Should All USPS Employees Be Required to Wear Postal Uniforms?

When looking at the makeup of the USPS, letter carriers fall into two categories – city carriers and rural carriers. While all letter carriers deliver mail and parcels, the rules and regulations they face while on the job can differ greatly.

Rural letter carriers are to be neatly dressed and presentable, but they are not required to wear a USPS uniform. Rural letter carriers often do more than just deliver the mail; they also sell stamps, offer signature confirmation, and other tasks that can be fulfilled at a traditional Postal counter. Due to this visibility, some people are calling for rural letter carriers to begin wearing Postal uniforms, just like city carriers do.

In addition, the USPS has begun employing more and more temporary workers. Non-career workers often do not receive any allowance for uniforms. What this sometimes means is that a non-career letter carrier will arrive at an individual’s mailbox in street clothing, which can be alarming for customers.

So, should all letter carriers be required to wear a uniform?

 

Yes To Uniforms!

~ Customers are less likely to react with suspicion to Postal workers approaching their mailboxes and homes due to a lack of uniform.

~ Increased safety for letter carriers.

~ Provide a positive, professional image of the USPS to customers while delivering the mail.

~ Alleviate customer confusion, making customers more likely to approach with questions or for additional Postal services.

~ Uniforms allow customers to better understand when an individual is illegally accessing their mailbox.

No To Uniforms!

~ Added financial strain to the USPS.

~ Added financial strain to USPS employees without any Uniform Allowance.

~ USPS should focus on fixing other, more pressing issues such as better delivery times, better training, and building maintenance.

~ Uniforms cost too much money. Instead, require all rural carriers to have signage or graphics attached to their delivery vehicle.

~ Uniforms are often uncomfortable and not feasible for constant wear while working a rural delivery route in a vehicle.

What’s your take? Should all letter carriers be required to wear Postal uniforms? Let us know what you think in the comments!

The Postal Service – Amazon – Trump Events, Explained

There has been a lot of news regarding the U.S. Postal Service, Amazon, and Trump in the past couple of weeks. Today we’re breaking down exactly what is going on.

Amazon

The Postal Service has more than one company that it gives deep discounts to when it comes to shipping prices, but it is true that Amazon has an agreement with the Postal Service. Under this agreement Amazon delivers many packages to the USPS, and the USPS delivers the packages on the last leg of their journey.

These contracts must cover all of the costs of the Postal Service. Regulators have approved the contract with Amazon, which means the Postal Service is not losing money by working with Amazon in this way.

Amazon handles a large portion of the delivery of its packages itself. Packages are sorted by zip code and carrier route before being dropped off, so the USPS is only handling a small portion of the work when it comes to these deliveries, making it more cost efficient than it may at first appear.

The Postal Service

Trump’s claims that the Postal Service is losing a lot of money are not incorrect. They reported a loss of 1.8 billion in 2017 compared to 2016. This is due to a number of factors, including the decline in First-Class and Marketing mail volumes. The obligation to pre-fund retirement benefits has also had a huge impact in the USPS’ revenue.

The Postal Service was losing money before Amazon became such a big contender in the packaging business. While there certainly has to be an overhaul in postal reform, Amazon is far from the only contributing factor in the loss of USPS profits.

Trump

Trump claims that the USPS should be making more money off Amazon, and they certainly could. USPS is charging below market rate for parcel delivery, not even accounting for whatever discounts they give to Amazon. With how much business the USPS garners from Amazon, surely they could be making more money with a shallower discount.

But Trump is incorrect in saying that the Postal Service is losing money because of this deal with Amazon, simply because the law states that any contracts with the USPS must at least break even. Beyond that, Amazon brings in a lot of consistent business for the USPS.

Trump’s Task Force

Trump has issued an order demanding that the Postal Service’s finances be evaluated, following his many tweets regarding the USPS and Amazon. This task force will be used to examine the USPS’ finances, including the Postal Service’s operations.

Investigations by this task force will include many parts of the USPS business model, including parts of their business plans that involve companies such as Amazon.

Trump insists that there needs to be action to make the USPS profitable again. There have been no details about when this task force will be created or when changes may be implemented.

So What Does It All Mean?

While all this finger pointing may seem childish, this task force could actually be great for the Post Office. Studying the USPS financial situation can bring about great solutions that can help the USPS.

