98 The Beach

98 The Beach

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Owen Sound Postal Workers Picket Today

Owen Sound | by Claire McCormack  

It is the latest in rotating walkouts all over the country.

Canada Post workers in Owen Sound are picketing outside the Post Office downtown today.

It is the latest in rotating walkouts so far affecting 70 communities all over the country.

Pay equity and improved benefits are issues for workers and the injury rate is the highest in the federal sector, which includes the mining industry.

Owen Sound Letter carrier Margaret Howey is part of the local walkout and says workers in Owen Sound are happy to picket, "Everybody's on board with the strike position."

She says letter carriers are overburdened, "We're really weighted down all day and when you're doing that for 10 or 12 hours and walking on the street it really has an impact on your health and safety issues with wear and tear on your back."

President of CUPW Local 582 Peter McHugh, represents postal workers all over Grey Bruce.

McHugh has been a letter carrier in Owen Sound for 40 years and has witnessed firsthand, a reduction in relay boxes while online shopping and cannabis orders cause an increase in the parcels they have to carry, "The last restructure that we had in Owen Sound, they took away quite a few of the old boxes," says McHugh.

He says now, "We're finding that there's a necessity to put some of them (boxes) back, and we have been successful in getting a couple. Not a lot, and not without a fight."    

Meanwhile, outside the Canada Post office downtown, Margaret Howey says the local reaction has been generally supportive. "We're having a lot of people coming with coffee and snacks a lot of people honking horns and giving a 'hurrah,' We've had a couple of people come up to us who really rely on the service and want to see this resolved."  

Negotiations have been ongoing for over ten months.

Canada Post says in a statement today  it "Remains committed to the bargaining process."

The crown corporation adds, "We have also committed to work together to address employees’ workload concerns caused by parcel growth, additional financial services and going beyond pay equity for Rural and Suburban employees by extending job security and moving to one uniform for all delivery employees."

Owen Sound workers will picket for 24 hours until midnight tonight.

Communities involved in walkouts are announced the day they happen.

It's not clear if other Grey Bruce communities will be selected to strike or when.

The latest statement from CUPW can be found HERE.

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