New Brunswick

Small business owners feeling impact of Canada Post strike

Crafters and online shop owners who sell handmade goods say they're feeling the impact of the rotating Canada Post strike.

'I'm quite nervous about how it's going to affect my business'

Cindy McDonnell says the labour disruption at Canada Post is impacting her small business. (Lauren Bird, CBC)

Crafters and online shop owners who sell handmade goods say they're feeling the impact of the rotating Canada Post strike.

Some say their packages are taking much longer to arrive and that the delay could cause problems going into Christmas.  

"I'm quite nervous about how it's going to affect my business," said Cindy McDonnell.

McDonnell owns and operates Makes Scents Candle Shoppe.

Most of the product goes out of province

She makes candles and sells them, mostly online, to customers all over the country. Most of her product, she said, goes west.

"This is a supplementary business for me so if my customers can't get my product then that's going to hurt for sure."

The Canada Post job action started Oct. 22 after negotiators failed to reach a new contract agreement before a deadline, set by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. Since, it's affected several cities including Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax, Saint John among others.

"Toronto, we're going to be still on Monday or Tuesday getting back to normal there," said Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton. He said it's not taking as long to clear the backlog in the smaller centres, more like two to three days.

McDonnell says she sends four or five orders a week.

"It's really making it difficult.," she said. "The product can't go anywhere. It's sitting in post offices longer … it's frustrating for everybody."

Can't afford express service

McDonnell said her customers pay a flat rate for shipping. She said she can't afford an express service.

"It's uncertainty for shippers," Hamilton said. "That's not where any of them want to be. That's not where we want to be. We want to get a deal and start really just working on Christmas."

McDonnell said if the strike continues she will have to set a deadline for orders before Christmas to make sure they can arrive on time.

"A lot of people are going to be shopping for Christmas gifts so they probably won't come back to us if we can't get it to them on time. That's a real worry."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lauren Bird is a journalist at CBC New Brunswick. You can contact her at lauren.bird@cbc.ca

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