The Current

'I wasn't believed': Injured Canada Post employee describes unsafe workplace

The federal government is threatening striking Canada Post workers with back-to-work legislation as the holidays loom. But with job demands changing, and the volume of parcels becoming larger and heavier, one Canada Post worker says the job has simply become “unsafe.”

Federal government has appointed mediator to settle an ongoing Canada Post strike

Canada Post workers have been on rotating strikes since Oct. 22. They want improvements around issues such as pay equity and workplace safety. (CBC)

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As changes in technology have shifted Canada Post's focus from letter delivery to shipping bigger and heavier parcels, one worker says the job has simply become "unsafe."

Leslie injured her foot two years ago on the job, but says no one seemed to take it seriously. (Submitted)

Leslie, who has worked as a mail carrier for 19 years, told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti that she had been unwittingly working with a damaged tendon since injuring her ankle on the job two years ago.

"I worked in pain for a long time and, frankly, I wasn't believed that there was a problem," Leslie said.

"It's the kind of workplace where you've just got to suck it up and keep going," she added.

The CBC is not using Leslie's last name, because she fears she will be penalized for speaking out.

Leslie said she's also had shoulder, neck, hip, knee, and joint injuries.

She's not alone, according to the Canada Union of Postal Workers president. Twenty-five per cent of letter carriers were injured last year, said Mike Palecek.

Canada Union of Postal Workers president Mike Palecek says 25 per cent of letter carriers were injured last year. (CBC)

Palecek told CBC News that workers are striking over an "injury crisis."​

The Current asked Canada Post for an interview but did not receive a response.

Canada Post had offered a new $10-million health and safety fund it says will make the corporation a "model organization in safety." On workload, the corporation says it has proposed several measures to "work with the union to better manage employee workload and adjust routes annually for volume changes." 

The Current asked Patty Hajdu, the minister of employment, workforce development and labour, for an interview, but she was not available. The federal government announced Wednesday it was appointing a special mediator to help settle the strike.

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.

With files from CBC News. Produced by The Current's Idella Sturino and Samira Mohyeddin.


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