We tend to think of the post office as a place just to get and send our snail-mail, especially parcels. We may have to change that thought: Canada’s postal workers are in negotiations for a new contract, and they are proposing some interesting things. They’re also authorized to go on strike. But that’s the stick: they’re holding out a carrot too -- a bunch of carrots.
They claim the postal service can become a centre of community power -- can help combat climate change more effectively than our government has managed to do so far, create Canadian jobs, stifle abusive “pay-day loan” operations, and much more.
They envision post offices equipped with solar panels, providing vehicle charging stations, and a fleet of postal-service vehicles that are electric powered and made in Canada (there are those jobs, at Canada’s auto-manufacturing plants). They are proposing that Canada, like the UK, provide publicly-owned banking services at our post offices.
The workers anticipate that these changes would increase postal revenues and eventually enable Canada Post to expand its services in communities – deliver medications, check on solitary seniors, and help with distribution of local produce, as just a few examples.
They point out that Canada Post has the largest vehicle fleet in the country, and more outlets than Tim Hortons. They say it’s ideally situated to perform the roles they have envisioned.
Perhaps we should give their vision a chance. With the last IPCC report ringing in our ears, and the reality of climate change all around us, it’s time to do something. Canada Post won’t fix the climate change situation all by itself, but going solar and electric should help significantly, and it would be good for many communities to have the proposed banking services available.
Canada Post workers have been pursuing this vision for years now. Maybe it’s time.