The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) petition against downsizing has been removed from the Merritt post office after employees were told by Canada Post to take it out of the office.

The petition calls on federal postal critic MP Robert Aubin to tell Steven Fletcher, the minister responsible for Canada Post, to instruct the company to halt any potential changes to the Merritt office.

Merritt post office shop steward Lana McKnight said the removal of the petition was to be expected.

“That was OK, we got the ball rolling,” McKnight said of the union’s effort to ensure the Merritt post office is not downsized.

Canada Post spokesperson John Caines said it’s against Canada Post policy to have the petition in the building.

“It’s a workplace. We don’t put petitions in the workplace,” Caines told the Herald. “They know better than to put one there.”

McKnight said the local post office received a call from Canada Post in Ottawa informing them to remove the petition shortly after a story about the petition appeared in the Aug. 22 edition of the Merritt Herald.

Since then, the employees have found 30 businesses around Merritt that will allow them to house the petition in their buildings.

On Friday, Kamloops-area CUPW president Bob Mitchell visited Merritt to meet with people at the businesses displaying the petition to discuss the issue and answer any questions they have regarding the potential downsizing.

Mitchell also said Merritt is not the only branch of the union with a petition to stop it.

“Petitions are ongoing all across the country,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said employees got away with having the petition in the office for a while because it’s “kind of an out-of-the-way location.”

Though unsure of the exact number of signatures on the petition so far, Mitchell said he suspects they are above 400 signatures and closing in on 500.

Upon reaching 500 signatures, Mitchell said he hopes to meet with Okanagan-Coquihalla MP Dan Albas in Merritt.

Once the Merritt office petition reaches 750 signatures, Mitchell said they will send it to the federal postal critic in Ottawa.

Although the petition has no ability to obligate the federal government to stop any potential changes, Mitchell said he hopes it will influence the Conservatives.

Canada Post officials have met with business leaders, chambers of commerce members and local elected officials across Canada on the subject, but have no plans to meet with Merritt stakeholders.

“We’re going to wrap it up now. We’ve had close to 50 [meetings] already,” Caines said.

Caines said Canada Post selects sympathizers and critics alike to attend these meetings.

Mitchell said he thinks if that were true, the meetings would be open to anyone and not by invitation only.

Caines also said the general public can go online to the Canada Post website to give the Crown corporation input on the issue.

People can visit and click on the “future of Canada Post” icon in the top right corner of the webpage to submit their input.