Three workers at the Red Deer Canada Post mail processing facility have tested positive for COVID-19.
In an email Wednesday, the company said it had three people report positive tests on separate occasions.
“In each case, the exposure was believed to be from outside the workplace. We followed the guidance of Alberta Public Health in informing employees, supporting contact tracing and conducting thorough precautionary sanitization,” the email said.
Dave Lambert, the Prairie spokesman for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said they’ve been working closely with Canada Post to make sure protocols were followed and the workplace remains safe.
“We’ve been in pretty regular communication with Canada Post on the matter and there’s always takeaways about whether things were done properly from what’s transpired and there are some issues we are dealing with,” he said.
He said that in two cases, the employees were temporary workers.
“Two of our members recently tested positive. I understand they are both temporary employees for Canada Post. That differentiates under our collective agreement.
Currently, temporary employees don’t get quarantine leave in our collective agreement,” Lambert said.
“Quarantine leave is a paid leave provision and they don’t have it. So they are certainly disincentivized to not come into work. They certainly want to be there.”
Lambert said there was also a case of an employee who was symptomatic and was at work, which is a concern for the union.
“There was an example of someone who may have been symptomatic for a few days. Right now, we’re trying to make sure Canada Post is doing the right thing by getting the messaging straight for our members, and there are provisions out there for them,” he said.
For the public and the approximately 150 union members in the city, Canada Post said there is no concern at this time.
“We’ve implemented physical distancing in all our facilities, staggered start times, increased cleaning and availability of safety equipment and sanitizers and provided reusable face coverings, which we strongly recommend using in our facilities when physical distancing can’t be maintained even for brief periods,” the company said.
“We regularly talk to employees, reminding them to do a mandatory self-assessment for symptoms before arriving for work, and work closely with union officials at the local level to address concerns and evolve our approach as guidance evolves.”