he simple fact that the
size of government increased dramatically created new difficulties.
The old intimacies of small government departments gave way
to vast bureaucracies onto which government forced
private-management practices. Imposed technological change
was included in this transformation - the results of which
proved disastrous, at least in the case of the post office.
Salaries proved another point of contention, because
government wage scales that historically had compared well with
the private sector began to lag behind.
Governments were not pleased when their employees chose to
challenge these changes through unionization. The federal and
most provincial governments initially rejected demands for
collective bargaining rights. Frustration among civil service
workers with what they perceived as government stalling began
to boil over in the mid-1960s. Part of the problem was the fact
that the workers had few avenues through which they could
command a government's attention, as federal and provincial
employees, with the exception of those in Saskatchewan, did
not have the legal right to strike.
Events reached a crisis point in 1965. Postal workers in
defiance of government policies and the law launched a
national strike. Collective bargaining, the right to strike,
management control issues, and wages were high on their list
of concerns. This was to be the first of 18 major disputes
between the post office and its workers over the next 20 years.