Injuries mount among posties

Hidden ice and high windrows make it a bad winter for mail carriers, with many suffering injuries from slips and falls.

Hidden ice and high windrows make it a bad winter for mail carriers, with many suffering injuries from slips and falls.

Rose Johnson, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Red Deer Local 818, said some mail delivery in the Red Deer region is being delayed because of carrier vacancies on certain routes.

“There’s trouble with staffing because there are so many injuries.”

While the injured carriers are off recuperating, Canada Post management is not always replacing them, said Johnson. She isn’t sure why, but said it becomes an issue when letters don’t go out on the same day.

The remaining letter carriers are wearing cleats on their boots and doing their best to carry on, despite the snowy and icy conditions. Johnson knows of some who are working overtime to fill in on other routes.

“Yes, mail delivery has suffered,” added Johnson, who mentioned windrows and icy sidewalks as being particular hazards.

Canada Post carriers have the right not to deliver mail to addresses with unsafe walkways, but this sometimes creates hardship, especially for older residents.

Patricia Cargill, 61, of Glendale, said she uses a cane and can’t shovel the walk. Her husband usually does the job, but he recently had surgery and can’t manage it either.

This week, the local letter carrier told Patricia that their mail would not be delivered until her walkway was clear.

The Cargills feel caught in a dilemma. Patricia said some of her neighbours are away and can’t help out, while her husband is unwilling to pay someone to do the job on principle. “He said all the streets are a mess.”

The Golden Circle matches seniors with people willing to shovel their walks for $15 an hour. But the organization often itself gets caught between residents and the city on the issue of snow clearing.

According to City of Red Deer bylaws, it’s the residents’ responsibility to clear sidewalks in front of their homes, but many seniors balk at this. They believe sidewalks are public property, so clearing them is a city obligation, said the Golden Circle’s executive director Monica Morrison. “Sometimes we feel stuck in the middle.”

While the Golden Circle has linked some 300 seniors to people willing to shovel their walks for a fee (subsidies are available for those who can’t afford it), Morrison said few volunteers are on hand do this service for free.

In preparation for next winter, she plans to contact local groups, such as the Scouts, to see if more youths will sign on as volunteer shovellers.

Ideally, people should be looking out for their neighbours and offering to help older people clear sidewalks and walkways, said Barb Lilly, vice-president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Red Deer Local 818,

While she has some sympathy for those who are unable to keep their properties clear of snow, she said, “We can’t be sending workers into unsafe conditions.”

Community mail boxes are another matter: Johnson said Canada Post hires contractors to clean snow from around these boxes to make access easier for residents and mail carriers, but it’s been “a very slow process.”

A Canada Post spokesperson was unavailable to comment on Thursday.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Celebrating 4-20 in Red Deer

For years, 4-20 was a time to protest for the legalization of… Continue reading

Optimism remains for Red Deer hospital expansion

Red Deer’s incoming UCP MLAs both have been strong supporters of expansion

Sport of axe throwing growing in Red Deer

True North Axe Throwing wants sport to be ‘Canadian version of darts’

RDC cancels championship-winning golf program due to tight finances

Short season, small number of student golfers were also considerations

WATCH: An ‘Eggstemely Fun Easter’ at Bower Place in Red Deer

Bower Place mall made sure Red Deer families were able to have… Continue reading

Dozens hurt in collapse of deck during wedding celebration in Langley, B.C.

LANGLEY, B.C. — Police say dozens of people were injured, some critically,… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $25 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $25.5 million jackpot… Continue reading

Uber driver charged in two sexual assault investigations: Toronto police

Toronto police say an Uber driver is facing sexual assault charges in… Continue reading

PEI Green party candidate Josh Underhay and son killed in canoeing accident

CHARLOTTETOWN — With only a few days before voters were to go… Continue reading

Egyptians vote on changes that would extend el-Sissi’s rule

CAIRO — Egyptians cast their ballots Saturday on the first of three… Continue reading

Ex-Marine arrested in North Korea embassy attack in Madrid

WASHINGTON — A man suspected of involvement in a mysterious dissident group’s… Continue reading

New bout of heavy fighting in Yemen kills dozens

SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni officials say heavy fighting in Yemen’s southern Dhale… Continue reading

Most Read