Editor’s note: This is a letter to Squamish’s mayor and council. It was forwarded to The Chief for publication.
In January, Canada Post informed us they are considering downsizing the post office on 38064 Cleveland Ave. as part of a review which aims at going to a “smaller retail model” for Canada Post-run retail outlets.
As of right now the Squamish Post Office employs four full-time positions, two part-time positions, two term positions and four RSMC routes which service a large part of Squamish and its surrounding areas. We service areas from Furry Creek to Brackendale from our office.
These positions are not contracted-out positions. They are part of our CUPW membership with their own collective agreement with decent wages, pensions and working conditions which recognize health and safety as well as employee rights. These employees invest in the community, they purchase items in Squamish and benefit the overall economy.
This new model would make our post office into little more than a hole in the wall with only one remaining one point-of-sales register. When Canada Post first implemented this new model in Chatham, Ont., it cut the size of the post office in half and eliminated
1 1/2 positions. This left one clerk and frustrated customers who have complained about long wait times. This does not bode well for revenue at this office and obviously a lot of the frustration is taken out on the clerks, not Canada Post.
The financial viability of our post office and service levels are likely to decline if Canada Post decides to make our post office smaller. Furthermore, if revenue goes down, the corporation could argue that our local post office should close.
The shrinking and closing of offices is part of Canada Post’s strategy to reduce cost and encourage or force people to go to a private-sector outlet such as a Shoppers Drug Mart. These aren’t regular Canada Post employees as the public may believe, but employees hired by the drug store chain. As a rule, these postal counters are not as reliable, and ironically the mail is picked up by one of our members, usually a rural route carrier, and is brought back to the local office to be sorted and processed — which as is the case here in Squamish. Their postal employees tend to come and go frequently and many of the operators are not happy with Canada Post and are not making enough money and they receive sporadic reduced training. In addition, these offices are not as accountable to Canada Post as their focus is on retail and pharmaceutical items and the post office is just an add on business.
Instead of downsizing, downgrading and closing public post offices, Canada Post should expand and leverage its retail network like Australia Post is doing. It could also add new revenue-generating services such as postal banking, which has proved to be a money maker in other countries. There are options Canada Post could consider instead of undermining a post office that has always been such an important part of our community.
We, the CUPW members in Squamish, want the district and the public to be informed about what exactly this is about and keep our downtown post office serving you and being a large part of our community as it always has.
The public in the Squamish area deserve first-class postal service, not some downgraded and inferior service. Canada Post should provide a level playing field for both customers and businesses in the communities and not focus all its services in larger centers.
Canadian Unions Of Postal Workers