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Part-time rural carriers claim they’re treated like ‘junk mail’

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Photo: Toby Holder laments the Killeen post office’s treatment of part-time rural carriers.

For the last six years, Toby Holder has worked as a part-time, rural carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Killeen.

But the contract he signed with USPS turned out to be more than a part-time job, he said, as budget constraints and short staffing created an atmosphere of mistreatment, unsafe conditions and pay issues.

“They treat us like junk mail,” Holder said.

The choice of phrasing isn’t lost on Holder, as the USPS is becoming increasingly reliant on revenue from catalogs, advertisements and other unsolicited items as personal mail declines.

While Postal Service officials in Killeen declined comment, Holder’s claims about pay issues, long hours and unsafe working conditions were corroborated by several other carriers who asked the Herald not to be identified for fear of retaliation. They all told the same story: employees are lured in by the promise of part-time mail carrying, only to be forced to work full time with no benefits and little time off for family, friends and school.

Every source detailed large pay discrepancies, saying supervisors and union stewards paid little attention to complaints and said retaliation against employees who aired grievances is common.

“The post office is stuck with incompetent supervisors who have no business being in that capacity, yet they have the authority to affect our livelihoods the way they do,” Holder said.

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