Nelson asks government minister to protect post office

By Sam Van Schie – Nelson Star
Published: July 09, 2013 5:00 PM
Updated: July 10, 2013 11:28 AM

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Brenda Muscoby-Yanke, president of Canadian Union of Postal Employees local 790, made a presentation to Nelson city council last month about a campaign to save public post offices. Sam Van Schie photo

Nelson City Council is getting behind local postal workers who want to stop Canada Post from opening a new franchise location a few blocks away from the public post office.

The City will write a letter  to the Minister of State for Transportation, Steven Fletcher — who is also responsible for Canada Post — asking him to maintain and expand Nelson’s public post office, rather than opening a privately-run franchise. As well, the city will ask the minister to consult with the public, local governments and other major stakeholders to improve the Postal Service Charter and take advantage of business opportunities to ensure the sustainability of Canada Post.

"We’re very conscious that over the last number of years we’ve lost many well paid, union jobs from our community and we don’t want to lose anymore," explained councillor Donna Macdonald who brought the motion to council asking that the letter be written. Councillors unanimously supported the motion.

At a previous meeting they’d heard a presentation from the Canadian Union of Postal Employees about their campaign to save the local post office. Their presentation was part of a national initiative to maintain all existing post offices in rural communities.

CUPW local president Brenda Muscoby-Yanke had explained that Canada Post plans to open a new franchise at Highway 3A and Baker Street, which would take business away from the public post office.

"Canada Post would likely cutback hours and positions at our post office as a result, and would possibly try to close the it entirely," Muscoby-Yanke said, noting that the post office employs six full-time retail clerks who could loose their jobs as a result.

"As we know, when a small community loses well paying jobs, the community suffers — less money is spent locally, small businesses suffer, youth leave town, governments take less notice of us, and we are not as strong."

She said postal workers have suggested options for expanding the services offered at the post office — including offering banking — and are willing to work Saturdays to provide better customer service.

She was glad to hear that Nelson council was willing to support their campaign, and hopes members of the public will also write their own letters to the minister.

Canada Post is also planning to open new franchise locations in Castlegar, Trail and Grand Forks.

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