Many rural residents are concerned about the big impact a Canada Post strike could have on their communities.
Canada Post workers voted to strike if a deal is not reached by Sept. 26, when employees could be locked out or walk off the job.
Melissa Munroe of Calahoo said the service is still valuable in her Sturgeon County community.
“There are so many things that cannot be passed through the internet. We need a way to move small stuff through Canada, without employing American companies to do it for us. It’s important, even though its need has decreased,” Munroe said.
Some residents believe Canada Post is such an essential service it should be illegal to strike.
“I think the national mail service should be considered an essential service and it should be illegal for them to strike. This happens all the time, and it’s so frustrating. I’ve switched everything I can to e-payments and e-statements to not depend on CP anymore,” Deb Rowbotham said.
Katie Lozinski said her parents own a business and their home in Calahoo, and they would be impacted by a strike.
“I know when the strike happened before it impacted them, as Calahoo doesn’t really have a post office anymore. So my parents would be forced to go to the Morinville post office to pick up items. And items like incoming receivable cheques could definitely impact their business,” Lozinski said.
Members of the Canadian Union of Postal workers (CUPW) voted overwhelmingly to strike with 93.8 per cent of urban letter and parcel carriers and 95.9 per cent of rural and suburban carriers in favour of strike action.
Votes were carried out by locals between Aug. 7 and Sept. 9, and a strike would result in a shutdown of mail delivery.
The union is asking for a solution to a work-life balance, and also wants service expansion including postal banking and grocery delivery, and environmentally friendly delivery vehicles.
Postal workers in rural and urban areas are concerned over how they are being compensated for their work.
In urban areas, employees make an hourly wage, while in rural regions, they are paid for the size of their route, which in the end is less than what urban workers are paid hourly.
Workers are also concerned about the increasing number of packages they are delivering, while the number of letters being mailed is declining.
Some rural residents said they feel like the employees are already being compensated fairly.
“I had a friend that quit nursing because she could get paid more by delivering mail. It’s ridiculous how much they get paid for a job that is essentially a good paper delivery person’s job,” Eva Danilowich said.
If Canada Post workers strike, St. Albert Gazette subscribers who receive their newspaper through the mail will still be able to get their paper.
The Gazette will be placing street boxes in several locations for paper pickup.