Summerside council urged to oppose community mailbox plan

Mike Carson
Published on March 17, 2014

Scott Gaudet, president on the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Local 129, (foreground) and local vice president Gordon Perry outline the dangers of a Canada Post decision to eliminate door-to-door mail delivery and replace it with community mail boxes The union is seeking council support to maintain home delivery. Mike Carson/Journal Pioneer

Mike Carson/Journal Pioneer

SUMMERSIDE - Summerside city council is being asked to support the Canadian Union of Postal Workers in their fight to maintain door-to-door mail delivery and not replace it with community mail boxes (CMB) as proposed by Canada Post.

Scott Gaudet, president of CUPW Local 129, Summerside, and Gordon Perry, vice president, told city council Monday night that the decision by Canada Post is the wrong decision,

“We think Canada Post’s plan is the wrong way to go and will hurt Summerside,” Gaudet said. “We think that going to CMB delivery will be especially hard on the seniors and people with disabilities,” he said “It could put their health and safety at risk. It could be dangerous for anyone to walk to a CMB during the winter and it can be downright life threatening for seniors and people with disabilities”

He said CMB delivery would also undermine the ability of seniors and people with disabilities to live independently

“Many depend on door-to-door delivery as a support and some have chosen to live where they live because they can get home delivery,” Gaudet said. There are many other problems associated with CMB delivery, the union local president said.

He said snow removal around the community mail boxes is an issue. The boxes will freeze. Safety is an issue because many CMAs are not well lit. As well, litter becomes a problem with people discarding junk mail on site rather than taking it home.

“There would be an impact on the local economy,” Gaudet said. “We would need fewer employees if we go to CMB delivery. It expects to eliminate 6,000 to 8,000 jobs. Some of these jobs will be in our community.”

Projections by the Conference Board of Canada that Canada Post would lose $1 billion annually by 2020 based that on the assumption that the corporation would lose $250 million in the final quarter of 2012, Gaudet said.

“The corporation didn’t,” he said. “Canada Post actually made $94 million in net profits in 2012,” he said.

Gaudet said if the Conference Board of Canada could be so wrong with its prediction for 2012 how accurate is its figures for 2020?

City council said they would review the information an have the city staff look over the proposed resolution being proposed by CUPW to see if it abides by municipal regulations The resolution was not read into the public record of the meeting, Monday night

Following the session Gaudet explain what the CUPW was asking council to do.

“We’re asking council to ensure that city councillors support postal workers and local residents to urge Canada Post to rethink its decision on getting rid of door-to-door delivery,” Gaudet said following the meeting. “But inside that resolution it speaks directly to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and its urging them to put pressure on Canada Post to rethink it’s idea“

He said there was no public consultation by Canada Post when it made the decision to eliminate door-to-door delivery.

Charlottetown drafted its own resolution with influence from postal workers and it passed unanimously, Gaudet said.

“It’s the public’s service to lose and were here tonight to make sure the public understands we need them and this is just one step of that,” he said. “We have a lot more people to talk to but 35 million face-to-face conversations have to happen. Now is the time before it’s gone. If we don’t fight for it we’ll lose it.”

Gaudet, a letter carrier, said he speaks with people on a daily basis.

“On my individual walk, the majority of my customers are seniors in senior complex buildings and they are concerned,” he said. “They want a space to offer advice or just to hear what is really happening in the post office. We’ll be having a town hall meeting here in Summerside The date hasn’t been announced but we sill be setting a date. Residents at that point in time can come out and show their support but at the same time it’s not just to support postal workers but to fight for the public service that they deserve We’re just the means of that.”