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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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PA postal workers voice concerns about understaffing, delivery delays

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Wednesday, March 6, 2024   

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.

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


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