CHARLOTTETOWN — Local letter carriers have voiced shock and disgust over Canada Post’s decision to phase out urban home delivery.
The federal Crown corporation announced five initiatives Wednesday to overhaul the troubled postal system, including a move to so-called community mailboxes, higher postal rates effective March 31, 2014, expanding network of franchised post offices and cutting up to 8,000 jobs.
Chris Clay, president of the Charlottetown local of the Canadian Union of Public Workers (CUPW), was broadsided by the news delivered to him by a reporter while he was delivering mail in Stratford.
He says letter carriers knew that Canada Post had been “kicking around the idea of three-day week delivery’’ but he had never heard of any plans to completely halt door-to-door delivery to urban residents.
“We’re an essential Canadian service,’’ he says.
“I really don’t think they can do that...I tell you I have 400 homes getting a lot of mail today so I can’t see this being a smart decision.’’
Clay says there are 40 letter carriers in Charlottetown. Another 15 letter carriers deliver mail in Summerside. The average salary is around $50,000.
Clay, 39, finally landed his job two-and-a-half years ago after trying for years.
“So this news is horrible for me because I am new to it,’’ he says.
Clay says he was hoping to be a letter carrier for another 25 years or so, but he knows a number of positions will likely be cut if community mail boxes replace door-to-door delivery.
He has one community mailbox with 13 customers on his route. Customers, he says, hate them.
“I have a lot of seniors in this area,’’ he says. “It’s quite a walk for them.’’
Scott Gaudet, president of the Summerside local of CUPW, was shocked and angered to learn that door-to-door delivery in urban areas will become a thing of the past.
He directed his anger squarely at Canada Post.
“What a disgusting, disgusting company,’’ he said.
“Canadians will not stand for that...I can honestly see workers fighting back. It’s going to be some heated conversations.’’
Canada Post said it expects savings of $700-million to $900-million per year from the moves.
“Canada Post has a mandate to fund its operations with revenues from the sale of its products and services, rather than become a burden on taxpayers,” the company said in a news release.
“With the increasing use of digital communication and the historic decline of letter mail volumes, Canada Post has begun to post significant financial losses. If left unchecked, continued losses would soon jeopardize its financial self-sufficiency and become a significant burden on taxpayers and customers.”