"THERE'S SO MUCH MORE TO JUST DELIVERING MAIL THAT WE PROVIDE IN A COMMUNITY."
KAMLOOPS - Instead of walking to deliver mail, Kamloops’ Canada Post workers walked the corner of Summit Drive and Columbia Street Friday to protest the Crown company’s plan to remove door to door service next year.
The announcement to strip the service and deliver mail in the form of community mailboxes starting in the summer of 2016 came Thursday. Spokespeople from Canada Post say the decision was made as a cost-saving measure and stressed the changeover would not impact mail carriers’ job security.
But the decision still doesn’t sit well with workers, who say the union contract which mandates employee rentention could be moot after the collective agreement expires this winter.
“We have decent paying jobs and if you are going to cut numerous good paying jobs in a community, it’s going to have an impact,” mail carrier Karen Guinn says. "This is a service Canadians want. To have it arbitrarily decided that they are going to lose their door-to-door service is very upsetting and very shocking."
Beyond job security issues, Guinn says workers are concerned the changeover will negatively impact residential areas, especially those where seniors or children live.
"People seem to forget the presence we are in the community. We are the eyes and the ears of every community. We take care of our neighbourhoods," she says. "I’ve worked for Canada Post for 21 years… I know when I go out and deliver my mail, I pay attention. I know who’s home (and) who isn’t. I know my seniors. I know if they’re not feeling well.”
Guinn says letter carriers help lost children and help lost pets get home.
She says they even pick up tipped over garbage cans.
"There’s so much more to just delivering mail that we provide in a community."
Then there's the weather. She says postal workers brave the elements in “all of mother nature’s glory” when most can’t.
“We’re a special breed. We struggle already in winter conditions and we’re provided tools like boot and glove allowance and cleats to keep us safe on icy and snowy roads," she says. "What about seniors and people with disabilities? They are now going to be expected to walk one or two blocks to get their mail in these conditions."
Guinn also points to a possible surge in mail theft, adding someone broke into one of the community mailboxes on her route this week.
She says after the announcement many of the people on her route stopped her to say they were disappointed with Canada Post’s decision.
"It’s unfair when it’s a service established by Canadians for Canadians,” she says.
Canada Post plans to keep residents informed of the changes moving forward on the community boxes. The corporation says it will deliver updates and will make face-to-face contact with locals to hear recommendations on where to position the boxes to best suit their neighbourhoods.
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