Technology simply means there is less first-class mail, and with the requirement to pre-fund benefits the USPS is going to struggle to operate in the black. The rise in e-commerce has helped some, but not fully. Hopefully this task force can find problems that can be solved down the line.

In the short term, however, very little, if anything, is likely to change when it comes to day-to-day operations.

7 Hacks To Keep Your Feet Dry This Spring

There’s no escaping the rain during the spring months, especially when you work outside delivering mail and parcels all day. No matter what you wear or what tricks you use, in the end you are going to get wet.

But wet feet are particularly uncomfortable. They make walking unpleasant and will likely mean you are colder during your shift. Luckily there are some things you can do to keep your feet drier this spring.

Try out any combination of these hacks and see what works best for you!

 

Hack 1: Invest in rubber overshoes and waterproof socks. Overshoes fit easily over your comfortable Postal shoes and offer 100% waterproof protection. Waterproof socks will take care of water that may sneak in over the top of your boots. They’re designed to keep your feet warm, and more importantly, dry. These two items combined make for a great defense against the rain.

 

Hack 2: If your shoes get soaked during the day, use newspaper to dry them overnight. Ball up newspaper and put them inside your wet shoes, then wrap newspaper around the outside of your shoes. You may need to change the newspaper several times, but this is an effective way to get the water out of your shoes for the next day.

 

Hack 3: Wrap your socked feet in a plastic grocery bag before putting your shoes on for extra protection against the rain. If you do this, use a bag that will cover your ankles as well. Make sure the bag isn’t going to bunch in your shoes. Be warned, this method will likely make your feet sweat.

 

Hack 4: Bring a second pair of socks with you in case yours get soaked. Keep them in your vehicle where they can stay dry and be changed.

 

Hack 5: Avoid cotton socks at all costs. Cotton absorbs moisture so any water that does get into your shoes will be soaked up. Your feet will get wet and every step you take will be squishy and uncomfortable.

 

Hack 6: Use a powder or balm on your feet before heading out. This helps to manage the moisture on your feet from stray water and sweat. It can also help to reduce chaffing, which gets worse in rain.

 

Hack 7: Consider investing in gaiters if you are able to. These sit over the top half of your walking boot and the lower part of your leg. These will seal off the top of your shoe to prevent water from getting inside. Combined with a waterproof shoe, your feet should stay very dry even in a lot of rain!

 

If you have any tips to share about keeping feet dry in spring rains, let us know in the comments!

Postal Services From Around The World

Who has the best Postal service in the world? There are plenty of studies out there about this, but there really is no easy answer. Today we want to share some insights into a few of the different Postal services from around the world to give you a chance to see what we do differently.

Japan

Japan is a relatively small country with around 24,000 post offices. Japanese Post Offices handle letters and parcels, but in addition also offer banking and insurance. Japanese mailboxes are red and pickup times are listed on the box.

Only the city’s central Post Office is open on weekends, but they do offer a 24/7 counter. This may be only one nighttime counter, but this does mean citizens always have access to a Post Office if they look. Several years ago Japan became an IPO, essentially privatizing their Postal service.

In Japan you can send and receive parcels and mail any time of day (or night). This means that a parcel delivery at 9:00 PM on a Sunday may not even be an unusual occurrence. The Japanese Postal Service is very efficient and is considered to be one of the best in the world.

Australia

Australia faces many of the same issues as the United States when it comes to the large distance that needs to be covered when it comes to mail delivery. It is self-funding and committed to providing services to all citizens.

The Postal Service operates in three markets; letters & associated services, agency services & retail merchandise, and parcels + logistics. This covers mail delivery, insurance, currency conversion, parcel delivery, banking services, and more.

Australia is always looking for innovative ways to improve their Postal program. The mail service in Australia almost always makes a yearly profit, so they’re doing something right.

United Kingdom

In 2015 the Postal Service became privatized. Even so, it maintains Universal Service, meaning items of a certain size can be sent anywhere in the UK at a fixed price. They offer expedited mail delivery, business mail, and promotional mail.

They have a network of 38 mail centers which serve specific areas. Mail is transferred from these mail centers to delivery offices, from which mail is delivered to recipients. There are occasionally reports of mail going missing and not arriving at the final destination.

Privatization has led to a huge loss of jobs and of delivery offices. This means the workload on the Postal employees remaining has increased. The privatization of the UK Postal Service is still controversial in the country.

