Area postal union joins in ro­tat­ing strikes

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - NEWS - mbalogh@post­media.com MEGHAN BALOGH

Postal work­ers in Kingston walked off the job on Wed­nes­day morn­ing as part of a Cana­dian Union of Postal Work­ers (CUPW ) strike.

Kingston Canada Post em­ploy­ees are tak­ing their first turn on a ro­tat­ing strike that has been mov­ing through com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try as ne­go­ti­a­tions stall be­tween work­ers and the Crown cor­po­ra­tion.

Mary Whan is the pres­i­dent of CUPW Lo­cal 556, which rep­re­sents ap­prox­i­mately 200 postal work­ers in the Kingston and Gananoque re­gions.

“This is im­por­tant for the work­ers,” Whan said from the side of Collins Bay Road on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, where she and a hand­ful of col­leagues pick­eted.

“There’s an is­sue with forced over­time for the let­ter car­ri­ers. There’s an is­sue with over­bur­den­ing of the let­ter car­ri­ers. Ev­ery­body de­serves to go to work and come home safe.”

Ac­cord­ing to Whan, more than 30,000 of Canada Post’s 50,000 let­ter car­ri­ers have suf­fered an in­jury at work.

“Of those, over 14,000 have suf­fered a dis­abling in­jury,” Whan said. “These are re­lated to in­juries on duty.”

Whan said these is­sues stem from forced over­time, routes that are too long, and car­ri­ers be­ing ex­pected to haul too much weight on their routes.

“We’re ask­ing to stop the over­bur­den­ing of the let­ter car­rier,” Whan said. “We all know that let­ter vol­umes have gone down and par­cel vol­umes have gone up. These par­cel vol­umes are be­ing piled onto the let­ter car­ri­ers along with their mail.

“You’re car­ry­ing a lot more stuff, and they just keep mak­ing the routes longer and longer, so the car­ri­ers are out on the street a lot longer. Some car­ri­ers work 10 to 12 hours per day.”

Whan said car­ri­ers are ex­pected to carry up to 35 pounds in their satchels.

Kingston was one of 27 com­mu­ni­ties across On­tario, Que­bec and New Brunswick to walk out on Wed­nes­day to de­mand changes to their work terms.

CUPW wants a na­tional over­time ban for both ma­jor bar­gain­ing units at Canada Post.

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