The president of the Kamloops local representing postal workers says MP Cathy McLeod is the reason for the planned downsizing of the service counter at the downtown post office.
Bob Mitchell of CUPW Local 758 said that post office is being shrunk from three staff at a counter to one person behind a service window by Nov. 15.
City council wrote Canada Post and McLeod earlier this week to object to the change.
Mitchell said the reason for that reduction is McLeod’s survey that he felt was based on misleading information from the Conference Board of Canada.
Canada Post’s annual report for 2012 shows although it made money up until 2011, when it took a loss, it was back in the black in 2012, he said.
“She misled the public into thinking Canada Post was in financial trouble,” he said.
“Canada Post paid for a Conference Board of Canada report and it sits on that board. . . . In 2012, it said we would lose $250 million and we actually made $128 million.”
(What Mitchell didn’t note was that the report states Canada Post would have lost millions in 2012 if not for non-cash, non-receiving adjustments made in staff sick leave and post-retirement health benefits.)
He said at the start of this year, Canada Post had a list of 50 communities where post offices would be changed over to the new service centre model and Kamloops wasn’t one of them.
After McLeod’s survey showing a willingness for service reductions, the downtown Kamloops post office is now slated for change, he said.
“Within two months of McLeod saying she’ll be sure Canada Post is aware that they can strip services in Kamloops, the post office hears her and comes in with this reduction,” said Mitchell.
“Which member of Parliament works actively against their riding?”
McLeod said the survey was answered by about 500 riding constituents.
“The decision has nothing to do with the survey that was done. It’s completely unrelated. I believe it’s my job as a member of Parliament to do the best of my ability to understand how constituents feel about issues,” she said Thursday.
“It was clear that Canada Post has challenges they’re facing and I think it’s important people have input into those changes, what’s reasonable, what’s not reasonable.”
While she would have liked to have more responses, she still felt the survey was an indication of how her constituents feel.
Her information from Canada Post is that Kamloops has five outlets, and the volume determines what the service will be.
“Canada Post in terms of operational decisions they need to make going forward, it’s their jurisdiction and free from federal political interference,” she said.
“They certainly indicated to me that there is a lot of sites within Kamloops itself, they quoted five or six postal outlets all within fairly close range of each other, and indicated the volume was such that this was OK.”
Canada Post spokesman John Caines said the entire network is under review.
“Our business model has to change, the union knows that.”
Letter volumes in Kamloops are down, and so the downtown outlet is being changed, he said.
“We’re not going from three (staff) to one. We’re adjusting the service to meet the needs of the customer. We do surveys all the time in our markets, we know what the traffic patterns are,” he said.
Caines said business has dropped at the downtown post office, but when asked for specific figures, he couldn’t provide them, claiming it was proprietary information.
He also disagreed with Mitchell’s claim that there was a list of communities where post offices were being changed to the new service centre model.
“There is no specific list. Every post office is being reviewed.”
The new service centre model, which consists of a window in the wall instead of a counter, allows employees to do other work when there are no customers.
“The window — it allows us to maximize our employees’ time better. They can be behind the counter, nothing’s out on display so no one has to be there all the time.”