A mail carrier in St. John's says Canada Post's announcement that it is phasing out home mail delivery completely caught unionized workers by surprise.
"We had no knowledge that this was coming." said Craig Dyer, the chief shop steward with the St. John's branch of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.
Dyer heard the news while he was delivering mail on Water Street in downtown St. John's on Wednesday morning.
Canada Post said only a third of Canadians still have direct delivery and those customers will be switched over to community mailboxes over the next five years.
Community mailboxes not an option, says wheelchair customer
Joseph Dawson, who uses a motorized wheelchair, said Canada Post could have considered other options, such as fewer delivery days or a fee for home delivery.
"Just assuming that this solution will work for everyone is really not an accurate assessment, in my opinion."
Dawson said he chose to build a house in a subdivision in St. John's which had home mail delivery.
"I looked at the super mailbox option and looked at the inadequacy, especially in winter months. Basically it would mean several months of the year where I wouldn't reliably get my mail."
'I'll have to look for other methods of delivery.' - Joseph Dawson, wheelchair user
"For me this will be a real inconvenience, and I'll have to look for other methods of delivery."
Dyer, of the postal workers union, agreed that the cuts will create problems for customers such as Dawson.
"We have an aging population, we have a disabled community that enjoy having their mail brought to them," said Dyer.
"We as a union are promoting increasing jobs and of course, increasing service, and at the same time, the corporation is saying 'the sky is falling' and we have to make all these neccessary cuts."
Crown corporation losing millions of dollars
The latest Canada Post financial data has shown the Crown corporation lost $73 million in this fiscal year's third quarter, and revenue dropped $20 million in the first three quarters of 2013 compared to the same time frame last year.
The corporation said the changes will mean workforce cuts over the next five years, mainly through attrition.
Dyer said said Canada Post did very little consulting with the union before making these changes.
"Certain select executives were going around the country engaging the public in their agenda, and of course a lot of labour and a lot of the representatives of the union weren't invited," said Dyer.
"They said they had open forums but we don't believe that because I can speak for Atlantic Canada, none of us got invited."