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.

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