Canada Post's plan to eliminate home delivery in cities across the country was described Tuesday night as a mean-spirited and careless assault on those who rely on the mail, especially the elderly and disabled.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers sponsored the first of what it says will be a series of rallies and meetings opposed to Canada Post's plan to phase out home delivery over the next five years.
Mary Shortall, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, said a shift to super mailboxes will mean trouble for customers with limited mobility — especially in difficult weather.
"Just close your eyes for a moment and imagine picking up mail in this city with those boxes [in] downtown St. John's last week," she said.
About 100 people turned out for the CUPW meeting at St. Teresa's parish hall in St. John's, where people were asked to sign petitions against Canada Post's cuts.
Cecil Whitten, a senior who attended the forum, took on Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra's assertion in December that a switch to super mailboxes would give older Canadians fresh air and exercise.
"As for seniors needing their exercise, yes we do, and when we are going to get it is at the next election at the ballot box," Whitten, who ran in the last municipal election, said to a cheering crowd at the forum.
Cuts go beyond shop floor
CUPW says the cuts will mean the loss of as many as 8,000 jobs, and the impact will reach beyond the shop floor.
"This is one of the biggest attacks on the federal public service in recent years, and is an attack on the citizens, the public, the workers and Canada as a whole," said CUPW representative Craig Dyer.
Meanwhile, the petition picked up support at this week's meeting at St. John's city council.
Mayor Dennis O'Keefe said the loss of door-to-door delivery will pose a hardship to some people, particularly during the winter.
"Imagine trying to get to your super mailbox all last week in the dark, in the snow and sleet," O'Keefe said.
"Whether or not you're healthy or whether or not you have a disability or whether or not you're a senior, you'd have one hell of a job trying to climb over to some of these super mailboxes. [It is] just not gonna work."
CUPW said it will continue to hold local rallies to oppose the cuts.