Alberni courier to benefit as postal strike poised

As Canada Post workers poised to go on strike Thursday, one business in the Alberni Valley is getting ready to pick up the slack.

Postal workers were to start strike action on June 2 after issuing 72-hour strike notice on Monday. Negotiations with Canada Post were ongoing as the News went to press.

“The negotiations haven’t advanced and everyone is posturing right now,” Canadian Union of Postal Workers spokesperson Ken Mooney said.

The sticking points in negotiations are reduced short-term sick leave benefits and entry-level wages.

The company’s demands would leave employees with no short-term injury wage-loss protection, and new employees making between minimum and current wage, Mooney said.

In Port Alberni, Canada Post operates three postal outlets and employs 37 letter carriers.

Mail is triaged and sorted in urban centres, like Port Alberni.

A strike will paralyze the mail system locally and abroad.

“My understanding is that no mail will move,” said Canada Post spokesperson Anik Losier.

Government cheques will be delivered, Mooney said.

British Columbians are on the verge of receiving a mail-in HST referendum, which could be affected.

Don Main, communications manager with Elections B.C., which is administering the referendum, says they can adjust deadlines accordingly to ensure all residents have enough time to respond to the referendum.

“Should a postal strike occur, then Elections B.C. will look at when it happens in the process, at what point of the process we’re at in the referendum and how it’s affected,” he said. “We’ll make that decision when it happens.”

Port Alberni residents won’t be without options for their postal needs.

Local courier business Total Delivery Systems is readying to absorb extra business resulting from a strike.

“We’ve noticed a 20 per cent increase in business already,” operations manager Sharon Schwartz said. “People sent things that can’t wait like birthday cards.”

The business carries everything from letters and packages for DHL and FedEx, and it’s also an authorized agent for Tiger and Same Day Right Away.

Sending mail by courier is more expensive but it works.

“We don’t go all over Canada but we get things where they need to go,” Schwartz said.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com