Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Chill cited in postal delays

Carriers staying home with children due to closures: Canada Post

  • Print
Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press Files
Delays have prompted a battle of words between the union and Canada Post.

MELISSA TAIT / WINNIPEG FREE PRE Enlarge Image

Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press Files Delays have prompted a battle of words between the union and Canada Post.

Neither snow nor rain, eh? Nobody said anything about frigid cold freezing the mail in its tracks.

But that's apparently what's happened in Winnipeg.

Canada Post officially blamed delays in mail delivery Monday on the Arctic front with -50 wind chills that have gripped the country from the Maritimes to the Rockies.

Seems with school buses idle, some schools staying closed and daycares shutting, letter carriers are booking off time to look after their kids at home and mail delivery is suffering as a result, said John Caines, a senior Canada Post spokesman, in an email yesterday.

'We had one call from someone on a St. Boniface route. They haven't had mail delivery since before Christmas'

-- Ben Zorn, president of the Winnipeg local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers

Canada Post is reassigning carriers to pick up the slack and promised routes that weren't delivered Monday will be delivered today, Caines added.

One union leader dismissed management's rationale as weak and nearly laughable.

Ben Zorn, president of the Winnipeg local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said Canada Post makes it sound as if they've never heard of Christmas holidays or the elaborate contingency plans the two sides cover off in every union contract for absenteeism.

"I haven't heard of any greater number of people than usual booking off to take care of children," Zorn said.

The union leader also insisted delays are a lot worse than the corporation is letting on.

"We've taken calls from carriers who say they have two or three days worth of mail to deliver from last week and we had one call from someone on a St. Boniface route. They haven't had mail delivery since before Christmas," Zorn said.

The union leader said the spate amounts to a war of words at an especially tense time in the history of Canada's postal service.

He dismissed a suggestion letter carriers are reacting to Canada Post's mid-December announcement to phase out home delivery entirely in five years. They're protesting proposed cuts by delivering information pamphlets and window signs in Old St. Vital, an area represented by Conservative MP Shelly Glover.

Across Winnipeg, meanwhile, residential customers hit Twitter to punch out their irritation.

One sample exchange Monday saw a man tweet a parcel he's waited for since Dec. 29 has yet to be delivered.

Not so, says Canada Post.

"I can assure you that there is no route or business than has not been delivered for one week," Caines said.

"Our practice is when a route is not delivered one day, it is delivered the following business day and we've been managing this very closely," Caines added.

Whatever the reason for the delay or the length of wait, it is true mail is late in parts of Winnipeg, beyond those cited Monday in parts of the downtown and south end of the city.

And that's due to the cold, Canada Post insisted.

"We've had to deal with extreme weather conditions all across the country since Dec. 1; everything from heavy snowfall, freezing rain, icy conditions and severe wind chills. Planes need to be de-iced, trucks (are) going off the road and some roads have been closed for long periods of time. Despite these challenges, we have kept the network moving and delivered the mail," Canada Post spokesman Caine said.

As for the saying about snow and sleet, the inscription -- "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" -- can be found on the James Farley Post Office in New York City. It's a translation from ancient Greek and, according to Wikipedia, it described the Persian postal system of mounted riders from 500 BC. Snow's rare in the Middle East.

alexandra.paul@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 7, 2014 B3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

In the Key of Bart: Can’t It Be Nice This Time?

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE.DEAL@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 110621 - Tuesday, June 21, 2011 -  Doug Chorney, president Keystone Agricultural Producers flight over South Western Manitoba to check on the condition of farming fields. MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
my2011poy
  • Two Canada geese fly Wednesday afternoon at Oak Hammock Marsh- Front bird is banded for identification- Goose Challenge Day 3- - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Now that the snow is mostly gone, what are your plans?

View Results

Ads by Google