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Proposal for new postal franchises in Osoyoos and Oliver raises serious concerns for union
By admin on May 30, 2013
A proposal by Canada Post to establish a new dealership outlet in Osoyoos and Oliver isn’t sitting well with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).
In Oliver, town council is sending a letter to the president of Canada Post requesting the Crown corporation consult with local governments prior to any changes to postal operations.
In Osoyoos, Canada Post is trying to establish a dealership on the west side of town.
“We’ve just finished our consultation process with the union and moving on to the next step in the process,” said director of media relations Anick Losier.
But Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells said council hasn’t heard a thing about the proposal.
“I would prefer to have something official before commenting,” said Wells.
Oliver council reacted to a letter by Southern Interior MP Alex Atamanenko, who expressed concern about the new dealership outlets.
Atamanenko urged Canada Post president Deepak Chopra to reconsider this “devastating policy of privatization.”
Atamanenko fears the loss of full-time union jobs when these dealership outlets are established. He noted this will have a major impact on rural communities.
The MP urged Canada Post to work with the CUPW to see how the Oliver and other post offices can be maintained.
“Workers are paid a decent living wage and as a result contribute to the viability of our small businesses and economy in general,” Atamanenko said.
National CUPW representative Rona Eckert said the proposed retail outlets that Canada Post wants to locate near existing corporate offices will impact communities.
For one thing, it will take revenue away from corporate offices like Oliver and Osoyoos and will eventually see the demise of good-paying jobs, she pointed out.
Eckert said when someone in a corporate office quits or retires, Canada Post won’t refill that position and that is very worrisome to the union and its membership, she said.
According to Eckert, Canada Post is downsizing all corporate outlets to the point where services will be diminished, in effect, redirecting customers to the private franchises.
Eckert said corporate offices will have compartments where people can pick up their parcels via a key provided in their lock box.
Eckert noted these dealership franchises will stay open later and offer service on weekends. The union has offered to do the same, but Canada Post has refused, according to Eckert.
As far as service goes, Eckert stated that employees in these franchise outlets lack the training required to provide quality postal service.
She said the only way to fight back is through the public – contacting your MP and writing letters to Canada Post.
Atamanenko empathized with union fears that if a franchise is established within close proximity to a corporate office, this will soon justify reductions in service.
Oliver town councillor Jack Bennest expressed his fear that the days are numbered for corporate post offices like the ones in Oliver and Osoyoos.
But Anick Losier, director of media relations for Canada Post, said they are reviewing their retail network across the country to ensure they offer services when and where customers need it.
“We want to ensure our customers have convenience and continue to use our services, even though our letter mail volumes continue to decline. This is why we have a mix of corporate and dealer post offices to offer such a convenience.”
Losier said Canada Post needs to give the union a 90-day period in which it can provide a counter offer to adding a franchise outlet.
“However, it is important to clarify that in no way has a decision been made, nor has a (franchise) address been determined (or a business host for that matter),” Losier said.
He noted the corporate office in Oliver and Osoyoos will continue to operate.
“Basically, we are trying to add more access to the people (of Oliver and Osoyoos). No jobs will be compromised as our employees have job security (part of their collective agreement).”
Losier said business is changing dramatically and they are trying to evolve to customers’ changing needs as they send fewer letters but receive more parcels.
Town of Osoyoos council is expected to discuss this issue at their next meeting of council Monday, June 3.