Since 2006, Canadians have sent one billion less letters.
With this statistic in mind, Canada Post is looking for less expensive ways to service its customers.
And it may come at a cost to local postal workers.
In February, Canada Post issued a letter of notification to CUPW (Canadian Union of Postal Workers) Local 842, citing its intent to open a privately owned postal franchise in downtown Trail.
“Basically Canada Post has put us on notice that a private franchise office will be opened,” said Ed Evans, CUPW Local 842 president for Trail and Rossland.
“This means it will be independently owned with non-union personnel working there.”
In an interview with the Trail Times on Thursday, Anick Losier, media relations for Canada Post, said the corporation is undergoing some significant changes because people are not using mail the same way they used to.
“When we look at Trail, we do have a corporate post office which serves our customers well and we want that to continue,” she said.
“I understand the union’s concerns, but our business has changed dramatically.
“We need to be mindful about cost factor in everything we do, which is why the franchise model enables us to offer more services, but not at the same cost.”
Evans countered that the union can see that the next step will be the closure of Canada Post’s front counter.
“What we see in the long term plan is that they will be closing the front wicket of the post office and the franchise would take over that end of the business.”
Evans said this would mean the loss of four full-time union positions.
“Where the union stands right now, is that the Canadian postal charter is under review again.”
He said it is the union’s mandate to notify the public and ask for support of the local post office.
Evans explained that the union will be delivering a card to every house in Trail, informing residents of the impending change.
“Look for the card, fill it out and mail it postage free,” he said.
“Let the review board know that we want to keep our post office in this town.”
Losier explained that Canada Post’s outlook is not currently rosy.
“Our system is emptier that it used to be.
“This company was built on letters and an affluence of letters across the country,” she said.
“Especially since 2008, with the introduction of the tablet (Apple), we have seen an acceleration in decline of letters, and revenue loss.
“People are not sending as many letters or buying as many stamps as they used to.”
She said that for now, “our” people have job security; but they are looking at a projected $6 billion dollar deficit in the pension plan by 2020.
“These employees could be at risk and we need to make some smart decisions.”
Losick confirmed that a letter of intent to open a private franchise in downtown Trail was issued to the union on Feb. 6.
She explained that the union has an opportunity, within 90 days, to offer another option that would be viable and cost-effective.
“That 90-day period ends on May 6 (Monday), and to my knowledge we haven’t yet received a counter proposal.”