As the United States Postal Service (USPS) continues to struggle with a staffing shortage, job fairs are being held across the country with hopes of bringing in more people to help deliver the mail.
On Tuesday, USPS held job fairs in dozens of locations across Minnesota and North Dakota.
The postal service told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, “Our biggest challenges continue to be staffing yet we have been able to provide consistent delivery.”
However, Ruth Mancuso of Princeton said she has been missing 30 pieces of mail since the beginning of March. Mancuso said there have also been times when packages with medicine have been delayed.
“This is not okay because I’m still old school. I don’t pay all my bills online. I send checks in to be paid,” Mancuso said. “When your bill doesn’t come on time, you can’t pay it on time. When you can’t pay it on time, then who ends up paying the late fee?”
Mail delivery issues have been a big problem for Minnesotans in rural and urban areas alike with thousands of complaints sent to a survey launched by U.S. Rep. Angie Craig last year.
Likewise, those delivering the mail are also struggling. The President of National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 9 in Minneapolis, Joann Gilbaugh, said letter carriers are working more than 12-hour shifts, six to seven days a week.
“You get to the point where you’re mentally and physically exhausted. You can’t function properly,” said Gilbaugh. “As letter carriers, we’re all vested and want to provide services for customers. They become family.”
NACL Branch 9 held a rally Sunday to draw attention to the staffing crisis, mandatory overtime and working conditions. While contract negotiations, which include higher pay, are underway at the national level, several job fairs took place at the local level.
Although delivery is causing frustration to countless customers, employees are hopeful delays are nearing an end.
“We are seeing an upswing in how many people are applying, part of that then is to retain those people,” said Gilbaugh. “When conditions are right and are staffed enough, it’s a wonderful job.”
Gilbaugh said there are about 120 letter carrier positions available in Minneapolis alone. USPS said they are looking to hire over 850 new employees across Minnesota and North Dakota.
Despite mail issues, the Postal Service reported that delivery has been steady, with 91.2% of first-class mail delivered on time against the USPS service standard.
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