An overworked US postal worker shares what life is like delivering Amazon packages


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/04/an-overworked-us-postal-worker.html


#2

In other words, Trump was right!

The Trump nation will be accepting apologies now. You libs said he was wrong 100% of the time, y’all were wrong, it’s only 99.99%


#3

The expression “going postal” hints that the USPS has a history of treating their people badly which long predates Amazon.

Still, caeterea censeo Amazonem esse delendam! Amazon should still DIAF for all of its abusive practices.


#5

Isn’t the only reason that USPS was “operating in the red” because a few Congressthings that just happened to have UPS and FedEx Headquarters and hubs in their districts suddenly decided that the USPS needed to fund it’s pensions out to 75 years? Not to mention over-payments to that due to being forced to use a general federal employee calculator rather than one specific to USPS employees who make way less than most general federal employees?
This is not to endorse any employee abuse by USPS, but if they weren’t operating in the red they could be allowed to hire more people to take the burden off the delivery employees on the whole.


#6

I realize what you’re saying is in jest but Trump’s complaints were solely around USPS being supposedly ripped off by Amazon (despite the USPS insisting they were profiting and under a contract anyway).

There were precisely zero concerns about worker exploitation.


#7

“Because the USPS receives no federal funding and was operating in a multi-billion dollar loss,…”

Ummm… no. This is the Republicans fault. They want to destroy the USPS because it is an example of a (Constitutionally-derived) government service that actually works extremely well and cost-efficiently. and provides solid generous benefits and real pensions for its employees.

So, they huddled in cabal, and passed legislation that makes the USPS prefund their enormous pension obligations. There is, to my knowledge,no other public or private entity which has to follow such an absurdly difficult arrangement.

This is the ONLY reason why the USPS supposedly is operating at a loss, and why it took on this Amazon proposition. They did it so the effing Republicans will not destroy them.

https://www.uspsoig.gov/blog/be-careful-what-you-assume

https://www.linns.com/news/postal-updates/2017/april/congress-raid-usps-coffers-30-years.html


#8

Critically they need to pre-fund pensions for all employees they may hire for 75 years in the future. They have to prepay the pensions of employees who have not been born yet.

One of the impacts is that the post office has been critically under staffed for years. Under the banana fuck crazy funding requirements its incredibly difficult to budget for proper staffing levels. So they tend to rely on part time, temp, and seasonal hiring bursts to cover high volume periods rather than hiring enough staff to get the job done permanently. Which leads to overworked staff, mandatory overtime etc.

Its been an issue for decades, long before the Amazon deal. And long before online shopping was a thing. The Post Office got that deal with Amazon because they’re better, faster, more reliable and cheaper at parcel delivery than private companies. They took the deal because parcel delivery is a better more profitable business to be in that the bulk mailing, junk marketing they previously had to rely on to hit their funding goals.

And I’m pretty disturbed by the “build their own network” comment in the article. Do we really want Amazon, a big monopolistic behemoth. To vertically integrate further by handling their own package delivery?

I have a few postal workers in the family. Most of them are pretty happy/excited about the work from Amazon. It meant they went from temporary and seasonal jobs. Without access to benefits or pensions. To full time, permanent employment with all the benefits that entails. The over work, forced over time and other issues are still there. But haven’t materially changed as a result of the Amazon deal. Its just the way the Post Office has been since the GOP decided to bankrupt it.

Their goal is to privatize or shut down the Post Office. So they need to make it look broke and mismanaged. The USPS runs at a healthy profit, and would be self sustaining but for the pension funding requirements. You want postal workers to be treated better, you need to change that law.

I’m willing to bet they would have made such a deal with Amazon anyway. Its just they’d be able to afford to staff properly for it.


#9

I just went to my Amazon settings and turned off Sunday deliveries for me and the people I send stuff to. You can do that in the option to edit shipping addresses.


#10

That’s not really the best way to help. That Sunday revenue is keeping postal workers employed and the entire operation afloat. The way to help is to write your Congress people and tell them to shape the F up.

Also, USPS needs to renegotiate postage rates with China Post, because USPS is delivering China Post parcels at a loss, and those parcels come here in torrents thanks to Amazon, Ebay, and AliExpress. If you want to help the USPS, buy products shipping from US origination points.

