Danielle Smith, Producer
Friday, June 30, 2023
In Pennsylvania and across the country, Saturday is National Postal Worker Day, celebrated annually to show appreciation for postal workers.
The people who move the mail play a vital role in communication for the public, said Kim Miller, president of the Keystone Area Local chapter of the American Postal Workers Union. Snow, sleet, rain and a pandemic didn’t stop them from delivering mail and packages, from rural America to the inner cities, she said, but like many employers, the Postal Service is facing challenges.
“What would be beneficial – because the mail volumes are slow due to COVID and people finding different means to utilize service and pay their bills – is to start mailing again,” she said. “We need the revenue, we need the volume, because a lot of people’s jobs rely on the service.”
Miller said Saturday is also a day to say thanks to postal workers and acknowledge the effort it takes to process millions of packages and letters a month. In Pennsylvania, she said, the Postal Service is still experiencing a worker shortage and local post offices are looking to hire more people.
Miller referred to the types of jobs as “craft,” and said there are plenty of openings for people who pass the tests.
“They’re hiring in Reading. They’re hiring in different craft; the carrier craft, they’re always hiring – the retention is a little bit difficult,” she said. “Maintenance craft – reaching out to veterans to get veterans preferences. While they’re deployed, they have a right to take any test that was given while under deployment.”
Miller said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year plan to move letter sorting and distribution from the local offices into large regional hubs is going to affect people in Pennsylvania.
American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein said more than 600,000 people work for the Postal Service. He said the recognition this weekend is “wonderful,” but noted the current staffing shortages are having consequences, both for workers and customers in small rural communities.
“Smaller towns, the post offices tend to be staffed with less people, so you may only have one or two people already,” he said. “If you have this turnover, people are constantly left without enough clerks to take care of their postal business.”
He said his union would like to see the Postal Service expand its range to offer more services at post office locations, from banking and bill-paying to voter registration or issuing fishing and hunting licenses.
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