Staffing shortage has mail carriers working long hours

U.S. Postal Service holding hiring event in South Burlington on Tuesday to try to fill jobs.
Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 6:17 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Have you had the experience where you go out to look for your mail at the usual time but nothing is there? It could be because the U.S. Postal Service is actively looking for people to work for them. And if you get a job, you might even be able to deliver to your own neighborhood.

Neither snow nor rain nor sleet nor gloom of night stops USPS City Carrier Brian Williams from delivering the mail. He was an educator for more than 30 years and walks around 11 miles each day, which he says he loves.

Around the country and in Vermont, days for carriers can be 12 hours or longer because the postal service has an urgent need for more workers.

“Now that we’re into summer people are on vacation the COVID thing is dying down, there’s not as much online shopping but we’re still pretty busy,” Williams said.

The mail needs to be delivered each day, and with a shortage of workers, that means long days for carriers. But that doesn’t bother Williams.

“I was a teacher for 33 years and I worked in cinderblock classrooms and then when I retired I wanted to do something that would get me into shape and be outdoors,” he said.

“Our mission is to serve our customers every day and get the mail out, so we have a lot of carriers working extremely long days to do that to achieve that goal,” said Damon Fulcher of USPS Burlington.

USPS says they had a surge in hiring back in the 1980s and ’90s, so those people are now retiring, leaving plenty of open positions.

They are hiring for all jobs within the postal service, especially carriers. But that position might not be right for everyone.

“It’s physical labor. It also requires memorization. Guys have their own routes, they come in, they case up their mail, they pull it down and they bring it up the street,” Fulcher said.

The USPS says starting rates are around $18 an hour and you might even be able to stay close to home.

“Chances are that you can find jobs available in your neighborhood or at least in short driving distance wherever you are,” said Steve Doherty of the U.S. Postal Service Northeast Division.

USPS is holding a hiring event on Tuesday in South Burlington. It’s from 2-7 p.m. at the Homewood Suites at 5 Dorset St. Click here for more on USPS careers.

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