently scaled back some of its tactics to lure away clients, Hansen says, after Daniel Hudon, who was co-owner of Intelcom at the time of the sale and was later given an executive position at the company, was identified as a member of the "Cigar Club" of Liberal Party power brokers and fundraisers involved in the federal sponsorship scandal.

Sylvain Hurtubise, current Intelcom president and head of the Quebec Association of Couriers and Messengers, did not return phone calls.


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