The carrier’s view

160188~Postal service attitude adjustment—

I wonder if you folks have ever stopped to consider the job of your mail carrier. As is often the case, people see their situation, but don’t give much thought to the other side of the story.

In the narrow view, yes, it takes only 2 minutes to deliver mail to a blocked box. But, bear in mind that Rural Carriers are paid a rate based on the evaluated time it should take to do their route. Every single piece of mail is counted, every parcel counted to determine the dismounts and time allotted, hardship cases where the carrier must get out so a blind person doesn’t have cross the road is calculated. Getting out because there is a car in front of your mailbox is 2 minutes they are not getting paid for. What if they have to do that 5 times a day? That’s 10 minutes a day they don’t get paid for. That’s 1 hour a week they don’t get paid for. That’s 4 hours a month they don’t get paid for. That’s 52 hours a year worked for free. SAlso, if they go over their evaluated time they get in trouble. So, the 2 minutes they spend at your box must be made up elsewhere, perhaps driving faster throught he rest of the route.

Besides that, if they stop and get out, and somehow get hurt, they will not be given workmen’s comp, because it was not part of their job to get out at that box. They will be in big trouble.

We have a big problem here in winter because snow banks are pushed against the boxes and people won’t shovel them out, preventing the carriers from reaching them. People say “I can reach it, there is no reason the carrier can’t”. Yes, they can reach it by leaning way out the window using both hands. They only see their point of view. What if you had to do that 600 times in about 6 hours? Would you be able to move at the end of your shift? How long before you were taking time off for repetitive motion injury. Last winter there was a mail carrier who tried such a leaning out the window trick, fell out of the vehicle, and was run over by her own vehicle. Guess what? She was in big trouble for not skipping the box until the owner bothered to shovel.

Getting out of the vehicle is not safe. Carriers are exposed to slip, trip, fall hazards, exposed to passing vehicles, dogs etc. They are highly discouraged from ever dismounting except for certified letters, parcels, etc. Then they must take elaborate steps to properly park the vehicle, and lock it while they are away from it.

How about making it as easy as you can for your carrier? If people park in front of your mail box, put a sign. when you see someone doing it, ask if they will pull up a little so your mail can be delivered.

It should be noted that taxes do not pay for the Postal Service. All Postal Service expenses are paid from it’s own revenue. The only money received from the Government is payment for services the Gov. forces on it like free matter for the blind, and Media Mail. These are services the USPS loses millions on, and what the Govt. pays doesn’t come close to covering the losses.

There has been a lot of talk about privatizing Mail. Support the USPS and oppose these efforts. Otherwise, you will see Ruaral areas without delivery where there is no profit and a lot worse service.

By all means, do all you can to make your carrier’s job easier. Keep your box clear of snow and in good repair. Keep your dogs from jumping on and scratching their cars. Keep your children a safe distance away when the mail comes. They have a tough job and want to deliver your mail. It is not your fault someone parks in front of your box, but it’s not their’s either.

These comments are my personal opinion, and do not reflect any official USPS policy.

Duane {Postal Clerk}

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