Postal workers stage noon-hour demonstration

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Katie Tower
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Charles Philippe Dray, waving a flag, and Raymond Auffray, both members of the Moncton Local for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), collect signatures from local residents in support of maintaining postal services in the region during a noon-hour demonstration in front of the Sackville post office last week. TOWER PHOTO

SACKVILLE, N.B. – Postal workers from the area brought their concerns to the public last week about potential reductions to service and staff.

Members of the Moncton Local for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), which includes employees from the Tantramar region, staged a noon-hour demonstration last Wednesday afternoon in front of the Sackville post office, asking residents to sign a petition and informing them about the possibility of upcoming cuts to local postal service.

“We’re just trying to maintain what we have here,” said Line Doucet, president of the local union.

Doucet said a call came from the national union about two months ago, saying that Canada Post has plans to open a retail outlet soon in Sackville. In other locales, she said, the introduction of retail outlets have resulted in reduced staff hours, products and services within the community post offices. Basically, she said, the offices are downsized, turning into “hole-in-the-walls.”

“Here it would be devastating,” she said, noting the Sackville post office currently employs five staff (three full-time and two part-time), down from nine employees five years ago.

Seniors and students, in particular, rely heavily on the post office services here in Sackville. Many seniors don’t have computers or don’t trust online banking and would be hard hit by Canada Post changes, said Doucet. And students depend on the passport and student loan services offered at the local post office.

CUPW has been staging information pickets at various locations across the country for several months now, as Canada Post begins phasing out door-to-door delivery and increasing pricing in an effort to cut costs.

“It’s a public service. It belongs to the people of Canada,” said Doucet. “And they deserve to have a voice in all of this.”

Doucet said the union wants to work with Canada Post to help find new ways of serving customers, expanding the business and generating more income. She admitted there has been a significant decrease in letter mail per household but parcel delivery and third-class mail has seen an increase.

“We know there’s a problem . . . but there are other options they could look at,” she said.

She points to postal banking as one possibility, saying it would not only help keep rural post offices open but also offer much-needed financial services in certain areas.

Doucet urged local residents to call local MP Dominic LeBlanc with their concerns over postal service reductions, saying “he is behind us and he will bring those concerns to the House of Commons.”

Organizations: Canada Post, Moncton Local, Canadian Union Postal Workers House of Commons

Geographic location: SACKVILLE, Tantramar, Canada

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