© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Chris Clay, left, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers local, speaks during a legislative committee hearing. With him is Dylan Allain, chief shop steward with Canada Post in Charlottetown.
Conerns include street lighting, security around community mailboxes
A lack of lighting and security are two of the big concerns on the minds of MLAs when it comes to the postal service.
The Standing Committee on Community and Intergovernmental Affairs received a briefing from local representatives of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) on Wednesday. All three sides — Liberals, Conservatives and postal workers — seem to agree that changes being made at Canada Post are not for the better.
Chris Clay, president of the Charlottetown CUPW local, and Dylan Allain, chief shop steward with CUPW in Charlottetown, appeared before the committee.
Clay told the MLAs about plans to phase out door-to-door delivery to approximately five million homes over the next five years, create more community mailboxes, reduce jobs and hike fees such as the cost of a basic stamp going from 63 cents to $1.
Clay said Canada Post is moving away from unionized jobs and turning to minimum wage positions. He said that will create a ripple effect through the company.
Clay said it’s an about-face by the Crown corporation. Referring to job action a few years ago, Clay said one minute the company is ordering them back to work “as an essential service’’ and now it is downsizing.
Charlottetown City Council recently backed Clay and the union by passing a resolution and the local union president is hoping the MLAs through their support behind the fight against cuts and pass a motion in the legislature.
Clay warned the move to community mailboxes creates security concerns. He pointed out that break-ins have become a major concern in British Columbia recently, posing a threat to people waiting for their EI or welfare cheques in the mail.
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Liberal MLA Richard Brown said his concern is where Canada Post is going to find space in downtown Charlottetown for community mailboxes.
Clay confirmed for Liberal MLA Sonny Gallant that if he mails a letter destined for Alberton from Miscouche, the letter first goes to Summerside, then to Charlottetown, then to Halifax to get sorted before coming back to Charlottetown and Summerside before reaching its destination.
Allain said Canada Post still maintains mail delivery isn’t taking any longer to get from A to B.
“They’ll tell you they’re still meeting the standard, which is three days,’’ Allain said. “I’ve had complaints that it’s taking longer.’’
Other MLAs observed the community mailboxes that already exist are very poorly lit and not safe to be around at night.
“My biggest concern with community mailboxes, and I hear it quite a bit (from constituents), is that there is no street light (around the boxes),’’ said Pat Murphy, MLA for Alberton-Roseville.
While committee chairman Bush Dumville couldn’t promise the CUPW members anything, he told them it’s not uncommon for the committee, even with federal issues like this one, to recommend to the legislature that it bring a motion to the floor supporting the workers.
The legislature resumes sitting April 2.