featured Labour

Postal workers, like all essential workers, deserve our respect

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – We are heading towards an unfortunate anniversary, almost an entire year of the pandemic has passed. The rise of Covid-19 variants suggests that what we thought would be a brief change to our day-to-day lives may well become our new reality for much longer.

As this pandemic drags on, our use of Canada Post continues to rise to meet the needs of folks who no longer go out and purchase items in stores. Sadly, what also continues to rise is the violence and harassment directed at postal workers. 

The increase in parcels and items delivered through the postal system understandably has caused some delays, further aggravated by a management that continuously lowers service standards in order to meet its bottom line. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) demands improvements to the service and will continue to do so, however, whatever the reason for the delays to your mail, parcels and items, it is not the workers’ fault. 

Like every other essential worker, postal workers have been working under tremendous stress throughout the pandemic. We have all seen the videos and news stories of workers being attacked by angry customers, for enforcing covid protocols, or for just simply doing their jobs. Postal workers are no exception, and have been yelled at, harassed and threatened for all the wrong reasons. 

Members of the public have berated postal workers for not having their parcels, or for enforcing safety rules while servicing them at the Canada Post corporate retail counters or at their homes. Postal workers have also been named and shamed on social media for not having someone’s parcel to them quick enough; and all of this is unacceptable. Workers deserve to feel safe doing all aspects of their jobs. 

Postal workers, like all essential workers, deserve respect and gratitude for providing essential services daily and continuously since the start of the pandemic. They do so while dealing with their own fears regarding the virus and doing their best to protect the health and safety of the public, their co-workers and their families. 

As we head towards the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are asking that members of the public not take their frustrations out on workers. We understand this pandemic is dragging on and it is having negative effects on every aspect of our lives, but people should not be taking that out on workers. We need to support one another and we need people to stop harassing, threatening, bullying and shaming workers who continue to do the best they can under very stressful circumstances. 

What we need to do collectively is to continue to support all essential workers by demanding better protections, wages, rights and leaves, helping workers join unions, and we need to continue to give our support by showing them the respect and dignity they deserve. Today and always. 

Toni MacAfee is an Education & Organization Officer, CUPW Atlantic Region

See also: Toni MacAfee: As the planet heats up, Canada Post is asleep at the wheel

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