Area postal union joins in rotating strikes
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.