As the United States Postal Service (USPS) continues to struggle with staffing shortages, job fairs are being held across the country in hopes of bringing in more people to help deliver the mail.
On Tuesday, the USPS held job fairs at dozens of locations across Minnesota and North Dakota.
The Postal Service told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, “Our biggest challenges continue to be staffing, but we’ve been able to provide consistent delivery.”
However, Ruth Mancuso of Princeton said she has missed 30 pieces of mail since the beginning of March. Mancuso said there have also been times when packages of medicine have been delayed.
“This is not okay because I̵[ads1]7;m still old. I don’t pay all my bills online. I send checks in to get paid,” Mancuso said. “When your bill doesn’t arrive on time, you can’t pay it on time. When you can’t pay it on time, who ends up paying the late fee?”
Mail delivery issues have been a major issue for Minnesota residents in both rural and urban areas with thousands of complaints submitted to an investigation launched by U.S. Rep. Angie Craig last year.
In the same way, those who deliver the mail are struggling. The president of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 9 in Minneapolis, Joann Gilbaugh, said letter carriers work more than 12-hour shifts, six to seven days a week.
“You get to the point where you are mentally and physically exhausted. You can’t function properly, Gilbaugh said. “As letter carriers, we are all earned and want to offer services to 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 wages, are ongoing at the national level, several job fairs have taken place at the local level.
Although delivery causes frustration for countless customers, employees hope delays are coming to an end.
“We’re seeing an uptick in how many people are applying, part of that is keeping those people,” Gilbaugh said. “When the conditions are right and you’re staffed enough, it’s a fantastic job.”
Gilbaugh said there are about 120 letter carrier positions available in Minneapolis alone. The USPS said it wants to hire over 850 new employees across Minnesota and North Dakota.
Despite postal 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.
To apply for a USPS job click here.