Singapore

Singapore has only 62 post offices, but it is one of the more innovative Postal services in the world. They provide mail service, self-service automated machines, and several years ago tested droid delivery.

Drones arriving with mail or parcels would make the delivery only if it received an authentication signal within three minutes. Otherwise it would return to the base.

While drones are not being used for day-to-day operations, officials are discussing how to use this new technology. Drones may be used in the future for reaching remote locations. Testing is still being done to determine if drone delivery will ever go mainstream.

South Africa

Many homes in South Africa do not have individual mailboxes. Instead, citizens may opt to pay for a PO box. These PO boxes can be located almost anywhere, such as in shopping centers. There is often a waiting list to be assigned a PO box close to the individual’s home.

Many financial transactions are handled electronically, which cuts down on the amount of mail being delivered at all. The sending and receiving of mail is simply not a large part of people’s lives.

If you do want to send mail quickly, you can go through a private parcel and letter service that can ship quickly both domestically and internationally.

How To Choose Postal Shoes

The shoes you wear while on the job are one of the most important aspects of your Postal uniform. When you’re on your feet all day and walking miles and miles, you need the right shoes. With so many options out there it can be difficult to choose a pair. That’s why today we want to offer our advice about what you need to consider while making a Postal shoe purchase.

First off, we recommend keeping several pairs of Postal shoes on hand. You’ll want to wear different shoes for different occasion, and you may want to rotate the shoes you wear day-to-day. A lighter shoe is better for summer while a waterproof shoe is needed in rain and snow. Consider this while looking at your uniform allowance.

Secondly, always buy Postal Approved shoes. Not only will they last longer, but they can save you a lot of hassle. If you fall or injure yourself and you aren’t wearing USPS approved shoes the injury may be contested and you can be blamed for wearing improper footwear. Do yourself a favor and make sure you invest in USPS approved footwear.

Consider buying insoles to add to your shoes. They can add some extra comfort and will help your shoes last longer. Even if you have to spend money out of pocket for them, it’s worth it. Don’t invest in cheap ones; buy high quality insoles that suit your feet. It makes a huge difference.

If you don’t want to invest in shoes designed specifically for winter, invest in overshoes you can wear over your usual Postal shoes. Use these to keep your feet warm and dry while you keep your feet supported and comfortable in your usual USPS shoes.

When it comes to really rainy days pull-on rain boots are excellent, particularly when combined with rain pants. Even waterproof shoes can only be so effective, simply because they are not big enough. If you have to deliver mail in a downpour, rubber boots are a must. Make sure they have a good grip so you don’t slip.

But one of the most important things you need to keep in mind is to buy shoes with good support and good traction. These are basic tips but so important. Shoes that are too flat are going to hurt your feet. You can’t just wear any type of walking shoe.

Take care when selecting your Postal shoes. Choose your shoe width and shoe size wisely. Rotate your shoes and wear extra overshoes and boots when necessary. We have a huge selection of Postal shoes on our website. If you have any questions about our Postal shoes please feel free to call us at 1-800-229-4500 and a customer service representative will help you out.

Surviving The Holidays

The holiday season is here, which for USPS employees means long hours, added stress, and of course, more mail to deliver. Here’s our tips to help you get through the holidays!

~ Don’t read the comments in articles about the USPS.

~ But do read feel-good articles about the USPS. Get inspired by stories of letter carriers serving their community or helping those in need. It can remind you of why your job is so important.

~ Don’t read the comments on the USPS Facebook page, either. A lot of people take out their anger in these comments, and they likely have nothing to do with you.

~ Embrace the longer hours by remembering all the calories you are burning.

~ Load your mail first, then your parcels.

~ Play Tetris when loading up your LLV. Stack parcels so they won’t go flying when you drive or remove one from the stack.

~ Invest in items to help you stay warm. It will make your long days more pleasant.

~ Remember that the holiday season will end, and that the huge rush of mail and parcels is temporary.

~ Don’t attempt mail and parcel delivery if it is unsafe. Yes, you should attempt to deliver everything you can, but don’t risk your safety for it.

~ Take time to relax during your downtime. Get a massage. Binge watch a new TV show. Make sure you’re doing something to unwind.

