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Former Bozeman postal carrier shares experience working for USPS

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Posted at 5:30 PM, Feb 09, 2023

BOZEMAN — MTN News has been covering reports of mail delivery issues with the U.S. Post Office on Baxter Lane in Bozeman since July. On Thursday, we spoke with a former postal carrier who worked at this post office. He worked as a carrier for almost a decade.

“I just no longer felt like it was a healthy or safe place to work for me,” he said. “You make relationships with people, there's not a day that goes by where I don’t miss my people. I don’t mean that possessively, but relationally.”

He says the problems with the Post Office, including undelivered mail and missing packages, are the result of years of mismanagement. When MTN reached out to USPS corporate, they said their issues stem from being understaffed. This former employee begs to differ.

He said, "No, it's a symptom. People come in and take a look around. They go through the whole orientation process and take a look around. That's when they're told you'll be working 16, 17 hours a day.”

He says regional management based out of Portland, Oregon is to blame for problems that can be traced directly to when Amazon partnered with the Post Office. He says that was when their usual routes started to become overwhelming with not enough pay.

“With the onset of Amazon routes, the volume has increased dramatically," he said. "Like if you were on a road that had 50 parcels, it's not unusual for you to be delivering 200 now. All of which based on the evaluation and the count, they determine how many hours it's going to take. So if your results will take 8 hours pre-Amazon included, and now it takes 10 hours, you work those hours for free.”

He says delivering mail on these routes isn't easy.

“You run on bald tires and the vehicles are called LLVs, which means long life vehicle, and they are about 20 years past the end of their long life,” he said.

When we spoke to USPS corporate over the summer, they said they were bringing in help from other post offices. The former carrier says it sounds like a good idea, but—

"Locals are here working like mad dogs and not getting their day off, not being able to take care of basic health and welfare issues. And people are coming in and getting paid more than them," he said.

Even with all of these issues, he believes the post office can still turn things around.

He said, “It's not rocket science. It's trust your people. It's pay them for what they're doing and send management back to school to learn how to be managers and leaders of people.”

USPS corporate's response to these allegations is that they have a ten-year plan to achieve financial stability and service excellence. This plan includes new vehicles, modernizing processing equipment, new employee hiring, robust training, and facility improvements. The rest of the response is here:

Sweeping generalizations are never accurate in any instance. The Postal Service is a responsible employer that prudently matches our workforce to an evolving workload and adjusts staffing continuously.

We employ more than 644,000 people, operate more than 31,000 retail offices, service more than 233,000 delivery routes, and have more than 232,000 vehicles in our fleet. Some carriers even use their own vehicles and receive an equipment allowance in addition to their regular pay.

In 2021 the Postal Service launched its Delivering for America [about.usps.com], 10-year plan to achieve financial stability and service excellence. As part of this plan, we are investing $40 billion in our network, technology, and people. This includes, but not limited to, obtaining new vehicles (some of which are EV [about.usps.com]), modernizing processing equipment, new employee hiring and robust training, and investments in facility improvements.

This year to date, despite growth in the package segment of our business, overall volume has declined significantly, and we are therefore adjusting employee staffing and scheduling. As the market changes, we will continue to manage our operations while providing first-rate service to the American public.