USPS Workers Say They’re Overworked Thanks To Delivering Your Holiday Packages On Sundays

Once upon a time, Sundays provided a much-needed day of rest for the nation’s postal service workers. But that all changed when the United States Postal Service and Amazon kicked off a partnership to deliver packages seven days a week, and now, a year later, workers say the deal has resulted in long hours and weeks without a single day off.

GeekWire reports that while consumers are receiving their goods seven days a week, the pressure put on postal workers is beginning to take its toll, especially with the increased number of deliveries that come with the holiday season.

A number of postal workers have reached out to GeekWire providing a synopsis of their concerns related to Sunday deliveries. Many report being asked to work more than 60 hours a week and going more than 20 days straight without a day off.

One worker, who posted a comment on a previous GeekWire story, says he has averaged 62-hour weeks while working 18 days in a row.

“I feel exhausted and really not looking forward to delivering packages plus doing collections tomorrow (Sunday) it looks like Christmas day will be my next and only day off since Thanksgiving,” the New Hampshire carrier says.

Jo Ann Pyle, the president of Branch 79 of the National Association of Letter Carriers in Seattle, tells GeekWire that she’s witnessed the overwhelmed and overworked postal carriers in dozens of offices around the city.

“We are in favor of the Amazon delivery business and Sunday parcel delivery — it’s fabulous and we want it to continue,” she says. “But we have not staffed up properly. We have some employees working seven, 14, or 21 days in a row, and sometimes 12 hours a day. Even though we want the business, that’s an unacceptable way to treat employees.”

Pyle tells GeekWire that since the partnership with Amazon began an average Sunday in Seattle includes roughly 100 carriers delivering 8,000 packages.

However, with holiday shopping in full-swing deliveries have increased drastically, with an average of 130 employees delivering 13,500 Amazon packages.

The higher-than-expected package volume on Sunday has likely been compounded by the USPS’s announcement last month that it would deliver packages on Sundays for all companies during the five weeks leading up to Christmas.

Officials with USPS say that increased volume of package deliveries on Sundays in Seattle is consistent throughout much of the nation.

Sue Brennan, a senior public relations representative with USPS, tells GeekWire that last Sunday the postal service delivered 4.6 million packages, an increase from the 1.6 million delivered last year. The prior Sunday, December 7, also set records, with 3.2 million packages delivered compared to 900,000 a year earlier.

Despite the strain carriers say they are feeling, Brennan says the increased volume and extra work during the holidays is par for the course and that “this type of volume increase would be a wonderful problem to have to address.”

While Brennan say that most of the Sunday deliveries are made by part-time, “non-career” employees, some full-time carriers say they regularly pick up additional shifts over the weekends.

Although, it might seem easy to just say, “Hey, if you don’t want to work, don’t pick up the shift,” it’s not that simple. Some carriers tell GeekWire they don’t feel comfortable turning down the work for fear their jobs could be on the line.

“If you say that you’re unable to do so, you’re threatened with loss of employment or told that you can find work elsewhere, at least that was what my manager told me,” one carrier reports to GeekWire.

The USPS appears to be trying to placate carrier’s worries by hiring more employees.

GeekWire reports that dozen of job openings are currently listed on the agency’s site. But with just eight days to go until Christmas, it’s likely a little too late to provide relief carriers say they desperately need.

Postal workers overwhelmed by flood of Amazon Sunday deliveries [GeekWire]

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  1. mongo says:

    I talked to the postal carrier delivering a truckload of (exclusively) Amazon packages on Sunday.
    She was a temporary worker.
    The regular postal carriers around here are getting their Sundays off.

  2. webalias says:

    I tend to be on the side of letter carriers (my Dad was one) but in this case, I think maybe they doth protest too much. The average salary of a letter carrier in the U.S. is $55,900 (it ranges from $48,259-$65,829). Any work in excess of 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week earns them time-and-a-half. If they have to work Sunday, there’s a 25 percent premium for Sunday pay. In addition to 10 paid holidays, carriers with as little as three years on the job get four weeks of paid vacation. There’s also paid sick leave, and pretty good medical, dental, and retirement benefits. As to their fear that their jobs are on the line, they are after all represented by a union, which can file grievances on their behalf. But in fact, a lot of carriers like working a lot of hours this time of year because of the overtime, and because at least some customers are generous with holiday gifts for their mailman (or woman).

    Yes, they work hard, and in some parts of the country snow and subzero temperatures can be a real drag. But there’s a lot of people stressed out and working overtime at a lot of jobs this time of year, who would gladly trade places with their letter carrier.