Canada Post workers, community members, politicians and supporters packed the parking lot at the Walker Road Canada Post sorting facility to protest Canada Post’s decision to close the historic Sandwich post office as well as proposed service reductions at the sorting facility.
Upset that Canada Post “unilaterally decided to slash the jobs” and close the Sandwich town post office, Windsor West MP Brian Masse expressed to roughly 300 in attendance at the rally that the community deserved consultation. “I don’t understand the management at Canada Post would not want to reach out to a community first, before taking such egregious action.”
Masse maintains that 80 jobs will be lost at the Walker Rd. sorting facility when mail sorting is moved to London Ontario and that the closure of the Sandwich post office would hurt “seniors, persons with disabilities, students, and everyone in that area who are trying to rebuild one of the most historic areas of Canada.”
City councilors Alan Halberstadt, Ron Jones and Hillary Payne were in attendance and councilor Halberstadt expressed frustration at what he sees as Windsor being often negatively affected by government job consolidation.
“Why does it always seem to be Windsor that’s [being] consolidated?” remarked Halberstadt. “I would ask the federal government when is Windsor going to get involved … when are these jobs going to be consolidated in Windsor?”
Believing that it is important to keep the postal jobs in Windsor “not only for the sake of the workers involved … but also for the impact on the city as a whole,” councilor Payne explained that Windsor “cannot afford to lose these jobs … they feed money into the economy.”
CAW 444 president Dino Chiodo expressed that both the proposed the closure of the Sandwich post office and the change at the Walker Rd. sorting facility are examples of “the Conservative government attacking working class people because working class people are the only people that stand up for their rights [and] their dignity.”
“Since the Harper government has taken control with their Conservative majority, I think they’ve put a number of wedge issues in place dealing with [first nations, teachers, nurses, post office workers, airline workers] and what they’re doing is dividing and conquering,” stated Chiodo who went on to add that organized labour wouldn’t let Canada “become a third world country”.
Frustrated that his job as a mail service courier is affected by Canada Post’s decision, Jim Atkin questioned the point of rallies because “as good as these rallies are and make you feel, it’s not going to change anything: Canada Post is going to do what they want to do.”
Atkin doesn’t believe there to be any justification for the jobs to be transferred to London and believes that the change will result in a decrease in service in Windsor. “The first time there’s a semi rolled over on the 401, or there’s a snowstorm [and] that mail can’t come down the road … that day when we show up for work, we’ll have no mail to deliver.”
Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.