Most Canadians will find their mailboxes empty today after Canada Post suspended operations across the country after 12 days of rotating strikes by its 48,000 unionized urban workers. The government-owned corporation was forced to declare the lockout late last night after the rotating work stoppages caused mail volume and revenue to drop significantly. The move halts nearly all mail delivery. The post office estimated it lost $97 million after the largest rotating strikes took place yesterday in Montreal and Toronto, where about 60% of the country's mail is handled.
"While we'd hoped to avoid a disruption to service to Canadians, we feel we can't continue to let this drag on," says a Canada Post rep. The postal corporation also says talks with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers were at an impasse, with the two sides "far apart" on several key issues and no progress at the negotiating table for weeks. Canadians had already been feeling the effects of the labor dispute, not just from the rotating strikes, but because Canada Post had scaled back mail delivery in cities to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays before declaring the lockout. (Read more Canada stories.)