~ Get your own holiday shopping done as soon as possible. The sooner you’ve bought gifts, wrapped them, and mailed them, the less you have to worry about in your free time.

~ Don’t take it personally if a customer yells at you or complains about the mail. They may be having a bad day. They may be trying to get a package to a sick relative. You don’t know their situation, so show kindness in return.

~ Chat with the people on your route if they start a conversation. It makes your day more pleasant and is excellent customer service.

~ Don’t ignore your mental health. Meditate. Talk to loved ones about how you are doing. Don’t skip medications or therapy sessions if you need them. Ignoring your mental health makes working much harder.

~ Think of the mail and packages you have to deliver in a positive light. Think of the happy faces on children who get gifts from relatives. Think of the grandparents who are thrilled to get a Christmas card. Think about old college roommates, sending a nostalgic package. The holidays are a season of joy, and you are helping to spread that joy with your job. That is an amazing gift.

Safety While Delivering After Dark

Daylight savings time is this weekend, which means it is going to start getting dark sooner. With the holiday season nearly here, that means you face an increased risk of delivering mail and parcels after dark. Delivering in the dark comes with increased risk. There’s no one-size-fits-all method for remaining safe when delivering at night, but we’ve got some tips that will hopefully help out.

Tip 1: Stick to the safest path when making deliveries. You will save time cutting across lawns, but in the dark you are less likely to see hazards on the ground such as lawn decorations or holes. Stay on the sidewalk.

Tip 2: Watch where you walk. Again, fingering mail while walking saves time, but in the dark you need to keep your eyes peeled for hazards. Otherwise you may miss hazards such as cracks in the sidewalk. This can lead to trips, falls, and injuries.

Tip 3: Invest in a headlamp or flashlight. This, of course, makes it much easier to spot any hazards that may be in your path.

Tip 4: Be wary when on your route of dogs. At night they can be harder to spot, and if a dog sees you approaching its home at night and doesn’t know you, it may attack.

Tip 5: The same can be said for people. While uncommon, letter carriers have been threatened and even killed at night while delivering the mail and packages. Sometimes this is because homeowners do not expect someone on their porch late at night. Keep an eye out for dangerous situations near homes.

Tip 6: Assess the area you are delivering to. Is it an unsafe neighborhood? Does it have a lot of hazards in the daylight? Consider bringing this up to your supervisor. Your safety is the top priority.

Tip 7: Make sure to always watch for traffic when crossing the street or exiting your vehicle. While you would expect cars to have their headlights on that is not always the case, and a driver may not see you.

Dress For Fall

We’re right in the middle of fall, which means cooler temperatures are rolling in. If you don’t have the right attire for the season, now is the time to shop. That’s why this month we’re featuring some of our top recommendations for uniform items that are perfect for fall weather.

Long-Sleeved Shirts

Since temperatures in fall can fluctuate so much, investing in a simple, long-sleeved Postal shirt for the season is a great option. You can add a jacket to this shirt if needed, or simply complete your route without one. They are made from a poly and cotton blend to keep you comfortable while on the job. Click the link above to read the full details about this shirt.

Letter Carrier Sweaters

Carrier sweaters are a great way to keep snug during your route without wearing a Postal jacket. They are perfect for the changing seasons such as fall. These sweaters come with a zippered front so you can keep it zipped or unzipped depending on the weather. This item will keep you not only warm, but comfortable.

Unisex Dickie

If you are looking for just a bit of extra warmth during these cooler fall temperatures, a Postal sweater dickie is a great option. This simple garment is low-priced and union made, so you can be sure that you are getting a quality item. This Postal dickie comes in one unisex size, designed to fit anyone. This is a great low-cost option to help you keep comfortable this fall.

Mock Turtleneck

Our unisex mock turtlenecks are manufactured from 100% combed cotton jersey knit, so you will be warm and comfortable while on your route. It has been designed for the ultimate comfort and is made in the USA by union members. The collar, which measures two inches, provides a bit of extra material to protect you from that cool, fall breeze.

Postal Jacket with Zip-Out Liner

Our Postal jacket with a zip-out liner is great for all seasons! This is because the jacket comes with a zip-out insulated liner. You can keep it inserted when it is cool, and as the day grows warmer you can remove it so you don’t get overheated. Our jackets are made right here in the USA in a wide variety of sizes so all USPS employees can benefit.

