Postal union warns of nightmare delivery season
The Christmas postal season will be "a nightmare" for Kamloops residents due to a move by Canada Post to have local letters sorted in Vancouver, according to the head of the local postal workers' union.
Beginning Nov. 4, the national postal service will no longer sort local mail in Kamloops, opting instead to ship the letters to a plant in the Lower Mainland and back again for delivery.
"If you're in Kamloops and you're sending a letter to your grandmother on the North Shore, it's now going to be shipped to Vancouver, where they can wait to get around to sorting it," said Bob Mitchell, president of the Kamloops local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.
"The delivery time will go from one day to three to four days."
Mitchell said local postal workers learned last week about the move to ship sorting duties to Vancouver.
"This is happening in locations across the country," he said. "Kelowna was also identified and, recently, I was told Merritt sortation will go to Vancouver as well."
According to Mitchell, sortation work at the Dalhousie Drive location in Kamloops employs about 10 casual workers and five full-time employees. While none of the unionized staff are in danger of losing their jobs, he said about 20 local positions haven't been filled in recent years in anticipation of cuts to the Kamloops Canada Post facilities.
Canada Post spokesman John Caines said Mitchell is wrong about the job losses.
"This change and attrition are two very separate things," he said.
"People are using us differently and we have to react to that. We're doing it by managing our people and resources better."
Caines also took issue with Mitchell's prediction about local delivery times.
"Our standard is two days local, three days provincial and four days national," he said, noting Victoria's local mail is already sorted in Vancouver. "Nothing's changing. This is an internal change for us. There will be no changes to delivery."
But, according to Mitchell, people will notice when Canada Post is put to the test in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
"Honestly, I believe this Christmas is going to be a nightmare if Canada Post follows through with this move," he said. "They can barely keep up now."
Local postal workers are wearing black armbands on Tuesday, Oct. 16, to protest the sorting move.
Mitchell said he hopes the show of solidarity will get the word out to customers.
"What we're trying to focus on is informing the public of these service reductions," he said.
"Canada Post's reason for being is to provide a service. Unfortunately, they've focused on profit over service."
CITY COUNCIL SENDING LETTER TO CANADA POST
Kamloops city council is firing a letter off to Ottawa and Canada Post regarding plans to stop sorting mail in Kamloops.
It’s a change that has Mayor Peter Milobar concerned.
“Obviously it’s jobs, but also you have that potential of local mail and regional mail needing to be shipped to Vancouver and sorted,” he said, noting he is concerned the change will lead to delays for local businesses and bill payers.
He plans to write to the federal government, as well as Canada Post, “seeking clarification” on the decision and whether it can be reversed.
“It can’t hurt to ask,” he said.