A list of affected locations will be posted next week.
No mail on sick days: Canada Post Union
Letter carriers in B.C. have filed a stack of grievances to protest Canada Post’s refusal to backfill them when they take time off work, according to their union.
Ken Mooney, regional grievance officer for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, says he has grievances from postal carriers who say their routes across B.C. were left uncovered for as many as three days.
“It has become quite apparent that Canada Post has rolled out a policy of non-delivery in locations throughout British Columbia including Vancouver, Victoria, Fraser Valley, Royal City, Terrace, Cranbrook, Trail, Quesnel, Prince Rupert, Castlegar, Coquitlam, Mission, Nanaimo, Courtenay and elsewhere,” he wrote in a letter to Canada’s management on Aug. 5.
“At each location, mail has not been delivered, grievances have been filed, and members of the public have not received the service to which they are entitled,” he wrote.
Mooney says the mail just piles up until they return. The new policy is hurting Canadians and may actually be illegal, he says.
“They are not covering the route, which is actually required by our collective agreement, but also by the service standard passed by the Conservative government in 2009,” he said.
“What it amounts to is delaying the mail, which according to the Canada Post Act is an indictable offence.”
The unions has approached management demanding to know if this is a new policy but received no response, he said.
“We’re worried this is some sort of pilot project for Canada Post that would be rolled out throughout Canada, and it would be an erosion of postal services.”
MP wants answers
Canada Post spokeswoman Colleen Frick told CBC News that mail volumes are down considerably, so hours worked are being matched to the lower volumes.
She did not comment on whether there is a new absentee policy in B.C.
New Democrat MP Alex Atamenenko said he has written to the head of Canada Post demanding answers, but is still waiting to hear back.
Atamenenko says people depend on the mail for their livelihood and suspending service is unacceptable.
“If I’m waiting for a cheque and it’s not coming because my letter carrier is sick, then it is totally unacceptable,” Atamenenko said.
A Letter from Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior
Dear Mr. Bacon:
It has come to my attention that Canada Post has instituted a policy in British Columbia that provides for non-delivery of mail when employees are absent from work. I have received reports that this change has affected the community of Castlegar. According to Mr. Ken Mooney, Regional Grievance Officer for CUPW-STTP, there have been at least 5 separate incidents of a similar nature in Cranbrook, in violation of the collective agreement, Canada Post Service Charter and the Canada Post Act.
In reference to your column to Canada Post employees entitled “Staying the Course”, you state that Canada Post is containing costs and making crucial improvements without sacrificing service. Yet, as Mr. Mooney points out to Mike Shearon, Divisional General Manager, in a letter dated August 5, 2010, the way in which this is being implemented points to a change in direction that directly opposes provisions in the collective agreement, which requires coverage of unstaffed letter carrier routes, as well as the above-mentioned service charter and the Canada Post Act.
According to Mr. Mooney, an enormous list of grievances have been filed as a result of this shift and yet, there does not appear to be an acknowledgement by Canada Post head office that this is taking place.
I am very concerned that Canada Post’s mandate for universal service will further be eroded if the new policy is rolled out throughout the rest of Canada.
Therefore, I respectfully urge you to reconsider what appears to be a change in both policy and practice to ensure that employee absences are covered by replacement staff. This way, Canadians will continue to enjoy the high quality of service from Canada Post they have received in the past.
Thank you, in advance, for your prompt attention to this serious issue.
Alex Atamanenko, MP
BC Southern Interior
CC: Ken Mooney, Regional Grievance Officer for CUPW-STTP
All B.C. MPs
Chris Charlton, NDP Critic for Canada Post
Mike Shearon – Divisional Regional Manager for Canada Post