July 14th, 2024

Retired postal worker reflects on long career

By Justin Seward - Lethbridge Herald on June 27, 2024.

Herald photo by Justin Seward Jim Matkin holds a framed copy of a 50 year old post office bulletin on how to treat customers, given to him when he started on the counter, during his retirement reception held last weekend at the Galt Museum.

Jim Matkin closed the mailbox on his 42-year Canada Post career at the downtown Lethbridge location and officially retired this month.

Matkin started out as a part time employee before moving to front counter duties.

Matkin was a part-time in his first four years and had to go through a recession.

“Interest rates were like 22 per cent, there was everything, and I was part of a family of six,” said Matkin during a come-and-go reception Saturday at the Galt Museum.

“I made more working part time than most people did full time … and I met so many of my friends, like lifelong friends.”

“It’s been my pleasure to help the public for so many years,” said Matkin.

Matkin applied to get into Canada Post twice and the requirements were a memory test and dexterity test in which he failed twice.

“You had to sort, you had to know which went where and I failed twice,” said Matkin.

“In 1981, there was a big strike planned that the whole country knew about and they needed people to finish sorting the mail before the strike started. So one of my friends that worked at Canada Post said I know a guy and they were taking just warm bodies.”

Matkin was the chief shop steward for 15 years with the union when strikes happened.

“So a lot of the strikes were very, very emotional,” said Matkin.

“They were very, very hard to get through but my job was to help everybody else get through them.”

The longest Matkin was on strike for was five weeks.

Matkin said every customer was a highlight.

“Especially in the Christmas mayhem because they would line up and you were able to help them,” he said.

“That’s the most important part was being able to treat people with the respect they deserve.”

Matkin sees Canada Post going through a tough time currently due to the competition for parcels.

“There’s so many things they could do to improve the service because you got to look at the fact that Canada Post delivers to every single address in the country,” said Matkin.

“That’s what they have to focus on. I know right now, there’s always been a law that every Canadian’s entitled to the same treatment for letter mail.”

The time felt right for Matkin’s decision to retire.

“I still loved everybody I helped, everybody that came in but (in) that 43 years, I got so many memories,” said Matkin.

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Thank you Jim! There were 3 major events in the Lethbridge while you had your reception and the fact there were so many people who came to your event is a testament of appreciation for your years of service.
Enjoy your retirement!

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