How times have changed! Back in the dark ages of my youth, we took postal strikes for granted. Every few years, the posties got restless and our Sears catalogue was delayed for a week or two. Unless it was the Wish Book, most people pretty much took it in stride.
Not so today. Judging by media coverage (a risky proposition to be sure, but hear me out), Jane Q. Public is mad as hell and simply not prepared to take it anymore. For example, Macleans magazine, hardly a hotbed of right-wing rhetoric, says “it’s hard to imagine a more coddled, out-of-touch and overcompensated group than postal workers.”
And then we have airline employees, hospital staff, municipal employees, and so on and so on. These workers enjoy great benefits, generous pensions, lengthy vacations and a host of other perks that the majority of workers simply can’t hope to achieve. When arbitrators award pay increases in excess of market norms, or when workers strike for even more improvements to compensation, it’s not surprising that employers, taxpayers and, as politicians of every stripe call them, “hard working Canadian families”, express their growing fury about the unsustainable expectations, unrealistic sense of entitlement and, less diplomatically, plain and simple greed of some unionized employees.
Perhaps the posties and others should talk to college teachers, who just last year identified the obvious – that many of their neighbours and family members were suffering from layoffs and cutbacks – and moderated their demands to accept management’s offer.
But there’s no sign of that yet. More’s the pity.