Canada Post promoted inappropriate, intimidating supervisor rather than investigate behaviour, union says
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The union representing Canada Post carriers claims a supervisor was transferred and given a promotion after employees raised allegations of inappropriate behaviour, including looking at nude photos at work.
Canada Post allegedly failed to take action when staff at a letter carrier depot in rural Manitoba began raising concerns, which allowed the supervisor’s behaviour to “flourish,” said Matthew Aitken, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Winnipeg Local 856.
“This person was allegedly bringing a lot of personal stuff into the workplace,” he said. “It’s very unbecoming of a Crown corporation to allow this type of alleged behaviour.
“The corporation’s response to these allegations has been to promote rather than investigate, from what we’re seeing.”
Aitken said the supervisor was moved to a depot in Winnipeg, and now has the title of acting superintendent, based on information from union members and Canada Post.
He alleges Canada Post has demonstrated a double standard with its handling of the situation.
If a letter carrier faced similar allegations, Aitken believes the Crown corporation’s response would have been swift and heavy-handed.
“If it was a union member, I don’t know if that person would have come back to work,” he said. “In this case, the person was coddled.”
CUPW Local 856 claims the supervisor created uncomfortable situations and caused “mental distress” to staff, who feared they would face retribution if they raised concerns to their employer.
“They were hesitant to come forward,” said Aitken.
The union claims the supervisor ruled the depot in southeastern Manitoba with a culture of intimidation and fear.
Some of the alleged behaviour was “sexual harassment in nature,” said Aitken.
The union has collected more than a dozen letters of complaint from employees who worked under the supervisor.
They allege the supervisor looked at photos of naked men on a personal smartphone in front of staff, and made comments about the appearances of the men while showing images to some employees.
The supervisor is also accused of having inappropriate phone conversations with a partner or partners within earshot of customers and staff at work.
Employees claim the supervisor also made comments about drinking alcohol while doing work duties at home.
“We’ve got multiple statements from letter carriers that talk about inappropriate conduct in the workplace,” said Aitken. “Our people were quite distressed by this behaviour.”
The union began its own investigation after receiving complaints from members.
In November, CUPW Local 856 contacted Canada Post about the allegations and requested a meeting.
Shortly afterward, the supervisor was moved to a letter carrier depot in Winnipeg and given a higher rank of acting superintendent, said Aitken.
“When we told the corporation this impropriety was going on, it was almost overnight (the individual was) promoted,” he said.
The allegations were reported to the supervisor’s manager, said Aitken.
He said human resources managers from Canada Post met with the union Dec. 16.
CUPW Local 856, which represents about 1,800 employees in Manitoba, forwarded some of the letters to the employer Dec. 17.
Aitken said some of the complaints go as far back as 2020, when some employees asked to have their sortation cases moved away from the supervisor’s desk.
It is unclear whether the corporation is investigating the allegations.
Aitken said Canada Post appears to be indifferent to the employees’ concerns.
“To see this being dragged out like this is questionable,” he said.
Canada Post and the Association of Postal Officials of Canada did not respond to messages seeking comment Friday.
APOC, which represents supervisors in postal depots, has about 3,900 members in 27 branches across Canada, according to its website.
As a general assignment reporter, Chris covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.