Safe Working Conditions For Canadian Postal Workers During COVID19 Crisis

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Postal workers are on the frontlines providing an essential service to help Canadians navigate the COVID-19 (C19) crisis; they should be supported to do it as safely as possible without needlessly jeopardizing themselves or public safety.

According to the World Health Organization, C19 can live on surfaces between a few hours and a few days, as well as incubate within a person up to 14 days without that person showing symptoms (source). Until definitively proven otherwise by global health authorities, any postal service operating without active, sufficient C19 safety measures should be considered a health risk to postal workers, their families, and the public.

Postal workers are scared and frustrated that Canada Post Corporation (CPC) is obstructing implementation of basic C19 safety protocol as requested by their union (source). CPC is instructing their national spokesperson, Jon Hamilton, to actively minimize the lack of proper C19 safety protocol in place for frontline postal workers to ensure their safety (source @ 0:46). While it is likely that C19 will die on product shipping over many days, this ignores the reality that a crowded, unsanitary processing work environment (e.g. ~600 workers split over three 3 shifts) can contaminate product that is transferred within a few hours to crowded, unsanitary delivery depots (e.g. ~1400 delivery agents split between 8 facilities), where potentially contaminated product and delivery personnel then spread out into the public.

Two CPC facilities have already suspended processing and delivery due to C19 contamination (St John's, NFLD & North Bay, ON). To prevent this pattern from repeating, the highest possible safety standards are necessary for all levels of CPC operations to reduce the potential for our postal service to become a contagion network spreading C19.

All said, we, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to support the efforts, and demands, of frontline postal workers and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) for the following:

  1. To implement, in a timely manner, the best work practices and facility standards for postal workers to minimize the spread of C19 among other postal workers, their families, and the public;
  2. To task third-party health experts, as agreed upon by CUPW and the Prime Minister's office, to audit CPC operations and implement timely changes that will allow postal processing and delivery to maintain safety standards reducing, as much as possible, the spread of C19;
  3. To, as a last resort, refuse unsafe working conditions should CPC remain unresponsive to the safety concerns of postal workers.