May 29, 2024 11:01 am
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Staffing Shortages Highlighted on National Postal Worker Day

Credit: iStock

By Shentaya Hudson, Public News Service

You might want to thank your letter carrier this weekend, as part of National Postal Worker Day on Saturday.

It’s an occasion to recognize the effort behind processing millions of packages and letters every month. Despite being short-staffed, North Carolina’s postal workers – including letter carriers, clerks, maintenance personnel, mail sorters and drivers – work to ensure a smooth mail delivery system across the state.

American Postal Workers Union president Mark Dimondstein said delivering the mail is a big commitment.

“It’s an impressive operation – 600,000 or so people – and it’s still an amazing thing,” he said. “You can put a 63-cent stamp on a letter, and you can go from one side of the country to the other. And it takes a lot of people and a lot of dedication to make that happen.”

He said the U.S. Postal Service maintains a complex network of 33,000 post offices and serves 334 million Americans. To help stay competitive, his union wants the agency to expand the types of services it offers – from postal banking and bill-paying to voter registration or even adding electric-vehicle chargers at post offices.

A recent report found that the Postal Service has an unusually high turnover rate, which has risen from more than 38% in 2019 to almost 59% last year. The staffing issues have significantly affected rural areas, according to Dimondstein.

“Short staffing in many cases even has a bigger impact in smaller towns, because the post offices tend to be staffed with fewer people, so you may only have one or two people already,” he said. “And if you have this turnover, people are constantly left without enough clerks. So, it affects the whole system.”

The Postal Workers Union has said the turnover signals the need for more measures that would help improve workers’ morale and retention.

Disclosure: American Postal Workers Union contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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

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