February 4, 2019 9:12 pm
Updated: February 4, 2019 9:23 pm

Airdrie Canada Post warehouse loses heat Monday morning

WATCH: The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said several employees left work Monday morning because of the cold temperatures inside the AIRDRIE warehouse. Michael King reports.

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Working in freezing temperatures is never easy for mail carriers. But it was the temperature inside an Airdrie warehouse that caused some Canada Post employees to refuse to work Monday.

Gordon Fischer, Prairie region national director for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, said the heat went out overnight.

“We had reports of workers having to wear toques and mitts inside the facility,” said Fischer.

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“It’s very difficult to sort mail and get your mail prepared to take out for delivery in that sort of conditions.”

Workers reported it was 5C inside the warehouse while they sorted mail by hand.

The CUPW said several people refused to work and went home.

Some filed complaints through the union, though Fischer wouldn’t say how many.

READ MORE: Extreme cold in Calgary sparks school closures, bus cancellations

Canada Post managers said it is well within employees’ rights to refuse to work if they feel uncomfortable.

Marcel Viveiros, a director of mail operations in Calgary, added that safety is always a top priority.

“I can assure you that if there are situations where it’s an unsafe situation, we’re not going to put them in danger,” said Viveiros. “We take health and safety very seriously.”

This came on a day when Canada Post was promoting mail carrier safety.

It is homeowners’ responsibility to clear their sidewalks so that carriers have an ice-free path to homes.

Canada Post said in the first two weeks of January, 100 employees across the country slipped and hurt themselves while out delivering mail.

READ MORE: Canada Post cuts workers’ disability benefits

Fischer said the current deep freeze adds more problems to the list of concerns mail carriers have been raising recently.

“[The cold warehouse] is just one of a number of numerous health and safety problems that workers at Canada Post have to deal with.”

In late November, the federal government ordered postal employees back to work after rotating strikes slowed the delivery of holiday mail.

The federal Ministry of Labour told Global News that both sides have met with an independent arbitrator and that talks are ongoing.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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