With the holidays fast approaching, the US Postal Service employs 28,000 seasonal workers in Keystone State and across the country. The Postal Service also plans to add 1,000 truck drivers, message carriers and processing team members.
Kimberly Miller, president of the Postal Workers Union, Keystone Area Local 1566, said hiring fires are needed to keep up with demand.
The USPS has also been affected by the pandemic and its workforce is clocking in a good number of hours.
Miller added that a shortage of workers means that some post offices close their windows early, and may also experience delays in processing and delivering mail on time.
“We’re struggling to maintain business hours, especially in the Harrisburg area,” Miller said. “We had a Carlisle post office last year that went weeks without a delivery — and even the union got engaged and said, ‘Hey, look, this is an unsafe business case. You need to clear the floor, you need to get people and send this mail to customers.'”
This month, three Pennsylvania congressmen sent a letter with a list of demands to Postmaster General Louis Dejoy, asking him to address the state’s ongoing postal service problems. The letter details cases of late or inconsistent deliveries, wrongly delivered mail, lost packages, as well as opened and stolen mail.
As the country sees a resurgence in union participation and regulation, it seems clear that a younger generation of Postal Service workers will continue to push for a better work environment, said Peter Rachlev, a labor historian and co-executive director of the East Side Freedom Library in St. .
“I think they looked at what the previous generation lived through,” Rachlev said. “Which has been constantly dwarfed by hard work, and they know they need to take action if their lives are going to be better than the life their parents lived.”
Racliffe explained that the United States has some strong workplace protection laws on the books, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, but added that the agencies responsible for enforcing these laws are underfunded and understaffed.