The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

October 21, 2008


What truly matters...

It appears that the strike at my newspaper MAY be coming to an end in the next day or two. This strike has shut the entire newspaper down, except for its website and its ability to deliver flyers.

The union I'm in represents everyone from us journalists, who earn as much as $90,000 a year, to the carriers, who earn way less. I've whined about the effects of the strike on my personal situation.

But this guy, who commented on our strike website, had this to say.

It touched me. And my comment to him, being a divorced father myself who wants to see his kids and be a part of their lives and as a fellow employee at another level, would be "I hear you and I support you."


Hi, my name is Dan. I am a FP carrier and I feel the need to inform people of what it is like to be a carrier and let me tell you right from the start, that it is not a glamorous job.

I do it because I have to, not because I want to, and I will explain shortly.

Before I start, let me explain my situation. I am a recently divorced father of four young children. My divorce has left me in financial bind that has forced me to take on a part time job in order to survive.

The high cost of living, and the cost of raising children has necessitated the need to get a part time job to make ends meet.

I chose to be a FP carrier for two reasons: a) to pay the bills and b) it is the only part time job that I could get that would allow me to continue to see my children on a regular basis during visitation nights.

By being a carrier I can still partake in my childrens activities like baseball, soccer, dance recitals, hockey games, school plays, etc. A normal evening part time job would mean not seeing my children at all.

I can’t possibly tell my kids to just hang on for a couple of years while Dad has to work part time to survive.

So, now let me explain to you what it is like to be a carrier.

Imagine yourself having to go to bed at 8 pm every night, wake up at 1 am, drive to the depot in the hopes of getting your papers by 2:30, so that you can complete your route by 6:30 (or else get docked for late deliveries) so that you can possibly catch an hour of sleep before you have to wake up again to get ready for your day job.

Now, do this 7 days a week, rain or shine, winter or summer, looking forward to the occasional stat holiday.

These however, have limited benefits to a carrier because even though we have a day off, our bodies are so accustomed to waking up at 1 am, that we can’t sleep through the night even if we wanted to.

If we want to attend a social function, like a wedding, we have take several days off in advance of the function in order to get our sleep pattern back.

I read earlier that the average pay of a carrier is between $12000 and $14000 per year. This may seem like a lot to some for a part time job however let's put it into perspective.

The cost of fuel, the wear and tear on a vehicle, and most important of all, the wear and tear on your body and impact on your mental health is a high price to pay just to make ends meet.

As a newly divorced parent who is trying to keep their head above water, and pursue a somewhat normal social life, can you imagine the reaction you would get from a woman when I say:

"Hi, my name is Dan, I can go out on a date as long as I am home by 8 pm (because I am a FP carrier and I have to be in bed early)."

The wear and tear on the vehicle is huge. My vehicle when I started as a carrier was valued at $16,000. After a year, the car was appraised at $7,000, and could not be sold privately at the market value, and no one would take it in as trade because of the wear and tear.

You can put a value on a vehicle, but how do you put a value on the wear and tear that your body endures from delivering papers in the middle of the night when it is -40c with a windchill of -60c, and you are loaded down with papers like a pack mule, and snow up to your knees.

How do you deliver papers when the weather advisory states skin will freeze in 30 seconds, and FP carriers are expected to be outside for 3 hours. Put a value on that and tell me, are we really overpaid?

Are we really overpaid when your kids say ‘Dad, why do you have to go to bed at 8? Why can’t you stay awake at my play or hockey game? or your boss gives you heck for being late because you got a precious few hours extra of sleep.

So, for those of you that think that a FP carrier is overpaid, call me, come walk with me, and I can guarantee you that you would not last a week in my shoes (which I replace every 3 months). To my fellow brothers and sisters on the picket line, rock on.


Ugly Dog Pictures For a Change of Pace