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Union wants Halifax to push envelope in response to Canada Post cuts

by Stephanie Taylor

About 100 postal workers and sympathizers rallied at the Grand Parade to demand that Halifax adds its voice to the opposition to the cuts to door to door delivery.  Photo Stephanie Taylor
Photo Stephanie Taylor
Photo Stephanie Taylor
Nova Local President Anthony Rogers speaks to the crowd.  Photo Stephanie Taylor
Photo Stephanie Taylor
Photo Stephanie Taylor

K'JIPUKTUK, HALIFAX - The doors of Halifax’s city hall may have been locked to members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers on Tuesday, but their message still made it in. 

More than 100 people gathered on the Grand Parade in front of City Hall to protest Mayor Mike Savage’s decision not to let the union address Halifax Regional Council about Canada Post’s cuts to door-to-door delivery.  

“A lot of cities across the country are stepping up to the plate and representing their constituents and we want Halifax to do the same thing,” Jeff Callaghan, national director of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers in Atlantic Canada, said in an interview Tuesday. 

“Mayor Mike Savage and Halifax City Council seem to be indifferent.”  

Michael Keefe, first vice-president of the union's Nova Local said the union was told they could not make a presentation because the issue was a federal matter and does not fall under municipal jurisdiction. 

“We don’t feel that’s democratic,” he said at the rally. 

The union has been actively working to put pressure on the city to take a stand against the ongoing changes to Canada Post--including the phase out of all door-to-door mail delivery service over the next five years--  since it was announced last December. 

Bedford and Lower Sackville are among first of 11 communities across Canada to have service cut this fall. 

Approximately 10,000 residents and small businesses will lose their door-to-door mail delivery, Callaghan says. 

It was also announced last week that parts of Armdale, Fairview, Clayton Park, Spryfield and Dartmouth will be the next communities to lose mail delivery in spring 2015.  

“As a union, yes, we’re concerned about the job losses,” Keefe explains. “But what we’re most concerned with is the service cuts, price hikes, and the fact that seniors, the differently- abled and people with mobility issues are going to be physically affected by this change.”

Callaghan wants to see leaders in Halifax join with the more than 70 other cities, towns and municipalities across Canada that have openly opposed these cuts, and have written to Lisa Raitt, the minister responsible for Canada Post, to reverse the changes. 

City councils in Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg have already made their voices heard in support of continued door-to-door delivery, he says. 

Callaghan believes that with enough public pressure from residents on the Conservative government and Canada Post, the changes can be stopped. 

Peter Stoffer, member of parliament for Sackville - Eastern Shore, spoke at the rally and agreed that people must hold the Harper government responsible for what he calls an attack on the country’s postal service. 

“We just don’t feel that there was enough consultation with the public,” Kefee says. He believes it is unfair that the voices of residents who are against Canada Post's changes are not being heard by their municipal leaders.

Keefe said a petition signed by more than 2,000 people in support of continued door-to-door delivery was given to Jennifer Watts, Councillor for Peninsula North, early Tuesday morning to present before Regional Council. 

There was no word yet on whether the letter was tabled. 

Letters with photos of damaged community mail boxes and a written request to take action have also been sent to all 16 councillors, he says. 

Callaghan says he is shocked by the unwillingness of councillors to acknowledge the gravity of the issue, but he believes there is still time --and hope -- for change.

The phase out of all door-to-door delivery was announced on December 11th, 2013 by Canada Post and the Conservative Government as a part of a new Five Point Action Plan for the postal service. Other main changes include: increasing the number of community mailboxes;  introduction of a new tiered stamp pricing system; opening of more franchise outlets and streamlining of internal operations. 

Canada Post estimates between 6,000 - 8,000 positions will be eliminated as a result of cuts to the mail delivery service. 

See also:

Dartmouth Town Hall opposes Canada Post cuts

Letter from a postal worker

The Postal Bank as the People's Bank?


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