The USPS is dealing with some major mail delays.
They’ve been reported all over the U.S., as families anxiously await child tax credit payments — and even begin thinking about the 2021 holiday shopping season.
Last year, shipping issues with USPS, the U.S. Postal Service — hit pandemic highs. It attracted federal attention as members of Congress weighed options at the end of the Trump Administration to address it.
Turns out, many of those problems continue to exist. A recent audit in North Carolina found that more than a billion pieces of mail were delayed or not delivered between January 2020 and March 2021. In Houston, similar problems as 59% of all mail processed in 2020 was delayed. Sen. Mark Warner recently appeared in Virginia — demanding answers — as deliveries were delayed and stacked up there. “I’ve been getting a higher volume of complaints about mail delivery,” the Senator said. “They are aggressively trying to fill unfilled positions. You got to do a better job hiring folks.”
Why is staffing such a problem for the USPS?
USPS spokesperson shed some light on the problem, which has to do with the American Rescue Plan, signed into law during the spring.
“As you know, the American Rescue Plan expanded employee leave to respond rightly to the pandemic,” Desai Abdul-Razzaaq said. “As a result, staffing is occasionally impacted and we thank our customers for their understanding and continued support.”
The USPS is seeking 40,000 workers across the U.S.
What is being done to address the manpower issues at the USPS?
Beyond working to hire as many workers as they can — especially with the holiday shopping season near — USPS officials have authorized more overtime, expanded deliveries to earlier in the morning and later in the day, and even added Sundays.
But the real answer is more workers. Even then though, it may not be enough to get the agency back up to full-strength. The USPS has failed to restore delivery times to pre-pandemic levels.
What does this mean for the holiday season?
Deliveries during the holiday season will undoubtedly be challenged. As always, the best practice will be to get ahead — and not wait until the last minute. As for regular mail service the rest of the year — the expectation should be that some items could be delayed by a few days.