Tuesday, January 04, 2011


Two more days to go until Christmas by the Julian calender, known in these parts as "Ukrainian Christmas". Yet down in the post offices of Winnipeg Christmas packages meant to be delivered by December 25th still sit undelivered according to the following article from the Winnipeg Free Press. The reason...the so-called "improvements" mandated by Canada Post management, "improvements" that have been discussed before at this blog and at The Workers' Struggle With The Modern Post blog by postal workers here in Winnipeg. This "modernisation" is one that Canada Post hopes to apply across the country. Because of this Winnipeg workers have received support from other Canada Post workers across the country in their struggle to prevent what is not just against their own interests but against those of the general public. As the backlog in Winnipeg demonstrates. Here's the story from the local press.

Christmas gifts undelivered: CUPW
By: Katie Dangerfield

Thousands of Christmas packages sat undelivered in the former downtown post office as late as New Year's Eve, a local union official said.

"A good chunk of the parcels sitting in the 266 Graham Ave. building are Christmas wrapped," said Bob Tyer, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

Missing presents?
Are you missing Christmas presents you were expecting in the mail? If so call the Free Press at 697-7292 or email city.desk@freepress.mb.ca .

Since the introduction of Canada Post's modern delivery system in September, Tyer said there has been a considerable backup of undelivered mail -- especially during the holidays.

During the New Year's weekend, Canada Post employees were set to work overtime s to catch up on deliveries, Tyler said.

This fall, Canada Post introduced what it called a new, more efficient delivery system designed to cut costs. The new system requires letter carriers to carry two bundles of mail, instead of one. Routes and work days are also longer.

Some Winnipeg letter carriers went on strike in November to protest against the new system. Carriers have said it can cause back and neck injuries.

A spokeswoman for Canada Post, Anick Losier, said in an email that the corporation's employees are still adjusting to the new system.

"We just finished our busiest time of year," said Losier. "Our volumes in Winnipeg reached over 1.4 million pieces of mail daily, while normally it is just under one million pieces."

"We even had our people ensure all holiday-themed packages and cards were delivered to customers on time for the holidays," she said.

Tyer said mail service in Winnipeg wasn't as smooth as Losier makes it sound. Since the new system was implemented, the corporation "doesn't care if they don't cover all their routes anymore," he said.

One Winnipeg post office employee who asked not to be named said the corporation is sweeping its problems under a rug, hoping they will go away,

"At one of the depots, supervisors were throwing out 300 to 400 flyers that were a day late, instead of delivering them," the employee said.

Tyer said Canada Post has had countless complaints from businesses and employees regarding the new system, but Losier said the changes were necessary "to help our company stay efficient and viable."

"That's what will protect the future of the company and our employees' incomes and pensions," said Losier.

Tyer said that since September staff injuries have risen "astronomically," and Canada Post has not hired enough people to fill vacancies due to injury and staff retirements.

During the holiday rush, Canada Post brought in retirees and supervisors from across the country to deliver the additional mail.


Meanwhile the national Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has been circulating a petition for some months asking that the Canadian postal system be strengthened rather than destroyed (perhaps the "modernization" is really part of some long term plan for "privatization"). Please go to their website or this link to sign the following petition to your MP and to the federal Minister in charge of Canada Post. And don't forget to keep up to date on what is happening out here on the windswept prairies by reading The Workers Struggle With The Modern Post.

Please tell Minister Merrifield: Stop cutting public postal service and jobs
I am writing, as both a user and an owner of Canada Post, to voice my concern about the future of our public post office.

Canada Post has plans to cut thousands of jobs in hundreds of communities across the country by modernizing and reviewing its operations and privatizing philatelic and call centres. The corporation is also cutting services by eliminating rural mail box delivery, closing post offices and removing street letter boxes.

To me, these cuts indicate that Canada Post is focusing increasingly on commercial interests, rather than the public interest.

I believe that Canada Post, as a public institution, should put the public interest first. One of the ways it could do this is by sharing the benefits of its $2 billion modernization program. At the moment, Canada Post intends to use all the productivity gains from this program to cut jobs and save millions annually. This is our post office -- the public should share in the benefits too.

Please tell Rob Merrifield, the Minister responsible for Canada Post, to instruct the corporation to:

1) Put the public interest first.
2) Share the benefits of postal modernization with the public by preserving and improving public postal service and jobs.

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