Posties apologize for poor service

Letter carrier union says improvements must come from Canada Post

Janet Barney

Postal workers would like to apologize.

They’re sorry for poor delivery times, said Janet Barney, president of the local branch of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

Barney added she’d like to apologize specifically to Muriel Jean Veinot, 86, who called the News when it took nine and 12 days to deliver two letters within Victoria.

“(But) our hands are really tied,” Barney said.

“We know what the problem is, why people aren’t getting their mail. They’re not staffing routes. Our mail gets shipped to Vancouver and it’s not prioritized over there. We don’t control it on this end, so we don’t know what happens (to it).”

Like Veinot, Barney said, postal workers are frustrated with the service. The problem, according to the union, is that last spring Canada Post moved its main mail processing plant to Vancouver, so a large volume of local-to-local mail is sorted on the Lower Mainland. This resulted in 60 jobs being axed locally.

In addition, Canada Post posted its best net-income ever in 2010, boasting a profit of $439 million – although the Crown corporation clarified that includes a $192-million income tax carried over from the previous year.

“We are in the middle of a huge renewal program and a changing time,” said Canada Post spokesperson Anick Losier from Ottawa.

“It doesn’t come without hiccups, that’s for sure. We’re trying to do these changes so we can continue to deliver, but also do it in a way that’s financially sustainable. If we go into debt, the taxpayers are going to be paying for that.”

Barney said that in addition to moving the processing plant, Canada Post has told its employees they cannot work overtime, meaning carriers don’t always finish their routes.

She said the union has amassed stacks of grievances from workers, but those go unaddressed by the employer.

What’s the solution? “That’s where we need the public,” Barney said. “We’re workers dealing with a boss who has this attitude. (And) Canada Post, their boss is the government. That’s who ultimately owns the post office is the Canadians. This $443 million shoud be put back into services.”

She said Canadians unhappy with Canada Post’s services should write to their MPs, who can bring the issues to Parliament for discussion.

 

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