Parcels boost posties’ workload
CUPW local stresses issue as rotating postal strikes reach Chatham
The business of Canada Post has changed to include delivering a far greater number of parcels, and a local union leader says the corporation’s failure to quickly adapt to this increased volume is hurting letter carriers.
Jeremy Suitor, president of Local 514 of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), spoke to The Chatham Daily News about this issue as a 24-hour rotating strike reached Chatham Wednesday. This is the third week the union has staged rotating strikes across the country.
Suitor acknowledged technology, such as the internet and email, has impacted the postal business.
“The mail is still there. It’s not the numbers it was in the 1990s, back in the day when the internet was just in its infancy,” Suitor said. But he added the postal service has evolved into the “parcel world.”
“That’s what Canada Post’s business platform is on, is the new parcel expansion and taking over the parcel world, and being a leader there,” he said.
Suitor said the corporation has failed to adapt quickly to how fast the parcel volumes have risen, which has increased the amount of hours many letter carriers have to work, and is leading to more onthe-job injuries.
He said Canada Post has its own numbers that show the injury rate among postal employees is five times greater than for the rest of workers in the federal sector.
“The more time you’re out, the more chance that (an injury) can happen and that’s what’s happening,” Suitor said.
He said instead of delivering about eight parcels a day five years ago, some carriers are delivering 30, 40 or even 50 parcels a day.
“That’s on top of doing a full mail delivery as well.”
Suitor said in addition to the increased weight, there is also an increase in bulk to deal with.
He noted there are specific jobs for Canada Post employees to delivery just parcels in larger cities, but it’s not everywhere.
“In our world, we have letter carriers that are doing our job of delivery letters, but we’re doing a parcel volume that’s the equivalent to what the MSCs (mail service carriers) are doing in their parcel days,” he said.
As a result, Suitor said some mail carriers are working 12 hours to complete what once took eight hours.
An update posted on the Canada Post website on Wednesday, stated: “Canada Post remains committed to the bargaining process. The Corporation has made significant offers to CUPW that include increased wages, job security, and improved benefits, and it has not asked for any concessions in return.
“We value the relationship with the union and have been able to find common ground on some issues. We have also committed to work together to address employees’ workload concerns caused by parcel growth, additional financial services and going beyond pay equity for rural and suburban employees by extending job security and moving to one uniform for all delivery employees.”
Suitor said CUPW workers realize they have a common goal and need to stay strong in order for changes to be made.
The urban postal workers have been without a contract since Jan. 31 while the contract with rural carriers expired Dec. 31, 2017. Suitor said there have been a lot of rollbacks and attempted rollbacks by the corporation.
“We’ve got the resolve and we want to get what’s fair and what’s right,” he said. “… We want this business to continue to be there for Canadians, and doing what we need to do.”
Erma Baylis and Matt Konecny picket outside the Canada Post office in downtown Chatham on Wednesday. The demonstration was part of a series of rotating strikes across Canada.
Local Canada Post employees, who are members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, began a 24-hour rotating strike in Chatham on Wednesday.