Rotating Canada Post strike hits Durham region

As part of the rotating strikes across Canada, hundreds of Canada Post workers in Durham walked off the job on Monday, halting mail service in parts of the region.

Canada Post couriers in Oshawa and Pickering, Ont., have stopped delivering mail as the Canadian Union of Postal Workers tries to push Canada Post to better its employees’ working conditions, among other demands, as part of a new contract.

“We want to get paid a decent wage,” said John Lawrence, secretary-treasurer of the CUPW’s Oshawa branch, who was among the dozens of people picketing outside of Canada Post’s Ritson Road North location Monday.

“I work 10 to 12 hours a day,” Shiela Riddell, a Canada Post letter carrier, said on the picket line. “(I) don’t get to see my son play hockey in the evening.”

The striking couriers at the Oshawa branch serve not only the city but areas across the region, and they are delaying service to Port Perry and Clarington.

Carol Shewchuk, an Oshawa resident, says the mail disruption is putting a stop to one of her annual family traditions.

“My nephew is 30 and married,” she said. “He waits for my Halloween card.”

“I said to them… ‘Did you get your Halloween cards?’ And they said, ‘Not yet.’ But, I said: ‘Maybe next Halloween.’”

Another Oshawa resident, Barbara Martin, says she relies on Canada Post to receive her bills in the mail.

“We need to have good postal service,” she said.

“I need Canada Post,” said Nick Hadfield, who also lives in the city. “I use it for ordering online… anything I need to bring in for my sister, like contacts.”

Lawrence says he is unsure of when his local members will stop striking but insists that part of the reason they are asking for a pay increase is because they have seen an increase in the demands of the job.

“We’re as busy as we ever have been,” said Lawrence. “We’re working as long as we ever have been.”

“Our bags are heavier than they’ve ever been,” he added, referring to an increase in parcels that Canada Post couriers have to deliver because of online shopping.

As long as the Pickering staff, who are represented by the Scarborough branch of the CUPW, are on strike, they are also halting mail service to the entire city.

In a statement released Monday, the president of the Scarborough branch, Mike Duquette, said this strike will last 24 hours.

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