Chicago mail delays: USPS carrier safety concerns prompts changes that may postpone your packages, letters

Chicago mail delays: USPS carrier safety concerns prompts changes that may postpone your packages, letters

CHICAGO (WLS) — Starting this weekend, Chicagoans may notice their US Postal Service deliveries later.

A memo posted locally alerts carriers that there will be late starts as of September 11.

The memo, obtained by ABC7, shows proposed start times. Many are marked to start at 9:00 a.m., except three areas, which will remain early with a note next to them that says “violence.”

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“It will have them out on the streets in the dark. If they have to do that overtime to get the mail delivered and it’s dark, they are not going to do it,” said Mack Julion, president of Branch 11 Chicago for the National Association of Letter Carrier. “We tell our carriers, if you need a flashlight to deliver mail then, it’s time to stop delivering mail.”

Julion represents 3,800 active letter carriers around Chicago.

He said during the pandemic, carriers did later starts to try and reduce costs but schedules eventually went back to early starts.

“That did not work in Chicago. This is not Kansas,” Julion said. “It is very unsafe to be out in the streets after dark.”

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The spokesman for the US Postal Service Chicago sent a statement that said in part:
“The U.S. Postal Service is a responsible employer that prudently matches our workforce to an evolving workload and adjusts staffing and work schedules continuously.”

“We are still coming up short because there’s just not enough hours, enough bodies to match the work,” said one postal worker who didn’t want to be identified. “It a sense of pride to get the mail delivered. No one wants to see mail left in the building.”

He said they are all delivering extra mail, and his start time will change from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m.

“No matter how much we give; no matter how much effort we put at it — we just can’t get it done and then to change our start time, it’s almost cutting it off even more,” the postal worker said. “It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating for me.”

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The Spokesman for US Postal Service said they are currently hiring 400 carrier assistants and more job fairs are coming up, but even with the new hires, some carriers are warning their customers to expect mail delays.

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