Parcels boost posties’ work­load

CUPW lo­cal stresses is­sue as ro­tat­ing postal strikes reach Chatham

The Chatham Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - ELL­WOOD SHREVE

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.”

TOM MOR­RI­SON/POST­MEDIA NEWS

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.

ELL­WOOD SHREVE/THE DAILY NEWS

Lo­cal Canada Post em­ploy­ees, who are mem­bers of the Cana­dian Union of Postal Work­ers, be­gan a 24-hour ro­tat­ing strike in Chatham on Wed­nes­day.

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