‘Wore out from long mail routes’ - union

Josh Pennell
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The old adage may list off rain and snow as things that won’t hamper postal delivery, but local mail carriers are fed up with working into the night trying to get their new routes finished.

They held a protest today outside the Canada Post building on Kenmount Road.

“Our workers are frustrated and our routes need to be fixed,” Craig Dyer — president of Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) Local 126 told The Telegram following the protest.

Since the restructuring of routes in October that involved putting in the new community mailboxes in much of the city, workers say they have been pumping in large amounts of overtime daily to get their routes completed. According to Dyer, their eight- or nine-hour days have ballooned to 10-plus and they aren’t improving as people get used to the routes. Health and safety is becoming a worry for the union as exhausted workers are still on the job well after dark, he says. Despite raising the issue, Dyer claims nothing worthwhile has been done.

“The future doesn’t look good to have our problems alleviated. They’ve sent down many corporate people down to look at St. John’s to no avail. They haven’t fixed anything,” Dyer said.

Disciplinary action has also been taken against carriers for not getting their routes done, he says.

Using his route as an example, Dyer explains the issue. Prior to restructuring, he delivered door-to-door to 470 houses, which he could reasonably get done in a regular day. Now he works in the Kilbride area and has 1,500 houses which are taken care of through about 70 community mailboxes that he has to visit daily. The 37 stops he makes to visit community mailboxes in a given area means less walking than previous, but after months of doing the route, it simply can’t be completed without putting in daily overtime hours.

“It’s impossible,” he says.

John Caines with Canada Post media relations, told The Telegram from Ottawa that the changes made in October were done to national standards.

“Change is difficult,” he said, adding that in this instance especially it could be difficult to adapt originally to the changes because the Christmas season and the extra workloads that come along with it for postal carriers arrived right on the heels of the new routes being introduced.

“Now that we’re back to a normal volume, we’re gonna look at the whole process together,” Caines said.

“Whatever problems we identify, we’ll address them then.”

Caines said that process will begin as soon as possible.

Dyer has been told the routes are going to be looked at next week and something will be done.

“I don’t really believe it, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt,” he said.

Dyer said similar issues with completing new routes are being experienced in Charlottetown, P.E.I. and Halifax, N.S.

There are still about 11,000 houses in the St. John’s and Mount Pearl areas that have door-to-door delivery.


Organizations: Canada Post, Canadian Union, Postal Workers

Geographic location: Kenmount Road, Kilbride, Charlottetown P.E.I. Halifax Mount Pearl

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Recent comments

  • Bill
    January 10, 2016 - 19:26

    First off, the public doesn't know what they're talking about. (&)BTW, it's not tax dollars that pay CP employees wages. CP is a cash cow for the Gov't, and only when the CEO (Captain Bligh) shut the post office down, did they lose money. There is a branch of Mail Carriers called RSMC's that have been the 'guinee pigs' for the CMB delivery and henceforth the conversion for Letter Carriers. They've been dealing with this for years, with no overtime pay, in fact not even extra hours pay. They are paid according to a fraudulent formula which in the majority of cases leaves them underpaid on a daily basis. Until recently, they did not receive benifits, and even now, less than letter carriers. Same Union, different contract. There are many other inequities as well. The current Postal Service is feeding the public inacurrate information about mail volumes etc...and are constantly playing a political game to undermine the Postal workers in the Public Eye. This is just the tip of the ice-berg, but I will say that this company in it's current state damages people, emotionally, physically and psycologically. Now, Management....that's a different story altogether. If you think mail carriers, both Letter Carriers & RSMC's (Rural and Suburban Mail Carrier's) have it easy, then you don't know what you're talking about. Try it for awhile. The work load is far too much and at Christmas, it IS impossible.

  • sam
    January 10, 2016 - 09:02

    I work in Alberta my work week is 80hrs plus I would come hone tomorrow and work 60 hrs a week to be able to sleep in my own bed.

  • Errol
    January 08, 2016 - 20:57

    The answer to home delivery is easy. No one gets important mail anymore...few write letters, financial transactions don't even require a trip to the bank. Bills are delivered electronically, and paid the same way. Just cut home delivery of mail to two days a week...or even one, as far as I am concerned. Parcels will still be delivered as usual...that's all I am interested in.

  • Doug
    January 08, 2016 - 19:50

    Let's be realistic here. The main issue is that postal "workers" are not used to having to put in an honest day's work and now that they are expected to for once, they can't handle it.

    • frank
      January 12, 2016 - 00:19

      Really? And I suppose you have done their job first-hand? Quite a dumb comment on your part, to say the least!!!

    • frank
      January 12, 2016 - 00:19

      Really? And I suppose you have done their job first-hand? Quite a dumb comment on your part, to say the least!!!

  • Postal workers wife
    January 08, 2016 - 17:41

    These comments make me sick. Why do we, as a people, have to tear everyone else down? My husband is a mail carrier and is one of the most hardworking men I know. He is certainly not afraid of a hard days work. If you were hired for a 40hr a week job and because of changes a company is making, you are forced to work 50to60hrs a week would you be happy about it? This overtime is not a volunteer overtime. Carriers have been given warning about disciplinary action if they don't get their route (which in most cases have increased two and three fold) done after their 8hr shift. My husband doesn't see our kids two to three evenings a week because he has to work 2 and 3 hrs past his scheduled shift. There are single parents who are risking disciplinary action because they leave at the end of an 8hr shift to pick up their children. Their is no concern for employee safety and well being.

