Canada Post workers protest lack of full-time positions
'You deserve jobs, and that's what we're going to fight for,' says the union head
Canada Post workers in St. John's protested Thursday, calling for more permanent workers to be hired, instead of continuing to rely on temporary workers.
"We're all here today to send a message to the third floor that we're tired, we're fed up and we deserve positions," Craig Dyer, shop steward with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, told protesters outside the Canada Post building on Kenmount Road.
Union executives said the issue came to a head following the monster blizzard that hit the province in mid-January. According to them, some temporary employees were not paid for missed hours of work due to the region's various states of emergencies that prevented people from leaving their homes.
Amanda Kirby was one of those employees, and has worked as a temporary employee for six years
"Snowmageddon was a real eye opener," Kirby said. "Everybody else in the plant got paid besides us temps. We're in here 40 hours a week most of us ... and nobody got any money at all."
Lisa Rowe is a full-time employee at the mail centre. She works the same job as Kirby, but makes $10 an hour more. She stood in solidarity with the temporary workers in protest.
"They're being abused and used," Rowe said.
Canada Post declines interview
Canada Post refused to do an interview with CBC News.
In an emailed statement, the corporation says its approach to paying employees "was consistent with the collective agreement and national practices."
Canada Post temp employees wrap up a lunch hour rally protesting conditions in the workplace. They say the corporation isn’t filling vacated positions despite their calculations which show enough temp hours for 14 full time jobs. <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCNL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBCNL</a> <a href="https://t.co/eW29HcKY9L">pic.twitter.com/eW29HcKY9L</a>—@cecilhaire
Canada Post says it kept the union in the loop, once the state of emergency was lifted, when it came to trying to clear the backlog of mail to be delivered, keeping employees safe, and how compensation would be handled.
"We are working with the union on a new schedule and strategies that balance making better use of our full-time employees while still offering our temporary workers fair and balanced hours of work," the statement read.
Dyer told protesters the battle with Canada Post is not over.
"Our mandate is simple. You deserve jobs, and that's what we're going to fight for."
Big backlog of undelivered mail
Earlier this month, both sides agreed the fierce weather has caused significant delays in delivering the mail.
However, Dyer said Canada Post could be doing more.
"Canada Post is not doing their part," he told CBC News at the time.
"We still have areas in St. John's and Mount Pearl that are not getting mail because the community mailbox is still buried. There's people that haven't received mail in three weeks because the corporation hasn't dug them out. We understand [it was the] snowstorm of the century, but it shouldn't take three weeks to clear these sites out."
Canada Post spokesperson Phil Legault said it wasn't just the days during the blizzard where mail delivery was halted, and it was done so with the safety of mail carriers in mind.
"It's our utmost responsibility to keep our employees safe," he said at the time.
With files from Cec Haire