Union hopes to make election issue out of 43 positions to be lost in St. John’s
Postal workers were out in full force in St. John’s Friday, protesting the loss of mail carrier jobs in the city.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) organized the morning demonstration in front of the Kenmount Road post office, to bring attention to 43 positions being cut as a result of new centralized delivery in the area.
Craig Dyer, president with the CUPW in St. John’s, said 43 workers with signs symbolically stood along Kenmount Road to show people the human cost of the cuts.
“We just wanted to let the public know and give them a visual of just how many people are going,” he said.
“We wanted to show them that our membership is in fear now. They don’t know what’s going to happen come January.”
The union found out Thursday that 38 full-time carrier jobs and 5 postal clerk positions in the St. John’s area will be cut because of the changes.
Those jobs are part of over 8,000 positions which Canada Post plans to cut across the country.
A spokesperson with Canada Post said Friday that unionized employees have job security, but the corporation is going through a necessary period of adjustment.
“We have to make these changes to be able to pay our bills and not turn to the taxpayer, but those changes are going to happen over time,” said Jon Hamilton.
“We have more people retiring than the number of positions we need to reduce.”
Meanwhile, Craig Dyer said with both federal and provincial elections coming up in the next few months, the union hopes voters will rally behind his members.
“Our workers know that this is not the end,” he said.
“We have plenty of opportunities to fight, and our first fight is going to be Oct. 19.”
While all of the main political parties were invited to Friday’s demonstration, only the NDP attended.
NDP candidate for St. John’s South-Mount Pearl Ryan Cleary said he repeatedly hears from his constituents that the new community mailboxes and loss of mail carriers is unacceptable.
“Some of these decisions make absolutely no sense,” he said.
“There’s not enough consultation and it’s because Canada Post continuously shows disrespect.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton said discussions with employees is ongoing as Canada Post becomes a “leaner” organization.
“The process we are going through right now is talking to employees and helping them understand what the future is going to look like at Canada Post,” he said.
“There is a bright future down the road, but we do have to fix the core of the business.”