    • Hold On Now
      January 09, 2016 - 13:49

      It's true. Times at the corporation are tough these days and yes the workload is becoming almost unbearable. I agree only because I'm on the inside too and I'm seeing these changes firsthand. I don't doubt your husband is a hard working man but you have to admit we've had it pretty good up to now; short hours, outside in fresh air all the time and getting exercise as a benefit. Having to now do a full days work I see as only fair now. These 50-60 hour work weeks will soon become a solid 40 hour week once we buck down and brace ourselves for an honest days work. I, for one, am not looking forward to that. I accept we work for an entity whose primary concern is the bottom line so I don't expect any regard for employee safety or well being. That is regrettably, the reality. We do after all work for a corporation. Oh well I guess this is a hard fact of having had it so easy for so long. This was always in the back of my mind that the day would come when the bubble burst and the easy ride would come to an end. I just never imagined it would come during my time. Oh well just another 4 years to work....if I last that long;)

  • jealous people
    January 08, 2016 - 16:24

    The workers are giving us a heads up about problems with our mail delivery. They don't want the overtime they want enough time to do their jobs which would actually save us money!! Why do people with lesser means take every opportunity to put down unionized workers(I am not in a union)? Do you really think big business would be paying any of us a living wage without unions? Did you see the amount of money the CEO of Canada Post makes? A lot more than a mail carrier that happens to be our neighbour that's for sure but you'll rag on an ordinary worker like ourselves, those of us that work that is. We should be backing them up not tearing them down. Though many of us may may not be earning the same as a unionized worker we wouldn't have days off, a few paid holidays a year, safe working conditions & the right to be treated with respect as a worker. Those benefits we have were won for us by organized labour. We'll all suffer without their efforts on workers behalf. It's greed at the top you should be concerned with not the average Joe.

  • Ross Goodwin
    January 08, 2016 - 15:36

    "Wore out"? Well, at least postal workers haven't lost there sense o' humor. In addition to recommending that carriers "take their time", I'm guessing the union explained that if they 'accidentally' left the door of a community mailbox open every now & then, they would not be disciplined... more likely their chances of a promotion would be inexplicably enhanced! Anyway, 'tis nice to see the employees not having to deal with unspeakable boredom anymore. No one wants to go back to when a carrier would sit in the mail truck in Churchill Square most of the afternoon, feeding the pigeons & readin' the newspaper... well, ALMOST no one. :)

  • graveyard shift
    January 08, 2016 - 14:12

    go away postal workers, you make me sick. I just came off a 12 hour night shift job. I can't complain or I will be out the door.

    • Dolf
      January 08, 2016 - 15:37

      You were paid overtime I'd say. If it was a regular occurrence and involuntary then a union would have intervened for you.

    • Craig Dyer
      January 08, 2016 - 21:43

      I'm sorry you can't complain....maybe you should get a union. I signed on for 8 hours per day...40 hours per week. The overtime that I'm working is one of the jobs Canada Post delete.. and that's not right......cheers Craig

  • the pony express
    January 08, 2016 - 13:50

    you union clowns wanted a red wave, you got your wish and voted for JT, so now live with it, or maybe the corporation is right. more super mail boxes will fix the problem.

  • fedup taxpayer
    January 08, 2016 - 13:43

    quit your whining, you can't blame harper now, your beloved liberals rule the country. do your job what we pay you to do, if not 2 words sum it up. "YOUR'E FIRED".

  • paul
    January 08, 2016 - 13:40

    The poor overworked (and overpaid) mailmen. They now have to work more than a five hour day (for which they were paid 8 hrs).

  • Kat
    January 08, 2016 - 13:29

    My opinion!!! I say fire the works of them, and give the jobs to people who are not afraid of working. Unions are only making these people lazier than what they already are. If they can't do the job, give it up and let someone who can do it.

    • Your Boss
      January 08, 2016 - 14:27

      Get back to work, you slacker or your fired!

  • Polly Watcher
    January 08, 2016 - 13:06

    There's an easy fix for this - convert them all to community mailboxes.

    • Dolf
      January 08, 2016 - 13:39

      I agree mail delivery by the Post Office ain't what it used to be. But some of the idiotic comments here are juvenile. As for Polly Watcher let me enlighten your needle pointed head, I have to contend with one of those boxes and to say there are times it's challenging is putting it mildly.

    • what a needle head
      January 08, 2016 - 14:17

      poor dolf, can't get the key in the hole.

  • Stev
    January 08, 2016 - 11:43

    Give me a break. You can't win with postal workers. Complain much??? If you don't like your job... Quit! It's that easy. But the whining has to stop.

  • david
    January 08, 2016 - 11:31

    Maybe we should just pay these folks to sit in their living rooms in their underwear, open a few pieces of mail a day and call the recipients up and read it to them over the phone...or is that too much to ask too? Would they complain their ears then hurt from holding the handset?

    • Dolf
      January 08, 2016 - 14:22

      Did you vote david? Gawd! I hope not.

  • james
    January 08, 2016 - 11:07

    Consider your self lucky you have a job and stop crying ,Government workers can never get enough