The surge in online shopping is helping the U.S. Postal Service stay afloat financially, but the influx of packages is straining rural letter carriers across the country.
An increase in online orders is projected to help the postal service run until September 2021. Ronnie Stutts, the president of the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association, says while the increase in mail is good, they are facing a worker shortage because a large percentage rural carriers are still on leave.
“It’s really created a stress on the people that are working,” Stutts says. “They’re working a lot more hours, they’re splitting routes, staying out on the street, sometimes at 8, 9, 10 o’clock at night.”
Stutts says many part-time workers are working 60 to 80 hours a week and many are quitting. He expects the number of packages will double or triple as the holiday season inches closer. In an effort to get more help, The National Letter Carriers’ Association signed a memorandum of understanding with the USPS to hire temporary assistant rural letter carriers through the season.