The largest Canada Post retail outlet in St. John’s did not open on Christmas Eve, and a local president with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) is blaming management for failing to have a plan in place to provide relief to staff.
“They knew it was coming, they knew it was a busy week, and they didn’t put the staff in place that they required,” said Mike McDonald, president of CUPW Local 126.
According to McDonald, two of the three front-line workers at Station A on Kenmount Road were scheduled to take Christmas Eve off. McDonald said the third person used an “urgent personal day” Tuesday.
McDonald said the union typically meets with management to discuss the Christmas season and potential staffing issues.
“This year when we sat down and talked, we asked what was happening with the retail, and there was no consultation whatsoever with regards to ... retail staffing,” he said.
Last year on Christmas Eve, McDonald said Station A operated with one retail staff person who was swamped with work as a steady stream of customers showed up looking for packages. Some interactions verged on harassment, he added, from people who became upset to learn overdue packages had not arrived or were not available for pick up.
“Most times, Station A absolutely becomes swamped with people coming up to the main building wanting to know if their packages are there that didn’t make it out to them. People are coming to get the last-minute stuff from their boxes in the station.”
Given that experience, Canada Post should have prioritized having a plan in place to provide service on Christmas Eve, according to McDonald.
“If you know Christmas is coming and you know that you need the extra staff, why wouldn’t you make them available,” he asked rhetorically.
Canada Post recently announced plans to eliminate home mail delivery in urban centres.