KAMLOOPS — Bright and early this morning, Kamloops postal workers headed out to the picket lines as part of the rotating 24-hour postal walkouts.
Tricia Nauss is the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) first vice-president of the Kamloops Local 758. She says residents in Kamloops, Merritt, Chase and Cache Creek won't be receiving any mail today as the union and Canada Post have yet to ratify an agreement.
"It's important because we want Canada Post to negotiate a contract. They are digging their heels in and they're not willing to negotiate," Nauss says. "We're hoping (an agreement) is going to happen and until we start seeing process or get an actual tentative agreement we're going to be rotating strikes."
Nauss says better health, safety and hours is top priority for postal workers, who have seen an increase in parcel delivery volume over the past four years.
"A lot of our workers here are working 10 to 12 hours a day because parcel volume — which is great and we appreciate — has gone up so much, but the way we deliver and our routes have not changed," she says. "We're still back in 2014 when we used to get 10, maybe 15 parcels a day now we're getting upwards of 100 that we have to deliver to the door."
Nauss says workers can't say no to overtime hours anymore, which takes a toll on members. She says higher injury rates among postal workers can be blamed partly on the longer hours, which lead to more fatigue.
With winter just around the corner, Nauss says it's important for better negotiations or a tentative agreement to be put in place in order to further reduce risk of injury.
"They're so overworked, they're so overburdened. I mean it's hard doing 12 hours a day every day of the week. It takes a toll. Then they wonder why we have higher injury rates. It's because your body starts to get so tired that things happen, but we need a proper eight hour day."
Kamloops is one of several Interior cities hit by the rotating strike today (Nov. 8), including Penticton, Vernon, Cranbrook, Quesnel and Williams Lake. This is the first walkout in Kamloops since CUPW started the strikes to try and force a new agreement with Canada Post.
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