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April 19, 2024 8:46 pm

Local News

PA postal workers voice concerns about understaffing, delivery delays

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Danielle Smith, Public News Service

Postal union workers from Pennsylvania will head to the nation’s capital in early May for a national rally to raise awareness about the challenges faced by the U.S. Postal Service.

The workers say staff shortages, consolidations and office closures all are affecting mail delivery. The U.S. Postal Service’s goal is 95% on-time delivery across its vast network of 167 million addresses nationwide.

Kimberly Miller, president of the American Postal Workers Union Keystone Area Local 1566, said the worker shortage means some post offices close their facilities early and see delays in processing the mail. Miller pointed out rural customers often are hardest hit.

“We are operating on minimal staffing, many customers are experiencing it at the front lines,” Miller observed. “Post Offices are trying to curtail hours instead of hiring adequate staffing. There’s always been a shortage and now it seems to get worse and worse. And the mail, there’s a real delay in getting it to your door.”

Miller noted she is not a fan of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year plan to move letter sorting and distribution from local offices into large, regional hubs. In 2020, DeJoy put a plan into effect known as “Delivering for America,” to minimize employee turnover by converting more part-time staff to career status.

Miller acknowledged the Postal Service is hiring, but emphasized the issue seems to be employee retention.
Miller, who refers to career postal workers as “the craft,” suggested increasing training and treating workers with respect could also lead to improved retention.

“They did a couple of investigations on allegations of who we said, ‘Hey, look this supervisor is abusive,’ and it just got worse,” Miller recounted. “It’s so abusive that people don’t know how to talk to people. The craft fights back. It said, ‘Hey, treat me with dignity and respect. Talk to me like an adult.'”

She stressed the importance of Pennsylvanians working with lawmakers to require the Postal Service to return its service standards to what they were five years ago, requiring local delivery of mail within one to two days.

This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.