Postal Windbreaker

Stay warm against the chilly winds and dry during autumn rain with our Postal windbreaker. The windbreaker is lightweight so you won’t get too warm, but gives you some protection from cooler weather. Our windbreakers are made in the USA so you can rest assured that they meet the quality standards you expect from your uniform items.

 

These items will help your work experience this fall be more comfortable. Which is your favorite? Let us know!

Rural Letter Carrier Tips

When you work as a rural letter carrier you face challenges that city carriers do not. Today we want to offer some tips to all our hardworking rural letter carriers out there! Some of these tips may also apply to city carriers, but all of these tips are here to help you make your job easier.

First off, we recommend not casing DPS unless you will be facing intense weather such as rain or snow. On the whole this will save you time. If you find this slows you down, try casing it, but overall most rural carriers report that the former method is faster.

If you own your vehicle that you are taking on your route, make sure you have a spare key. You do not want to get locked out of your vehicle.

Invest in a tool to help you retrieve mail from mailboxes. If mail is stuffed in the back of mailboxes, it really slows you down if you have to exit your vehicle. You may choose to invest in a retrieval hook, or even some type of handle that you can manipulate to drag the mail closer to you. This saves a lot of time.

Mark large parcels that you will need to take to the door. You may also choose to label these parcels and arrange them in order in your vehicle. This will save time while you are actually on your route.

You may also choose to arrange your parcels street by street, with each street assigned a box or bucket that you can keep parcels in.

If weather allows, try to keep your window open at all times. It makes the mail delivery much faster. You may consider modifying your personal vehicle with some type of wind or rain deflector which makes driving with an open window much more pleasant in colder weather.

Keep a towel in your vehicle or on your lap for rainy days. You may want to invest in some sort of raingear because when it rains, there is no way to avoid getting wet.

Get warm gloves with a strong grip for winter delivery. And it’s also a good idea to keep a warm beverage in your vehicle with you, since opening your window so often is going to keep your vehicle much colder than you’d like.

Invest in safety products. This may be a sticker warning other vehicles that you make frequent stops, or some type of light on the top of your vehicle. Your car will not be utilizing the road like the average car, so having some visual safety markers can help keep you safe.

Tips For Delivering Mail Faster

Are you new on the job and trying to figure out how older USPS employees finish their routes so quickly? Like most things, it simply takes practice. While a few tips from us can’t make you zip through your route, these tips will make your route easier and save you a bit of time.

The best thing you can do is ask for advice from your coworkers. They’ve been doing the job and will likely have tons of advice to offer. You may choose to simply ask for tips, or ask for more specific information. A better question to ask is to find out any locally relevant information. Find out if there’s anything you need to know about your route. Learning more about your route can save you a lot of time.

If you can’t get advice about your route, drive around the neighborhood to get a better idea of it during your time off. Familiarizing yourself with your route will make things much easier.

Delivering your mail will also go faster if you have it neat and organized. It makes mail delivery smoother and by extension, faster. There’s many ways you can choose to do this. Casing your mail is important, so take your time and make sure it is ready to go before you leave on your route.

Postal employees are delivering parcels more and more, so loading your packages in an efficient order can be a huge time saver. If you don’t do this, you’ll find yourself unloading parcels onto the street while looking for the ones you need. You’ll also want to do this before you leave on your route.

This one may seem obvious, but use your satchels. Yes, they may be heavy, but it saves you a lot of time to have your satchels with you instead of having to return to your vehicle multiple times, which will slow you down. Carry the mail in bulk in your satchel if you want to move faster.

Between stops you’ll also want to check the addresses of mail. Sorting the mail order beforehand helps you avoid backtracking. If you work on foot this is easy enough to do while doing deliveries. If you drive you have less time for this task, but it’s still possible.

You’ll also want either a map or GPS device to help you while on your route. Until you know your route well, there’s a good chance of you getting lost. Maps can sometimes be outdated, so it is up to you which you’d rather go with. Either way, some type of mapping device is extremely useful and will save you tons of time. But don’t use your phone while on your route beyond this, unless you need to call someone with a question. Distractions slow you down.

As you get to know your route, pay attention to streets that often have a higher volume of mail and parcels. Once you know this you can sort out the high volume streets to make it easier on yourself.

Remember that everyone does things differently, including sorting the mail and loading their vehicle. It will take some experimentation to find what works best for you.




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