USPS seeking to hire hundreds of Minnesotans amid staffing crisis, delivery issues
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 throughout Minnesota and North Dakota.
The Postal Service told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, “Our biggest challenges continue to be staffing, but we have been able to provide consistent delivery.”
However, Ruth Mancuso of Princeton said she has missed 30 posts since the beginning of March. Mancuso said there have also been cases where medication packages have been delayed.
“That’s not okay because I’m still old school. I don’t pay all my bills online. I send checks to be paid,” Mancuso said. “When the bill doesn’t come to you on time, you can’t pay it on time. When you can’t pay it on time, then who pays the late fee?”
Mail delivery issues have been a major problem for Minnesotans in rural and urban areas with thousands of complaints submitted in a survey launched by Rep. Angie Craig last year.
Likewise, those who deliver mail are also struggling. The president of the 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,” Gilbaugh said. “As letter carriers, we are all equipped and want to provide services to customers. They become family.”
NACL Branch 9 held a rally on Sunday to draw attention to the staffing crisis, mandatory overtime and working conditions. While contract negotiations, which include higher wages, are underway at the national level, several job fairs were held at the local level.
Although the delivery is causing frustration for countless customers, employees are hopeful that the delays are coming to an end.
“We’re seeing an increase in the number of people who are applying, part of that is retaining those people,” Gilbaugh said. “When the conditions are right and staffed enough, it’s a wonderful job.”
Gilbaugh said there are about 120 letter carrier positions available in Minneapolis alone. The USPS said they are looking to hire over 850 new employees throughout Minnesota and North Dakota.
Despite the mail issues, the Postal Service reported that delivery has been consistent, with 91.2% of first-class mail delivered on time against the USPS service standard.
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