In any case, the Amazon revenue is not forever. If Amazon finds a way to do it cheaper, they will in a heartbeat. They have no loyalty to USPS and USPS knows it. This extra revenue should be a temporary windfall, except the way USPS is managed by Congress means it doesn’t bring the benefits a windfall should bring.


#11

Becaauuuuse…?

Ah yes. That’s right.


#12

before my wife retired she was a rural letter carrier which means she used her own vehicle to deliver from. with the advent of amazon deliveries her vehicle (honda crv) was filled so high and deep with parcels she couldn’t use the interior rear-view mirror and because she delivered letter mail out the passenger window she had to fold that mirror back so she was only able to use the driver side mirror. there were amazon prime customers on her route that were getting weekly deliveries of paper towels which were padded and packed in boxes. there were some days a supervisor would meet her on her route to bring the rest of the parcels that wouldn’t fit when she loaded.


#13

About half of my Amazon packages arrive by USPS; the rest UPS, various anonymous vehicles and occasionally Fed Ex.

This is in Seattle, close to the mother ship.


#14

They already do, at least in some cities. Amazon Logistics. And they suck. Every time I’ve had a package be late or go missing it’s been AL. They don’t read delivery instructions, which means every time I ship a parcel to my friend in a secure building they mark it undeliverable because they don’t look at the note to buzz the apartment number. And this is even though Amazon assured me they wouldn’t use Logistics to deliver to that address, because once they somehow transposed two numbers in the address and kept trying to deliver it to a vacant lot 7 miles away.


#15

As a carrier of over 20 years, I say that the new complaining carrier should accept the job with all graciousness. That is what CCAs do. It is also what TEs did and also what PTFs did. Get over it. Working on Sunday won’t last forever for them. New postal workers in the city have ALWAYS worked on Sundays and Holidays. As Carriers, we are public servants. People depend on us, trust us and have confidence that we will get their packages and mail to them in time for birthdays, work deadlines, etc. Amazon is the reason for an increase in Postal employment. Also, as a former union Steward, I will say that if you come to the meetings or simply read the contract, you would know your rights.Speaking of the contract, this new one mainly consists of improvement for CCAs to make the job more bearable and worthwhile for them. Yes, all of us complain about some things on our job but we must realize that ultimately, WE chose this career. The door works both ways.


#16

Thank you for your efforts to be a thoughtful, caring customer. However, you should keep your Sunday delivery. For some people, it prevents them from trying to make it to The P.O. during the week Day.
Sunday delivery is Not what keeps the postal service afloat so turning it off will be a disservice to the addressees.
Postal Service needs to KEEP 6 day delivery!


#17

welcome to boingboing, comrade


#18

The USPS is screwed up because of the USPS. The wages and benefits are sky high for the level of skills that are brought in on the front end or when the average person gets the job. They are paid more than cops and have a defined pension that anyone would envy. It takes an act of Congress to get them to do anything if you get one of those. There are many good people and hard wokers, but far too many problem. I remember putting in and taking the civil service exam. I scored in the top 5 percent nationally in every category. With a college degree and speaking 3 languages, I could not even get an interview. I love our veterans but there should be a preference when the candidates are close in qualifications, not just hire every vet that applies. Mismanagement everywhere. Closed offices to save over 1 billion…ended up saving 20 million. Should privatize it. Will get better service and normal wages…


#19

And yet, every single day, you receive mail, delivered by the very workers that you just argue deserve a substandard pay. You put a stamp on a letter, and you can get it across the entire fucking country in a couple of days. For less than a dollar. It’s a system that absolutely works.


#20

riiight! isnt capitalism wonderful? a “better” live for “everybody”…


#21

For less than a dollar - and it’s pretty damn reliable (not saying I haven’t had letters or packages disappear but for all the stuff I ship and receive through USPS it’s in the fractions of a percent for instances that they legitimately lose something). I can rag on the USPS all day and I can write pages of customer service horror stories but when it comes to logistics they generally do a pretty good job despite a Congress that’s done everything they can to try to destroy them.