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Post office workers urge action

Rallying support: Lorie Miller chats with postal employees Julie Van Male and Michelle Everett at an information table set up over the weekend at the Mall at Piccadilly. - James Murray/Observer
Rallying support: Lorie Miller chats with postal employees Julie Van Male and Michelle Everett at an information table set up over the weekend at the Mall at Piccadilly.
— image credit: James Murray/Observer

Salmon Arm employees of Canada Post were busy getting their message out over the weekend.

An information table was set up at the Mall at Piccadilly to let residents know that the Crown corporation plans to raise rates and cut services, said Dale Wereschuk, local president of the Salmon Arm-Revelstoke local of CUPW, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. He said workers would like Salmon Arm residents to tell their MP they’re not in favour of changes to be implemented March 31.

“It’s quite clearly a Conservative mandate and we want them to know we’re not happy with that and we want to have some input in it.”

He said 400 signatures were gathered on a petition at the mall.

Come March 31, single stamps are going up from 63 cents to $1, and books of 10 up to 83 cents per stamp. Another change will be the elimination of door-to-door service, something which doesn’t affect Salmon Arm.

While the number of letters the post office handles has decreased dramatically with the advent of email and social media, parcels have increased with the use of online shopping.

Wereschuk points to a Conference Board of Canada report that said Canada Post was going to be losing a billion dollars by the year 2020. The report was based on a projected loss in 2011 of $56 million. However, that was just a projection, he notes. The corporation actually had a profit of $98 million that year.

“We don’t feel the deficit they’re projecting is going to be there.”

Okanagan Shuswap MP Colin Mayes says he doesn’t plan to go against the wishes of Canada Post, which he said is arm’s length from government.

“First of all, our minister has said this is a corporate decision by Canada Post, not a political decision. What the postal workers are trying to do is make us make a political decision to reach into the treasury to accommodate them.”

He adds, “Nobody likes to see anyone being laid off after years of work and change is difficult. We just have to trust those folks in the corporate office that they’re doing their best.”

He agrees there was profit in 2011 but it was because employees agreed to changes to the pension plan.

“It was a huge saving but it... had nothing to do with services provided.”

Wereschuk said no word has been received about what’s planned for the Salmon Arm post office.

 

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