By Angela Jones, a CUPW activist and Campaign Coordinator the Toronto Local
On December 11, 2013 Canada Post, with Harper’s blessing, announced their 5 point plan which included the elimination of door to door, greater privatization of postal outlets, increase in postage, introduction of new work methods and reductions in employee compensation.
The NDP and Green Party have come out for the restoration of home mail delivery to people who have lost it. In addition, most parties have gone on record as being opposed to the rate hikes and other cuts in Canada Post’s five-point plan.
The conversion of home delivery to community mailboxes (CMB) will result in significant additional costs to municipal governments. Additional costs for site review and litter are virtually a certainty. Many communities have found that increased policing costs can be very substantial, especially if the CMB thefts involve criminal organizations involved in identity theft.
There is also the likelihood that property values will be devalued resulting in reduced municipal revenues. As well, many communities have experienced additional costs such as snow removal resulting from the failure of Canada Post to adequately fulfill its commitments. Sadly, the number of people experiencing injuries resulting from slip and falls during the winter months will most likely rise, especially amongst the elderly and people with mobility issues, creating even more demand on our healthcare system.
This is our public service, the majority of Canadians are opposed to the cuts, and Canada Post has made profits 19 of the last 20 years, so if not for privatization then why are they eliminating our service. There has been no meaningful consultation in the communities that have lost or are going to lose their postal service, Canada Post refuses to adhere to municipal by-laws and the Conservative government allows them to run roughshod all over our country on lies and misinformation. We will continue with our fight
Since the announcement, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) launched the Save Canada Post Campaign that continues at full tilt to this day. CUPW members have petitioned, protested, canvassed and taken many other actions in communities from one end of the country to the other. Working with other postal unions and allies, they have garnered a huge amount of support and have succeeded in getting federal opposition parties to commit to stopping or putting a moratorium on the home mail delivery cuts, if elected.
The city of Hamilton recently introduced a by-law which would make the corporation pay a $200 fee for every community mailbox installed. The Corporation refused and it went to court where the judge sided with the Corporation, but it is now under appeal.
There are 574 resolutions to date from municipalities and advocacy groups across Canada in opposition to the elimination of door-to-door, postal cuts and the elimination of 6000 – 8000 good paying jobs that contribute back to the communities where the workers live.
And communities are fighting back. In Hamilton community members are getting involved. Two sit-ins have occurred to stop the placement of Community Mailboxes. Sit-ins have also happened in Ottawa and London. Elsewhere residents have taken to planting trees and other methods to prevent the installation of CMBs.
In Toronto the city council has voted against ending the service and is demanding that Canada Post come to them with a viable plan. Canada Post recently announced that they will preserve home mail delivery for 22,000 addresses in the downtown core.
The Toronto and York Region District Labour and CUPW have been organizing mass canvasses in support of home mail delivery across the GTA. Community groups, following the lead of residents in London, have also been organizing protests, canvasses, leaflets, petitioning throughout the city.
With the federal election looming it is imperative to get out in the communities and meet with residents. The targeting of Conservative held seats in the GTA is one of the best ways to beat Harper and the rightwing agenda.
We need to educate our communities that this is their public service and their right to voice their opinions and concerns in regards to how their service is being managed. Canada Post has not been transparent in their plan. For them to state the changes are necessary due to financial reasons is an insult to all Canadians and a flat out lie.
Canvassing has proven to be a great way to get our message out. When the public is engaged in discussions at the doors and is informed on the issue it is clear there is wide support to preserve this service. This campaign has also proven to be the easiest you’ll ever do, we aren’t selling, we are saving our public service.
I encourage everyone to get involved in their communities and start the discussions. Join community groups like Toronto for door-to-door or start your own community group. Its time the government starts to listen to the people of this country, enough is enough! We are tired of the Conservatives and Canada Post’s management taking advantage of the public and the workers, to maintain corporate greed. They need to remember they are the 1%, the other 99% are ready to fight for our rights and the rights of others, the days of corporate greed will end when we make our voices heard.